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Thread: Playing at Barista

  1. #1
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    Playing at Barista

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    After ripping through 14 litres of milk yesterday in exquisitely careful latte art/soy sauce practise, today I played at being Barista to my local church group for the first time, with my Macap M4 and single group manual VBM Super.

    Under pressure a number of things came to the fore.

    Mess. Workflow. Workspace. Too large foam cups at the church meaning double-shots every cup, and twice as much milk to microfoam and therefore half the speed getting them out to the group. Gave up on latte art in the first pour! Stuck to cappas. The ginormous cups didnt fit under the spout. Forgot my knock-box *>:( ended up with a wooden bar across a plugged sink. Messsssy.

    The good news: everyone loved the "great" coffee and I was invited to participate in a Hunter Region focused food fair. 8-)

    Hah! Im not that good yet! You gotta give what the customers want, and Im afraid at present, its my way or no way, based on what kind of microfoam Im producing under pressure. ::)

    Good fun though.

  2. #2
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    Re: Playing at Barista

    Interesting to hear your comments. Ive been asked to coordinate coffees for a community event at our church at Christmas time. It is serving coffees after the main event (carols etc) to up to 300 people.

    I think that Ill be out of my depth but will give it a go. Was currently planning on using my 2 group Nuova Simonelli for the majorities of the coffees. Backed up with my brothers BZ-35. Dont have a good grinder for the night and was thinking about where I could borrow a commerical/high end grinder for a night in Brisbane. Thinking either asking the question on this forum or chasing a few coffee shops or roasters to see what I can borrow for the night

    Good to hear about a few of the issues that you had and Ill need to take them into account. Already starting a check list in my head

    1. plumbing
    2. big table
    3. ELECTRICITY
    4. Knock box
    ... Good thing I have a few month to prepare

  3. #3
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Playing at Barista

    michel, you will need someone to help you on the machine.

    The problem isnt serving 300 people - the problem is that they will all want their coffee at the same time.

    Dont forget to add coffee, a big grinder like a K10, milk - whole, skim, soy, jugs (big ones), cups, lids, chocolate for sprinkles and for hotties, commercial sized knockbox (you will fill it), sugar, stirrers, cups, tamper, backwash (yes, you need to do this too), cleaning cloths, extension lead, powerboard, and a car that it will all fit into, etc.

    I find it better to work with less space - less to keep clean and keeps the queues straight! ;D

    All too easy eh? - as long as you have fun.

    Cheers!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: Playing at Barista

    After what Dennis has said

    I am lucky the only crowd I need to please is family and guests

    Good Luck MC
    Dont forget the kitchen sink

    KK

  5. #5
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    Re: Playing at Barista

    Thanks Dennis,

    Im planning on keeping a few variables simple - flat white or long black only options

    Small cups - single shots

    But yes will need at least a couple of helpers ... main concern is the grinder at this stage. Any offers??? For just one night??

  6. #6
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    Re: Playing at Barista

    Intellidepth! Good on you for taking the plunge. You never know if youre going to like doing something like that until you try it!

    I wouldnt bother with all the milk variables either, michel...

    I think youd do fine with just having Lite White and when you get those skim milk orders, just tell them youve only got that...it will keep them happy. Most of my skim milk customers, if I tell them Ive only got lite white at the time are happy with lite white. Also the normal milk customers cant tell the difference between full and lite either...

    In fact, Id like to bet that the average coffee drinker could not tell the difference between either skim, lite white or full cream milk anyway...especially if the milk has been steamed correctly.

    And Ive given out enough full cream milk drinks as skim (because of one reason or another...all legitimate! :D ) and Ive never had someone come back and say "Hey, my milk wasnt skim like I ordered!" ;)

    A tip with your coffee quantities...usually at work, Ill get close to 100 coffees out of a kilo of beans. Thats depending on whether I get one or two shots from each portafilter. I dont weigh the coffee I put in the so I dont know exactly how much coffee it takes for that. I use the larger double baskets in our machine. But you could probably figure that one out yourself too, if youre using your own machine.

    And, you could also probably be pretty sure that not ALL of the 300 people are going to want coffee either. Especially if it is a hot summers night!

    Good luck, michel...Im sure youll do fine. And any questions just keep asking!


  7. #7
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    Re: Playing at Barista

    Quote Originally Posted by michel_c link=1223190897/0#4 date=1223199193
    ... main concern is the grinder at this stage. *Any offers??? *For just one night?
    Gday Michel ...

    I have a spare Anfim Super Lusso commercial grade grinder I can lend to you for the evening - shes a bewdy under pressure, and can fit close to 2kgs in the hopper to minimise wasted time re-filling beans. Send me a pm, as Im Briz based. ;)

    Apart from that, I reckon Dennis has pretty well covered all the other peripherals youll need. However, wheres your water going to be pumped/sourced from? External containers, or are you plumbing the machines in somehow?

    Id also second what Dennis suggested with having an assistant ... have a notepad with columns, use abbreviated terms for orders, & note peoples names next to their order if the queue is starting to snake outside the door.

    Tony

  8. #8
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    Re: Playing at Barista

    Youre a legend Tony!!!

    Ill PM the details to you and Ill pick it up and get some instruction...

    Whooo!!! Now Im getting excited (and scared)

  9. #9
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Playing at Barista

    Re the milk, while not having all the variables is not a big deal, I find it is appreciated. If you do choose to offer these youd probably be lucky to go through a litre of soy and 3-4 litres of skim.

    You might also like to consider UHT - no refrigeration required and any left overs can be put aside for next time.

    Hot chocs are a pain because they take longer to prep, though if this is a family Christmas type function, it might be nice to have it or an alternative available, particularly for children. I guess it all depends on your perspective and understandably, you do have to set some boundaries as to what you will and wont offer.

    Of course, Scoota is right about not everyone drinking coffee, but those who like it may come back for a 2nd. ;) Others may want tea - something you can add to the list and easy-peasy.

    By the end of the night youll probably feel like seeking out the people who didnt get anything from you and thanking them for it! It really is hard work, and very satisfying too - people are genuinely grateful and thats a huge buzz!


  10. #10
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    Re: Playing at Barista

    No worries mate ...

    Just need to know what bean youll be using for the night, & the roast date, to consider grind settings.

  11. #11
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    Re: Playing at Barista

    Hey Intellidepth, well done to you for giving it a real go! Just wondering what coffee you used. Did you roast your own?

    Cheers, Andrew.

  12. #12
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    Re: Playing at Barista

    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis link=1223190897/0#8 date=1223272438
    Re the milk, while not having all the variables is not a big deal, I find it is appreciated. If you do choose to offer these youd probably be lucky to go through a litre of soy and 3-4 litres of skim.

    You might also like to consider UHT - no refrigeration required and any left overs can be put aside for next time.
    And thats the consideration for these folk doing a one off. At least those who are doing this regularly can use the left over milk in the next day or so. Hence the suggestion to reduce the milk variables for michel.

    Of course, if you are left with heaps of milk, you can either freeze it or sell it off to anyone. Whatever you do, you should try to recoup any costs, IMHO.

    I reckon use fresh if possible. UHT is just not as good and most people can tell the difference between the fresh and long life.

  13. #13
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    Re: Playing at Barista

    ayjayro: I used Andys Espresso Wow. Always a winner with my guests. Im afraid Im still a novice when it comes to home roasting.

    UHT: ick. Sorry, but I cant stand the stuff. Why taint great coffee with it? At a church function you often know people who are willing to take a few fresh litres home at a reduced price.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Playing at Barista

    I only said to consider UHT. If Id known it was a dirty word I wouldnt have mentioned it. Personally, I think UHT Skim is miles better than fresh skim as it tastes like milk rather than white water.

    Anyway, each to their own.

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    Re: Playing at Barista

    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis link=1223190897/0#8 date=1223272438
    You might also like to consider UHT - no refrigeration required and any left overs can be put aside for next time.
    Dennis, thats the dodgiest thing youve ever said on these forums......

  16. #16
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Playing at Barista

    Quote Originally Posted by Viviane link=1223190897/0#14 date=1223762033
    Dennis, thats the dodgiest thing youve ever said on these forums......
    Really? *Why? *I dont understand.

    Maybe this needs to be split off, if so, sorry for that....

    I understand that many people (certainly far from all) consider UHT to have an inferior taste to fresh milk. Certainly, up until 2002, the main criticism was that UHT tasted stale. The milk industry have addressed this, not only with UHT but other commercial milks.

    Apart from Scoota, who said that people can taste the difference, no one in this thread has offered any reason for not using it, other than to make comments like ick and dodgy. As for the suggestion that it taints good coffee...well, we might also say that any milk taints good coffee.

    Are you tarring UHT with the same brush as decaf coffee? It too, was considered inferior in its early days, for good reason. Its come a long way. So much so that it can be hard to pick the difference between a good decaf and a coffee that hasnt been processed to remove caffeine.

    Still, the mud sticks - people still turn their nose up at the mention of decaf as some here have with UHT.

    So, whats the deal?

  17. #17
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: Playing at Barista

    Quote from Dennis

    > no refrigeration required and any left overs can be put aside for next time.

    Quote from Viviane

    > Dennis, thats the dodgiest thing youve ever said on these forums......


    I dont think Dennis means that the milk should not be refrigerated before use. You can buy UHT and store it for a long time.

    Are you sure the UHT can be stored out of fridge once opened Den? The reason that UHT (Ultra High Temperature) milk has such a long shelf life is because all the bugs killed off when super-heated. Once opened it would be recontaminated, I thought.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Playing at Barista

    giggled like a schoolgirl - when I said left overs, I meant unused, unopened containers. I made the horrible assumption that it would be better to have more on hand than may be required, rather than running out of milk before the end of service.

  19. #19
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: Playing at Barista

    *8-) Ah that clears it up (for all I hope)

    The perils of communicating indirectly (email/forums). You dont find out straight away that people have missed your point

    Excellent suggestion really in context of how much milk to buy for uncertain volumes. Theres not much wastage.


    Unless there are CoffeeSnobs in the crowd (who are more likely to drink espressos anyway) I dont think too many will notice the difference, if indeed there is any

  20. #20
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    Re: Playing at Barista

    My apologies, Dennis, I should have been a bit clearer, or at least put a couple of tongue in cheek emoticon thingies in there.

    I was referring to the taste of UHT milk - it definitely tastes different, and to a lot of people any sort of different is inferior when it comes to milk. The same goes for low fat and skim milk, they dont taste as good, especially in coffee. My palate is fairly ordinary, I certainly wouldnt win any coffee cupping competitions, but I can tell you when the milk isnt full cream. In fact I spent two months earlier this year drinking low fat milk on doctors orders before giving it up and deciding that life was too short for that.

    I know there will be people who will post that they cant tell the difference/prefer the taste of UHT/low fat/skim milk, and to them I say "Good for you". I dont like them in my coffee and Im far from alone. So if you are going to serve good coffee to large numbers of people, it would be a shame to ruin it for a lot of them with "dodgy" milk.

    Funny point that you raised though, Dennis, Ive been a decaf drinker at night for a few years now, and while I agree that the coffee tastes different, I dont have the same problems as with milk. Dont know why though - Ill have to think about that one.

  21. #21
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Playing at Barista

    I tried to drink low fat milk for a few months but eventually couldnt stand the taste any more.

    As Viv said, lifes too short, and if its shorter because I drink full cream then so be it.

    We keep long life lactose free milk here at home for my wife and son.
    Being able to stock up in the cupboard is good because we cant always get it on demand at the supermarket.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Playing at Barista

    Maybe I should clarify too. I suggested it as something that may be a convenient and practical alternative. Cost wise, its pretty cheap too.

    UHT whole milk is not my personal preference, though as mentioned earlier, I much prefer the UHT skim variety to fresh skim as it has more body. Fresh A2 is my preferred whole milk. It texturises well and I guess its natural sweetness appeals to me.

    We seem to have distilled the argument down to UHT versus Fresh, and maybe thats a good thing, because I know absolutely that there is a difference in taste from one UHT to another, and an even bigger difference between the Fresh varieties.

    Sounds like we need a blind, milk cupping shoot off to find out which milk reigns supreme! ;)

  23. #23
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Playing at Barista

    I dont mind UHT and like Den says, it textures very well so for some it mightnt be a bad way to go. After living and working in the bush for many years, UHT milk was the only kind of milk (apart from canned evaporated milk) that was available.... Kind of grows on you ;)

    Mal.

  24. #24
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    Re: Playing at Barista

    Perhaps Dennis and Mal, you can give the names of the UHT you think tastes OK so that we can all give it a go?

    Im glad to give it a whirl as our office only stocks UHT and I drink black because of it. Id be happy to convince them to change to a better tasting one ;). Especially that as from Monday Ill be the one doing the ordering. ;D

    I can always taste UHT - it tastes a lot like condensed cow to me. That smell that wafts over from cow hides mixed with the scent of grass and added to milk. Admittedly the skim version of the same brand (Pura) tastes less strong, but I still cant drink it.

    As to fresh cows milk variations: if someone was using different beans to me, Id be harder pressed to guess except in the viscosity and mouthfeel. If the coffee is well pulled, I dont mind what fresh milk is used so long as it is steamed for sweetness.

  25. #25
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Playing at Barista

    We didnt have a lot of control over which brand of milk the various retailers brought in but I always liked the Bonlac UHT. Dont know if its still available under that name as National Foods bought it out a few years ago and I dont know what branding it may now be known as.... Nice milk though 8-)

    Mal.

  26. #26
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Playing at Barista

    I think Woolies home brand is fine, while devondale and pauls are better. Havent tried the bonlac, but think Ive seen it on the shelves.

  27. #27
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: Playing at Barista

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    I used to drink the Devondale UHT when our local fresh milk (Adelaide) wouldnt stretch, in the summer.
    Now I just use the A2 year round, and prefer the texture, the taste, and my physical (non)response to the A2 milk proteins.
    Greg



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