I hear you brother although I tend to only try coffee shops when I am travelling. My wife hates being with me when I order she thinks it is mean. ;D
A new coffee shop has just opened in the last month at Boondall on sandgate rd.
I just went in there and asked for a doppio ristretto, i got a blank look, so i asked for a double short black.
As this was going on i observed a normal 250ml flat white cup sitting next to the machine that was used, the guy was filling the basket which he filled with one dose of - i can only presume stale ground coffee , he then put the cold used flat white cup under the double spout and pressed the button and the pour colour resembled something that would come out of the top of a shaken cola can and as fast, as it was pouring he grabbed what looked like a very large paper cup and put it next to the machine, i can only assume that my coffee was going to be poured into the paper cup after being in the cold flat white cup.
I spied some shot glasses on top of the machine and asked if i could have my coffee in that ( i was still game to try it ) , the reply was that its a shot glass you can`t have coffee in that. I just said - don`t bother mate and walked out . I never learn *::), i just thought i would try them out . what a waste of time. Just had to vent , thanks. My wife just said why did i bother to go there to get dissapointed as i usually am with coffee shops.
I hear you brother although I tend to only try coffee shops when I am travelling. My wife hates being with me when I order she thinks it is mean. ;D
Originally Posted by 2E0D18180D620 link=1255131900/0#0 date=1255131900
Problem is they often promote themselves as a BARISTA and proudly have a certificate on teh wall..
Many of my friends and or others that drop by and have a coffee often comment that I should set a shop up.. I usually reply with " I may be a Coffee Snob, but I dont have teh skills to do the public or the name BARISTA justest"..
The other issue here is that they often get their beans from a reputable Roaster - But can the Roaster audit and withhold / restrict beans (and equipment) until they have been retrained and demonstrated that they have stepped up to the required mark...
In an ideal world YES... However REALITY BITES....
I feel for ya, because I have also had teh same and on more than one occasion have attempted to comment, but have been abused.. Then again that also clearly demonstrates they knowledge and lack of understanding..
Maybe a HALL of SHAME 8-)
As bad as a lot of coffee shops are, I can tell you that the majority of them turn out far superior coffee to anything i had in the UK. *>:(
The poms think they have a great coffee culture, but there again, they think they have great cricket & soccer teams!
In one place, i asked for FRESHLY ground beans, only to be told that they WERE fresh - they were ground this morning.
In a Costa shop, the woman left the milk jug on the benchtop steaming/screaming away whilst she did something else...
They use so little grounds in a shot that you have to ask for an extra shot each time, at 50p (a dollar) a shot *:o
If you complain, they grudgingly make another, equally hopeless one. Complaining is, of course, officially frowned upon in the UK.
I learned my lesson & stuck to tea, but me wife persisted & was constantly disappointed.
For the record, we did not go to London, where I have heard there are a few decent coffee shops.
Im hearing you on that front. After I try somewhere new and disappointing, my better and very understanding half says, "I dont know why you put yourself through that, you should have know it was going to be crap." ::)Originally Posted by 7E707D726573721C0 link=1255131901/1#1 date=1255134943
Frowned upon, I thought it was their national sport ;D.Originally Posted by 48737D781C0 link=1255131901/3#3 date=1255141562
Ha! This all makes me feel better because I am another hopeless optomist who persists in ordering coffee at airports and random coffee shops in the hope that they will be drinkable. My wife always visibly grits her teeth with the "Why do you DO this to yourself" look.
Last week we were in what used to be Chinatown in The Valley in Brisbane and I dragged her into a very well known cafe for a coffee. Barista seemed to know what she was doing - but the coffee was pretty ordinary. Not busy either.
Fortunately we went to Venezianos the next day which made up for all the bad coffee I had on the trip.
There needs to be a licensing system for Baristas so that the good ones get the respect they deserve and the ones who just call themselves a Barista are identifyable.
Was thinking about this today and I came up with the idea of coffee snobs "licensing" cafes that are rated by members. Something along the lines of "Passed by coffee snobs for coffee snobs". Absolute nightmare for administration I know but it popped into my head and I thought it sounded like a good idea in theory.Originally Posted by 073A363E2C550 link=1255131901/5#5 date=1255252601
We have - its called the "Good Coffee Where?" threads... If its not on there, then dont bother but it needs to be added to as people see fit (and have enough post counts).
Good idea - maybe a little CS sticker for the window? handed out by cs-ers to indicate for other cs-ers that this is a friendly house (much like the hobo code!) rather than a national scheme that cafes would have to be aware of and apply for. Would have to be dated though - over time changes in staff and practises can mean an originally highly rated cafe might be a bit more hit and miss.
That threads very handy if youre looking at it as a precursor to going out for a coffee, but if you are about town and happen upon a place and would like to know without internet access whether or not to bother, youre kind of on your own.Originally Posted by 745345574F3C0 link=1255131901/7#7 date=1255313908
While not as big a connosieur as others around here... I know enough to feel disappointed when stuff like this happens I had a laugh...
I also had an experience like that... I went to a coffee shop at my university and asked for a latte... the response was... "so is that with froth on it love?" i didnt know what to do! I just replied with "i just want a latte please"
needless to say it was disappointing...
A reliable rating system would be heaven. Unfortunately as previously stated, staff and ownership changes can have huge impact. We used to frequent one of the franchises which had passable coffee, great ambiance, and was a healthy 20 minute walk each way (the dog loved it). The owner bailed out of the franchise and sourced her own coffee. Sadly the coffee is now abysmal. We let her know we were not enjoying the new brew (kindly!) We persevered hoping it was just teething problems but no improvement. My local roaster even called on her to see if she was interested in trying another bean, but was told by the owner "I like our coffee". I guess thats the important thing when you sell coffee?
We have 6 relatively new coffee shops within walking range and only 1 serves consistently good coffee -they roast in house so that must help.
Nobody would deny that it would be very difficult to identify good cafes, given the fact that it is the Barista, not the cafe that is good. I would imagine that there is a lot of turnover in Baristas in common with the rest of the Hospitality Industry. That is why I think you could only draw attention to the good Baristas. I would be thinking any qualiication would need to be at the Certificate level from a recognised training institution that has itself achieved the required teaching standard and updates its license annually. Given that most Baristas would not necessarily have anywhere to display their Certificate, I could imagine them being given a distinctive cloth badge to attach to their clothing. Sure TAFEs offer Barista courses already but these vary wildly in quality and really need to conform to a Nationally established benchmark. I guess its all a lot of work but I am thinking it would be good for a skilled Barista to be able to proudly wear a badge of attainment for all to see. (& good for the rest of us as well)
I got a call today from a friend of a couple of women who have purchased a failing cafe. Maybe I could assist with some consulting?
The facts:[*]One is an economist[*]Neither has ever used an espresso machine[*]Neither has ever run a small business[*]Neither has ever worked with food[*]Neither has ever employed or managed a team of staff
They figure that they can just use the existing machine and decidedly average coffee and make a few small changes in the first 6 months..Wanna form an orderly queue at the door CSers?
Keep an eye out for a very cheap cafe for sale in about 8-12 months Id reckon ::)
2m, I see some Coffee Nightmares episodes appearing in the near future! I sure as hell wish I could just walk into the back of house of some shops and say what I really wanted about the place.
Maybe a tiered certification program (like SCAEs) is required...Originally Posted by 4578747C6E170 link=1255131901/12#12 date=1255424263
However, that doesnt change the fact that a good barista still wont be able to serve the best quality coffee with inferior beans.
And just because somebody qualified at some stage doesnt mean they care enough to do it right.Originally Posted by 3237243F23253E560 link=1255131901/15#15 date=1255427171
And as I say about doctors*--"remember that half the doctors* out there graduated at the bottom of their class".
* choose any profession.
Well to put it more accurately, half the doctors out there graduated as being below average. While understanding what you meant, it paints a rather cynical POV of <any profession> as:Originally Posted by 44716664546C716E626F67030 link=1255131901/16#16 date=1255440451
(a) half of them will also be above average, and
(b) even if the standard of the candidates in one Uni intake was extremely high , there will always be those who turn out below average. Its the nature of statistics.
Anyway, back on-topic, I dont see the point in a rating system - its too arbitrary and ephemeral (as the rating process is not ongoing due to logistics).
I could go to any one of the cafes recommended in Good Coffee Where and get a lousy cup of coffee because the regular barista was not on or had a 1 in a 1000 bad pour or whatever.
A normally ordinary cafe could supply great beans and hire a champion barista on the day to gain a high rating.
One of the cafes I recommended I no longer patronise because of fallen standards. Others are often hot-and-miss. Only a couple mentioned are capable of producing good coffee 99% of the time.
This is so right, I believe that the true professionals (of any and all professions) are those who enter the field out of passion for the work involved. The opportunists who select their future on the basis there is great financial reward for them, do not have the needed passion. Consequently if I visit a cafe and don,t "feel the love" (for their work) I almost always find average or worse coffee and just dont bother going back there.
I love coffee.
I also work in a cafe and am frustrated 99% of the time. Why?
-I observe the principles of making coffee and noone else does.
-Our coffee is locally roasted yet average.
-My boss will give me a who do you think you are look if I suggest changing the grind.
-No tamper is used, I bring my pullman into work whenever I can.
-Staff that have no idea use the machine and I cringe when they do.
-Grounds that have been in the grinder overnight will be used unless I throw them away (whilst the boss isnt looking).
-Grind on demand, yeah right!
-Staff have no idea of how to identify when an extraction is complete.
-Staff pack coffee poorly and use built in tamper on grinder which is 3ml too small for baskets.
-Decaf is pre-ground.
Luckily, I have a great home setup and a desire to setup a roasting business at some stage. I also try to educate other staff but this fails because im not the boss.
I feel for any other CS member who loves coffee yet works in a poor coffee quality environment.
P.S The cafe/staff are great, but changes need to be made...
Originally Posted by 46343477706D6A63040 link=1255131901/19#19 date=1256009296
that hurts to read that... definitely unfortunate... fortunately where i work, i have finally proven myself (to them... not to myself) that i have at least some knowledge (96% barista comp scoring... not championship material but at least competant... not to mention i do try to observe the whole espresso process)
so no i have a little more control over it... that being said, our shop observes the espresso process properly, it just depends on who is on with the quality i guess..
Also... i have a poor coffee shop that i went to...
i arrive and should have followed my instincts and walked out... i ordered my coffee and watched the following process...
she picked up a small metal pouring jug... and place an already old shot (didnt make me a new shot) into my takeaway cup...
she then picked up, already steamed milk and reheated it... it was also a horrible milk heating sound, obviously didnt know what she was doing...
poured it out and sprinkled chocolate on it...
i walked out... tipped it out and drove to my work to get one from there...
I feel ya boosting. Remember, youre trying to change a culture.
Ive got a three-pronged attack going on.
Educated customers give feedback to the bosses that good coffee is good and bad coffee is not worth paying for.
then fellow staff are encouraged not thru love of coffee (cause theyre not all into it) but in pride of work (we have the a-team at work, and its a bit of a clique, but the sort of clique that newbies work hard to become a part of, cause were the cool kids and we sling a mean cup of joe, ya know)
And finally through the management chain, who are pretty much about dollar lines, so I find ways to sell things.
For instance I wanted a real tamper. Not the attached one. I started off saying it would improve the coffee and reduce wastage. Then I pointed out that you could move faster by having the tamper free so as one person doses they move out of the way and tamp up their end of the machine and make room for person #2 to get dosing and underway. Fellow staff supported me on it, cause they want to move free and fast in their work and congestion in coffee-corner is a problem.
Then we got complaints from customers that theyd had weak coffees. Now I know it was probably from when a certain woman was on that never goes 2 shots into her mugs, because she can be quicker if theres only 1 shot into two mugs, but I turned this back to the tamper issue by pointing out that if we were tamping firmer with a properly fitting tamper we would produce richer shots.
And whos encouraging customers to voice their concerns? Moi. And whos rallying the troops in the workplace? Me again. And who grabs the department heads ear, or the guy on the board, or the CEO, and just has a little impromptu chat? You get the idea. ;) So from all three directions the culture starts to change so that good coffee is good business, way cool, and a sought after item delivered consistently.
Not there yet but Ive been working on it since I started nearly 4 years ago and am finally seeing some progress. Now to get out of the bloody contract on the beans!
Originally Posted by 636D606F786E6F010 link=1255131901/1#1 date=1255134943Same here, until I had a revelation... If your wife is with you - and like mine she has a lower threshold for bad coffee - order hers first and dont decide on yours until you take a sip. *;)Originally Posted by 536E626A78010 link=1255131901/5#5 date=1255252601
Unfortunately no ability to input to those threads from those of us not up to the required number of posts yet.Originally Posted by 1A3D2B3921520 link=1255131901/7#7 date=1255313908
I visited Brisbane for work last week and used the info in “good coffee where” to find a couple of places to try near where I was staying, but can’t provide any feedback.
Well you are well on your way, just jot down your notes and in no time you will be snobby enough to input ;D
I wonder what percentage of losses will be given away to friends in the way of free food and drink? Sounds like lifestyle change with NFI. Im curious what they identified were the reasons the previous owners did not make money?Originally Posted by 015E46505B505C555556565E525D330 link=1255131901/13#13 date=1255425129
I feel all that. I worked in a cafe exactly the same. The coffee was Illy and that was enough. At least we pulled shots by sight.Originally Posted by 1E6C6C2F2835323B5C0 link=1255131901/19#19 date=1256009296
-Decaf = pods in a regular single filter basket :P
-Hopper and doser were often filled at the end of day ready for the next morning.
-Never changed the grind, however is was roughly in the zone except for when the coffee was completely stale.
-Plastic tamper about 3-4mm to small
-double baskets on the small side imo
-single baskets were allways underdosed resulting in cracked soggy channled pucks.
Exactly what I saw happening at the place I worked at for a few weeks.Originally Posted by 3921242431200B39353A6263540 link=1255131901/26#26 date=1256096191
He had an excellent location but didnt take advantage of it.
I went by some time later and it was closed and empty; still is.
After being poisened on 4 *occasions, 2 by places promenting their coffee expertise... I have just stoped at Sexie Coffie and had one of the best milk coffie I have had in a while. *K (name escapese) was observed cleaning the group and group handle.
A good start.
Well I will post a pic of the milk ( later) but have to say: a great drink and some positive work practices were observed. Tis a shame that others do not tale the time to practice what they often preach / advertise.
Thanks K ... I enjoyed that coffee.
I also passed on my thanks to the management of sexie coffie and got a prompt reply and that they had advised that staff that were on.. Great to hear... One day some of those staff will work elseware or start their own places... Maybe one of them might like to go and visit redzone in NZ ;)
PS... Can not get the pics of the crappy iPhone.. Maybe by Sunday... Mission critical tool that is not fit for tossing at even a window.[/edit]
Ive got another point of view on this.
I have trouble seeing the possibility of consistency between baristas, working the same machine, over the course of a day, without something extra.
Too often the training Ive seen seems to frown upon using any technology to promote consistency; from the dosing, through the tamping, to the temperature of the milk.
My wife and I have (very) recently opened a roastery in Brisbane. Weve been talking about consistency and what we cant stand for more than a year, and we decided to put our money where our mouth is.
Were using an Espro http://www.espro.ca/tamper.php tamper, to guarantee the same tamp every single time. We set and check the drop on the grinders ourselves, to ensure a consistent 8g every time (we upped it a bit). We check the grind first thing in the morning, and consistently throughout the day. We use thermometers for every coffee we make, rather than trying to judge temp by hand.
The theory is, no matter who is behind the counter, you should always get a consistent extraction, the right temp, and coffee that is freshly roasted.
The feedback were getting is excellent; people are crying out for it.
Plus, a money back guarantee on every cup we sell.
Were roasting on site, we have a Brazilian RFA blend as the house blend, a single origin of the month, and customers who keep coming back.
Training is important, but I will argue to my last breath you cannot get a consistent retail output of 30lbs of pressure on the tamp, and the right temp on the milk without technological intervention.
Well be hiring staff in the new year. I do agree that I dont want any of the self-styled baristas out there. Instead I want someone with a great personality, who loves coffee, and is willing to put in the effort to follow the system to ensure each and every coffee is as good as it can be.
btw - my wife enrolled in one of the popular barista courses in Brisbane, just to see how theyre teaching potential staff. It was rubbish. e.g. Heat the milk until its ouch (result, 15 degrees difference between two students). Just guess what 30mL looks like.
Being an auditor Im one for consistency and standards too.
An Espro will only give you a consistent tamp if used correctly.
A milk thermometer lags and if not calibrated regularly will not give a true reading.
Dont get too caught up about 30lbs and 30ml.
Id rather get 25mls than an extra 5mls of blonding.
I Iike it! Where can I get me some of those :)Originally Posted by 0E060F0A000A0C1610630 link=1255131901/8#8 date=1255314059
If you dont mind the suggestion, try a temperature test with your thermometers when they first come out of the packet and then again every few weeks.Originally Posted by 42475F1D151B142C0 link=1255131901/30#30 date=1261908814
Where I work, we tested our thermometers one day on the advice of another colleague in the coffee industry and found HUGE variations in the readings.
Consequently we dont use them any more and go on the old - hand around the jug routine. But we have people who work only behind the machine so their hands "feel" for the temp is pretty spot on.
I guess if you were rotating those working behind the machine alot then it would be harder for them to stay in touch with feeling for the right milk temp.