Home barista training
I enjoy training sessions so join me for a 1 hour, 1-on-1 training experience at my Melbourne Showroom. It's a truly fantastic experience - learning, making and tasting.
I have run hundreds of home barista training sessions and have no problem taking anyone from "pod novice" to home barista. My success rate is 100% - I have never had anyone leave without the ability to make a decent espresso or latte.
Because I enjoy it I only charge only $75 ...or get the training free with any machine purchase.
Understanding coffee extraction
To make truly great coffee through any brewing process, from espresso to plunger, you need to understand coffee extraction. The goal is to extract approx 93% of the beans total dissoluble solids. Here are some tasting notes for 3 types of extractions:
- Over-extraction - burnt, bitter, astringent.
- Under-extraction - sour, flat, thin.
- Perfect extraction - pleasant acidity, sweet, thick, long finish and complex.
During espresso training I demonstrate extraction using my "Rule of Fourths" as briefly detailed below:
- First I pull a shot and break it into 4 equal parts of approx 15 ml each.
- Next I get people to taste each one, working from part 4 back through to part 1.
- Then I mix parts 1 and 2 together to demonstrate a ristretto.
- Next I mix parts 1, 2 and 3 together to demonstrate an espresso.
- Of course, tasting part 4 is enough to teach you why you need to avoid the bitter, watery ending.
This is a great way to show people the way extract changes with time, and also, to teach people how and why extraction by colour works. This is always a huge "ah-ha" moment during training and for many, it's the biggest learning of the day.
20 step espresso workflow
There are many ways to make espresso and every barista has a different way of doing things. My own workflow has been refined over many years, and I have trained 100+ home baristas.
The goal of any barista's workflow is to reduce the number of variables. Weighing is a great way to reduce the "amount of coffee" variable. They don't do this at most cafes due to the time factor, but at home we can spend a little longer and aim for perfection - so always weigh your grind. Consistent dosing and tamping are other variables that need to be controlled. It's not difficult at all, but my training will help you to get the technique right so -you can dose and tamp consistently, shot after shot.
I think of the grinder hopper collar as the steering wheel. By following my steps you will minimise variables so that you can "drive" your espresso machine by changing the grinder setting. Making your espresso Without a consistent workflow is like driving your car with with a jelly steering wheel.
- Attach the portafilter (PF) to the machine.
- Turn the machine and wait for the group and PF reach thermal equilibrium.
- Remove the PF and wipe it dry.
- Put the PF onto the scales are set to 0.
- Grind the coffee into the PF. For a 20g Pesado basket I recommend dosing 21g.
- Check the weight of the coffee.
- Tap the PF gently to settle the grind.
- Tamp hard and finish with a gentle polishing twist.
- Attach the PF to the machine and turn on the pump.
- Extract the coffee and start timing from the moment the pump turns on. I like slow, gloopy extractions so with a 21g dose I aim for a double ristretto (30ml) in 30s, or a double espresso (40ml) in 35s.
- Remove the PF.
- Knock out the puck.
- Rinse and wipe the PF.
- Put it back onto the machine.
- Now tune your grinder so it's ready for the next shot.
- If extraction was too slow - adjust to a higher number.
- If extraction was too fast - adjust to a lower number.
- If you're preparing a milky beverage, texture your milk and pour.
- For another next coffee, go back to Step 3.
- To finish off, run the pump to rinse the group.
- Wipe the shower screen.
- Run the pump again for a final rinse - and then you're all done :)
For grinder and machine FAQs, tips and support click here
Coffee machine maintenance guide
Opinions on maintenance schedules vary.
The schedule below is the schedule I use and recommend.
- Daily - Flush, wipe, and flush again
- Fortnightly - Back-flush with cleaner
- Quarterly - Clean the shower screen, basket and PF
- Annually (with Melbourne water) - Run de-scaler through the tank.
- Squeaks or leaks - Time for a service
For troubleshooting tips and support click here
Support & FAQs
When you buy from K Bean you can contact me (Paul) any time for first class support by phone or by email.
- 0416 528 339
However, some issues are common so I have put together some FAQs to help you troubleshoot some of the more common issues encountered when learning the ins-and-outs of coffee equipment.
How do I set up my grinder for the first time?
- Start by finding your grinder's zero point. The zero point is where the top and bottom burrs touch and lock together. Some people expect the zero on the collar to align with the zero point but this isn't usually the case.
- To find your grinder's zero point you need to start with an empty and clean grinder. Rotate the collar until the top and bottom burrs touch. This is your grinder's zero point.
- After finding the zero point, back off by rotating the collar about 1/5 of a turn. Try a grind at this setting, then tune in the grinder in. For a guide to tuning in a grinder see my 20 Step Espresso Workflow
Why has my grinder seized or why is my grinder spitting chunks?
- I see this regularly and here's the reason. If you move the grinder from coarse back to fine without pulsing at intervals you will get large bean fragments caught between the burrs.
- If this happens, back off to coarse, then pulse the grinder, at small (1cm) intervals, as you work your way back to fine.
- If you still can’t produce a fine grind and cannot turn the collar any further first check for restrictors in the adjustment collar and remove them. If the problem is still there you need to clean out the grinder.
- To clean out the grinder you need to unplug the grinder, remove the hopper, unscrew the collar, tip the grinder to empty out the beans, then reassemble.
- For a fool proof method from here follow the "How do I set up my grinder for the first time?" procedure above.
Why Is my coffee coming out too slowly?
- You may have too much coffee in your Portafilter so check that the dose is correct - I recommend 20g for a 20g basket, 22g for a 22g basket, etc.
- The grind may be too fine. Turn your grinder collar clockwise (to a bigger number) to increase the grind size.
Why is my coffee coming out too quickly?
- Check that beans are fresh.
- The grind may be too coarse. Turn your grinder collar anti-clockwise (to a small number) to decrease the grind size.
- Check your distribution of the grounds in the basket. Fill the basket as evenly as you can.
- Make sure your tamp is firm and even and only tamp once as over-tamping can break the puck and cause channelling.
Why is steam is coming out of my group head?
- If you're using a SB machine, check that you're not trying to brew with the steam setting on.
- If using a HX machine, purge some water to pull new water into the HX tube.
- If using a Lever machine, group purging may be required.
- If using a DB machine, check that the brew temperature setting on the PID is set between 93 and 95 degrees.
Why is water coming out of my steam wand?
- All steam arms will have some condensed water. before steaming, purge the steam wand for 2-3 seconds until you see dry steam, or the steam arm stops spluttering.
- If you are using a single boiler, check that you have switched from brew mode to steam mode, and have waited for the boiler to reach steaming pressure.
Why won't the machine turn on?
- Check that the water tank has sufficient water in it to refill the boiler. There is an automatic cut off of the boiler element to ensure that the boiler cannot boil dry.
- If water is in the tank, turn the machine off, pull the tank out and put it back in to re-rest the internal low water switch, then turn the machine on again. If it doesn't work the first time, try again. Sometimes the water tank will need a little jiggle.
Why isn't my machine's pump pressure reading 9 bar?
Pump pressure settings for home machines range from 9-12 bar. There's no right or wrong, just adjust your grind to get the best results for your machine.
Do I need a water filter?
- The short answer is "how long is a piece of string?" This is because water quality varies all over the country.
- If you have good quality tap water you can use it and just descale your machine annually. This is what I do in Melbourne.
- If you have poor quality tap water you will need a water filter to keep your machine healthy. I recommend the Brita C150 and you can read why by clicking here
- It's important to note that machine warranties do not cover damage caused by scale.
Thanks for visiting.
To find out more about K Bean please visit my home page