Home Barista Training
Join me for a 1 hour, 1-on-1 training experience at my Melbourne coffee machine showroom. It's a truly fantastic experience - learning, making and tasting.
I have run hundreds of training sessions and have no problem taking anyone from "pod novice" to home barista. It's surprisingly simple and my success rate is 100%. Everyone who leaves my Melbourne showroom training leaves with the skills needed to drive a manual home coffee machine to make truly great coffee.
$80 ...or FREE with any machine purchase
Espresso isn't just for espresso drinkers. An espresso shot is the backbone of a number of espresso-based drinks including lattes, cappuccinos, flat whites, long blacks, piccolos and macchiatos.
To make great espresso you need to understand coffee extraction. The goal is to extract approx 93% of the beans total dissoluble solids. Here are my descriptions 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 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.
Home Barista 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.
K Bean's 10 Steps
- Attach the portafilter (PF) to the machine then switch the machine on.
- Remove the PF, wipe it dry, put it on the scales and set them to zero.
- Grind the coffee into the PF and weigh. For a 20g precision basket add 22g of coffee.
- Tap to settle the grind then tamp.
- Attach the PF to the machine and turn on the pump.
- Extract the coffee and start timing from the moment the pump turns on and aim for:
- A double ristretto (45ml) in 20-30 seconds.
- A double espresso (65ml) in 30-40 seconds.
- Remove the PF, knock out the puck, rinse the PF then put it back onto the machine.
- For a latte, this is where you prepare your art.
- Texture your milk to make it smooth and silky.
- Angle your cup at 45 degrees and pour from up high until 3/4 full.
- Drop the jug down, give a gentle squiggle, lift up and cut through.
- Now tune your grinder so it's ready for your next shot.
- If extraction was too slow - adjust to a higher number (courser)
- If extraction was too fast - adjust to a lower number (finer)
- To finish off: flush, wipe and flush again.
Coffee Machine Maintenance
Semi-professional coffee machines are very easy to maintain. Here is my recommended schedule:
- Fortnightly - Back-flush with cleaner
- Quarterly - Clean the shower screen, basket and PF
- Annually (for Melbourne water) - A quick, simple descale.
- Squeaks or leaks - Time for a service
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