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Thread: First day on the job...

  1. #1
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    First day on the job...

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I feel like ThunderGod and I are following extremely similar paths here! Went for my interview Tuesday and ordered a latte before I made myself known. Milk was a bit hot, no obvious attempt for any latte art, and milk contained lots of moderate sized bubbles - think Aero bar. The one I had this morning was much the same, and the mouthfeel had a milkshake feel.

    Did my first two hours today. First 30 minutes was a steep learning curve naturally but improved after that. Some of the things I saw during my induction:
    • No-one adjusted the grinder and nothing was mentioned about this
    • Dose was followed immediately (i.e. no settling knock or smoothing) with tamp via the grinder-attached undersized convex plastic tamper (a spring loaded version with the portafilter supported by a plate, so not the usual rigid monstrosity but only a minimal improvement). Some pre-brew pucks were obviously lopsided even after the tamp
    • Brewing was via volumetric touch-pad which was rarely interrupted
    • Despite the above, most streams of espresso from the double portafilter were similar in thickness to each other, but this varied between the thickness of the inner and outer of a ballpoint pen - no hope of any droplets!
    • Crema was well and truly there but often exhibited a palish colour, probably from channeling due to the uneven particle distribution
    • Milk texturing was done by generating heaps of froth at the start of the process and then plunging the wand into the jug to mix it in. Results were thus not surprisingly copious quantities of moderate sized bubbles, which explains the results I noticed in my previous two lattes
    • Texturing time was based on the sound of the milk rather than time or temperature (not necessarily a problem but Im used to a thermometer, and I found the sound method to be difficult when the noise got up)
    • Fresh milk often added to the remnants left over from the last cup


    I must say the particular gripes above were as shown to me by the guy doing the interviewing who appeared to be some kind of consultant for the managers; I did notice some rejected doses, cooling flushes and portafilter cleaning from the duty manager.

    Once I got on the machine myself I realised how difficult it was to get anything other than the results Id already seen by using their frothing technique, so I started introducing elements of my own technique, viz cooling flush, portafilter clean flush, settling knock before tamp, stopping the brew before blonding, surreptitiously sinking jug remnants that belonged in a museum and gently texturing the milk rather than trying to blow it out of the jug. As a result of the last point I was able to make two reasonable lattes with a respectable attempt at a rosetta, something the consultant noticed and commented on accordingly. Though the double or quad hole steam tip is something thatll take some getting used to.

    Got home, fired up Miss Silvia and enjoyed adding beautifully silky smooth microfoam to a slowly poured double espresso! ;)

    So my initial ::) was somewhat tempered by the thought that I may be able to improve some of the practices given time. Theyre basically getting the whole operation of this store right to then replicate on the others, so hopefully some suggestions get taken on board. How much I would have liked to adjust the grind a bit finer, for example. Anyway today was just a trial, so well see if they decide to keep me on or not. Even if I never go back its been a good experience!

    Greg

    P.S. I did think about taking one of my tampers along to use but figured Id toe their line for the first day!

  2. #2
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    Re: First day on the job...

    Wow!

    Do they even know who you are?

    They should be begging for your input.

  3. #3
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: First day on the job...

    I took your tamper along today.
    Much better than the wobbly grinder mounted thing.

    After seeing your rosetta theyll probably have you back.

  4. #4
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    Re: First day on the job...

    Quote Originally Posted by Presso link=1171613947/0#1 date=1171620725
    Wow!

    Do they even know who you are?

    They should be begging for your input.
    I took one along to the interview and he liked the look of it but didnt show any signs of recognition; and based on the way they used the setup they had there I wouldnt think tampers is something theyve researched much (YET! mwu-huh-huh-huh-huh!) In any case, any suggestion of claim to fame could only relate to tampers, not my very green professional barista skills. Anyway Id hope Ive picked up a few things from practice and from CS. No-one can hope to improve if they dont make the effort to find out one way or another what needs to be done and then have the capacity to experiment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1171613947/0#2 date=1171620927
    I took your tamper along today.
    Much better than the wobbly grinder mounted thing.

    After seeing your rosetta theyll probably have you back.
    Actually Id hardly call it a rosetta; Im generally throwing the leaves too early and have to then fill the cup by pouring into the bottom of the stalk, which pulls the stalk down and the leaves inwards, leaving it more like a stripey heart.

    Have to agree re the machine tamper. While its spring loaded, you cant twist it so polishing is out of the question, and its hardly the most solid bit of plastic either! Methinks I might bring along a little toy if they ask me back!



  5. #5
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    Re: First day on the job...

    Greg, are you set up to make tampers yet?

  6. #6
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    Re: First day on the job...

    Yes....making coffee at home and making coffee in a coffee shop are two very different kettle of fish. You have time constraints, pressure from yourself to make the best possible coffee under the given conditions.

    Learning advanced order processing techniques is important. You shouldnt have any trouble keeping up with the pace after that. Grouping similar coffee orders together etc. Then do your usual method of making coffee...whatever it may be....eg. Grind per shot, dose, distribute, rap PF, tamp and polish, cooling flush.....lock n load. Becomes second nature.

    You learn very quickly to adapt to cafe style coffee making. It takes a good few weeks to get in to the groove as a newbie barista. Trying to impose your idealistic views on how coffee should be made is hard especially if everyone is stuck in their ways. I have free reign at my cafe...so if things arent done to my liking, youll do it again. It seems to work.....I have my regulars and they know what theyre going to get every time.

    Good luck with the job.

  7. #7
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    Re: First day on the job...

    Quote Originally Posted by lucinda link=1171613947/0#4 date=1171772103
    Greg, are you set up to make tampers yet?
    Not with a lathe yet, but 58mm stuff is generally fine for the ones Ive got with me.

  8. #8
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    Re: First day on the job...

    I want to buy the first one off-the-lathe in WA. . .

  9. #9
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    Re: First day on the job...

    ;D No worries, should be able to help out within a few weeks, all being well.

  10. #10
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    Re: First day on the job...

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    ;D Ill be posting a basket shortly then!



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