Barista Training Guide and Tips for Expresso Espresso Baristas
Follow These Step-By-Step Instructions for Perfect Espresso and Coffee
When you are learning the skills of a master barista the first thing to do is make sure you are aware of the proper grind size for the particular coffee and also follow the technical specifications for brewing coffee and espresso.
Also crucial is that you use only freshly-roasted gourmet coffee beans that have been shipped to you just after roasting and then stored properly in a cool, dark and dry place. Grinding of the coffee beans must be done immediately before brewing.
Brewing the Perfect Espresso Shot – Expresso Barista Tips
For a single shot of espresso use about eight grams of ground coffee, and double that amount for a double shot. Two tablespoons of ground coffee is the equivalent of eight grams. For extra quality consider using bottled spring water or cold, filtered water for brewing.
Now make sure to pre-warm the demitasse and also the portafilter of the espresso machine. This may be done by running them under hot water. Failure to do this will lower the brewing temperature and negatively affect the quality of the espresso shot.
Tamping the Coffee Grounds Into the Portafilter
When you pack the ground coffee into the portafilter make sure and use a slight twisting motion as you place an even, downward force on the tamper, thus tightly compacting the coffee grounds into the portafilter.
Once you are done tamping make sure to wipe the rim clean and then tamp again to seal the puck of coffee grounds. Overall you should apply a medium amount of force when tamping, and then once you sample the resulting espresso shot you can either use a slightly stronger or lighter pressure to fine tune the espresso shot if it pours to fast or slow, and is too weak or strong.
Tips for Baristas – Monitoring the Stream of Espresso During Brewing
Once you hit the espresso machine button and begin the espresso brewing process then keep an eye on the stream of espresso as it pours out of the spout.
In the very beginning it should look similar to maple syrup, and if it is coming out to fast then perhaps it is not tamped sufficiently or the coffee grind size is too large. Conversely, if its is coming out to slow then perhaps the grind size is too fine or the tamping used to much force.
The total brewing time for the shot of espresso should be about twenty-two seconds, though this may vary depending upon various factors. The goal is to extract the finest flavors and aromas of the coffee without extracting too much bitterness from the coffee beans.
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Timing the Brewing for the Optimal Espresso Shot
If you time it just right (and this is the true art of the espresso barista), then you will have a very full-flavored espresso shot with a concentrated, robust taste.
If the brewing time of the espresso is too short then you will have a weak and watery shot, and if the brewing time is too long then you will have a muddy and horribly bitter shot.
The Crema of the Espresso Shot
Once about one-half of one ounce of espresso has poured from the spout into the demitasse (about one-third of the total shot), you should be able to notice a thin, foamy layer begin to form atop the shot.
This light brown layer atop the shot is known as the crema, and it contains the finest aromatic properties of the espresso shot. The concentration of flavors in the crema is contained within a very fine-celled foam of oils.
The Layers of the Espresso Shot
As the espresso shot pours into the demitasse you should see it begin to separate into layers. The layers of an espresso shot are the heart, the body and the crema of the shot and a barista should be able to recognize these layers.
Make sure that the heart of the espresso shot is not so thin and weak that it blends with the body of the shot. If this is what is occurring then try tamping the coffee a bit firmer or use a finer grind size.
Fine-Tuning the Espresso Brewing Process
When troubleshooting the espresso shot quality make sure that the crema is a thin, golden brown layer. If the crema does not form properly then it may be due to under-extraction which can be caused by insufficient tamping or grind size, or by inferior coffee including stale or poorly roasted coffee.
Another cause of a poor crema is a brewing temperature that is too low, and this can be caused a failure to preheat the demitasse and portafilter.
If you see a white ring beginning to form atop the espresso shot crema then stop the brewing process immediately because the white ring is a signal that the finest aromatic properties of the shot have been extracted and any further brewing will extract excess bitterness.
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Enjoying the Espresso Shot
Once you, the master barista, have finished brewing the espresso shot consume it all at once in one ceremonious gulp, and do this within the first sixty seconds when the flavors and aromas are at their peak.
A perfect espresso shot is concentrated and intense with flavors with a well-formed caramel-brown crema.
Creating Excellent Espresso-Based Coffee Drinks
To make great Espresso Coffee Drinks you need not only the perfect shop of espresso as described above, but also creamy and velvety aerated milk and foam that will blend with the espresso creating a harmony of wonderful flavors.
Begin the milk frothing process by filling up a steam pitcher about one-third full with very cold milk, preferably just taken from the refrigerator. Before beginning make sure to purge any water from the steam wand by placing a damp towel over the end of the wand and turning on the steam for a few moments.
Positioning the Steaming Wand in the Steam Pitcher for Optimal Frothed Milk
Now place the steam wand into the milk in the steaming pitcher and turn on the steam. Keep the tip of the wand just below the surface of the milk but make sure not too let it come out of the top during steaming or this will create inferior quality bubbles that are dry and tasteless.
The tip of the steam wand should be aimed just off-center so it causes the milk to swirl in a circle in the steaming pitcher. This circular motion creates a vortex that will generate the ideal conditions for injecting air into the milk and creating a creamy and velvety textured milk, a fine textured milk worthy of the master barista!
Finding the Sweet Spot for Optimal Air Injection
When you find the “sweet spot” you will known it from the hissing sound. Keep the tip of the steam wand perfectly positioned in the sweet spot and hold the steaming pitcher steady.
If you have the steaming wand positioned right then you will not have to move the steam pitcher up or down as all of the motion will come from the swirling vortex of milk.
The only movement you have to make is moving the steam pitcher very slowly downward as the volume of the milk expands so that the tip of the steam wand remains just beneath the surface. Depending upon the type of milk used, the volume of the milk may double or even triple. Any large bubbles that form should roll right back into the milk and disappear.
Steam and froth the milk until it reaches a temperature of one hundred and forty-five degrees. Do not let it get any hotter as it can scald the milk and create a burnt taste that will taint the Espresso Drink. If you need a lot of foam, say, for a Cappuccino, then keep the tip of the steam wand just near the surface for a bit longer to create an extra amount of foam.
Make sure to clean off the steaming wand thoroughly when you are done as any professional barista should do. You can also purge the steam wand of any milk by covering it with a damp towel and turning on the steam for a moment.
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Coffee Taster Tips for Judging Premium Gourmet Coffees
Coffee cuppers (professional coffee tasters) use specific methods to discern the characteristics and overall quality of particular coffees. By evaluating the flavors of the coffee – including the aroma, body acidity, sweetness, bitterness and aftertaste – an evaluation of the coffee can be provided.
The first step is to grind two tablespoons of coffee into a small porcelain cup using a Conical Burr Grinder. The grind size should be medium course which has the appearance of granule sizes that are similar to that of raw sugar. Now evaluate the fragrance of the ground coffee like a master expresso barista!
Now prepare some hot water at about two hundred and two degrees Fahrenheit. Use about six ounces of water. To achieve the right temperature boil water and then let it sit for about twenty-five seconds. Pour the water onto the ground coffee and let it steep for approximately four minutes as the grinds rise to the top and form a crust.
Breaking the Crust To Evaluate the Bouquet of the Coffee
Now use a spoon to break the crust and push it back so you can appreciate the aromatic bouquet of the coffee. Also check the surface of the coffee for a very fine layer of foam which should be present if the coffee is fresh.
The next step is to remove the grinds from the top of the cup or simply allow them to sink to the bottom of the cup. Fill up the spoon with the brewed coffee making sure not to get any coffee grinds. Now slurp the coffee so it disperses onto your palate so you can fully evaluate the flavor qualities including the mouthfeel (body) and the acidity of the coffee.
Evaluating the Aftertaste of a Gourmet Coffee – Expresso, Espresso!
Swallow a small amount of the coffee and then evaluate the finish, or aftertaste which comes from the vapors that remain in the mouth after you swallow the coffee. At this point you can finish your evaluation by noting all of the main characteristics of the particular coffee.
Brewing the Perfect Cup of Coffee – Espresso Barista Tips
If it is a great cup of brewed coffee you want rather than an espresso shot or Espresso-Based Specialty Coffee Drink, then follow the steps below and you will savor the finest flavors and aromas of the world’s best gourmet coffee beans in all of their glory!
First of all make sure you get premium coffee beans, preferably coming from a single estate. Get the coffee fresh-roasted and store it properly in a cool, dark and dry place, not the refrigerator or freezer.
Grinding and Brewing the Premium Gourmet Coffee
The ideal brewing method for gourmet coffee is the French Press. Clean all the part of the French Press as any residue can taint your gourmet coffee bean flavors and aromas. Use baking soda and water to clean older brewing equipment.
Steeping the Premium Coffee in the French Press – Barista Tips
About two tablespoons of coffee can be used for every six ounces of water. Steep the coffee grounds for about four minutes depending on the strength of coffee you desire, then plunge down the press very slowly to release the coffee’s finest aromatic qualities.
Make sure and pre-warm your coffee cup or else it will pull the heat from your gourmet coffee and harm the flavor. All that is left to do is savor your fresh-roasted, fresh-ground and fresh-brewed premium gourmet coffee! Enjoy!
Also Check Out the Barista Guide For Perfect Espresso Drinks
Also check out the Barista Guide to Perfect Lattes and Cappuccinos which provides comprehensive details and instructions for Espresso Drink Recipes. We even give you tips on how to write a Barista Resume.