Home – New Forums Get productive Are you serving cups of coffee or cups of soap suds?

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  • #978507
    PlantationCoffee
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    I pose this question to cafe owners both current and prospective.
    Many a time do i drop in at a random cafe and get served up with a super hot cup of soap suds. Which is why i pose this question to you all in the hospitality industry dealing with this beverage. I don’t mean to beat you down or anything but read on and i’ll explain how you might fix this problem.

    Milk is such an ingredient that it has limitations with what you can turn it into, normally residing happily at 4 degrees C, it is most often steamed to temperatures over and above the 50 degrees C mark and served traditionally as a latte or cappuccino. Heat it to more than 70 degrees C and it begins to breakdown and burn up. But keep it lukewarm for a few hours and it will go off.

    Most cafes use thermometers to measure and meet “health and safety” guidelines yet leave their steam wands in a most filthy state without having wiped the steam wands clean.

    FIRST STEP- Clean your steam wands with a clean damp cloth. Purge steam out for at least 20 seconds if you’ve never purged them before.

    Second step-
    notice what your coffees look like- do they resemble a spongy-miranguey blob?

    This industry has moved far away from this my fellow baristas-

    Firstly – i would like you to place cold water in your milk jug and try and steam that , except angle the steam wand to get a whirlpool happening.
    when u get that position hold it and remember it.

    Then take cold milk and fill your jug a bit above half way, use the same position you got when u whirlpooled water , except with milk this time that should be whirlpooling.
    Now lower your jug of milk gently until u hear it “whispering” that will enable
    you to steam milk gently, untill you reach about 65-70 degrees C.

    Now pour a latte and you should have smoothly steamed warm-hot lattes that taste much better than their mirangue-a-cino counterparts and look spectacular.

    #1107599
    JaneB
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    Welcome to the forum – I’ve bookmarked your website to read. There is a wealth of info for coffee obsessives like me.

    It’s hard to understand why cafe owners spend a fortune on their machines but then buy boring beans which sit around for days and don’t learn to understand the basics of coffee making.

    We have a new coffee roasting cafe here on the Central Coast NSW and such is the desperation for good coffee that queues are forming out the door even though the prices are at the top of the rung.

    #1107600
    Uncomplicating
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    For those of us who drink black coffee, espresso when I’m feeling puritanical and long black when I want one to last more than 5 seconds, the state of steam wands is that last of our concerns.

    We have to tolerate coffee made from old beans that was ground an hour ago and has been sitting in the hopper, combined with a “barista” who has little to no idea of how to adjust the grind and set the right dose.

    The result is typically a 10 second pour and a bitter, crema-less cup of dishwater that tastes somewhat like cardboard…and not very nice cardboard at that.

    At least the “soap suds” hide this taste somewhat.

    #1107601
    Robert Gerrish
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    I totally agree! I think the ‘no crema, no serva’ policy is the only one!

    Robert

    #1107602
    Past-Member
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    The last few months we have been enjoying our fabulous DeLonghi coffee machine at home that grinds automatically for each cup. And, in addition, we have a wonderful supplier (Springwood NSW) who imports fair-trade and organic coffees and hot chocolate, and roasts and grinds them for customers to their requests. They specialise in traceable, ethically sourced, single origin state and single farm coffees of exceptional quality. Fabulous coffees and no headaches because there’s no chemicals. They also have a blog and information page which is really interesting. (We no longer have any instant coffee.)
    Buy online, posted anywhere in Australia. Highly recommended.
    http://www.ministrygrounds.com.au

    #1107603
    Uncomplicating
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    KarenC, post: 119434 wrote:
    The last few months we have been enjoying our fabulous DeLonghi coffee machine at home that grinds automatically for each cup. And, in addition, we have a wonderful supplier (Springwood NSW) who imports fair-trade and organic coffees and hot chocolate, and roasts and grinds them for customers to their requests. They specialise in traceable, ethically sourced, single origin state and single farm coffees of exceptional quality. Fabulous coffees and no headaches because there’s no chemicals. They also have a blog and information page which is really interesting. (We no longer have any instant coffee.)
    Buy online, posted anywhere in Australia. Highly recommended.
    http://www.ministrygrounds.com.au

    I get my beans each month from the fabulous people at Morgans Coffee in Emu Plains. I have a reasonably decent grinder and I’ve just upgraded to an ECM Technika IV.

    Still, as I have a home office it’s worth every cent.

    For those with an interest in coffee, I thoroughly recommend going on a barista course at somewhere like JetBlackEspresso or Toby’s estate. Life changes completely once you realise what coffee should taste like.

    #1107604
    Geronimo
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    Oh dear,

    I must confess that having a home office with no good coffee close by, I drink Maccona instant. The one advantage however is that I really appreciate the specialness of good coffees when travelling. It’s how I treat myself for getting up at 4:30am to catch flights.

    #1107605
    Uncomplicating
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    Geronimo, post: 119441 wrote:
    Oh dear,

    I must confess that having a home office with no good coffee close by, I drink Maccona instant. The one advantage however is that I really appreciate the specialness of good coffees when travelling. It’s how I treat myself for getting up at 4:30am to catch flights.

    I wish I could find good coffee when travelling. There’s nothing at any airport I’ve ever been to, and with an anecdotal 90% of all cafes serving really rather poorly made coffee, I rather dislike going out to uncharted parts.

    At least I’m not being force fed International Roast. Now that is a fate worse than death. My wife used to do charity work at a homeless shelter where they supplied toast, tea, coffee and so on. Even the homeless guys kicked up a fuss when presented with International Roast.

    #1107606
    PlantationCoffee
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    Thankyou JaneB – yes please follow my blog, every now and then ill update it with something new and interesting.

    Uncomplicating-

    you are dead right!! i call them 10 second toilet flush shots.
    Old coffee + wrong grind usually = 10 second shots of dishwater.
    In fact some of these cafes wont even allow their staff to touch the grind settings or else YOUR OUT!! FIRED!!

    My message really is to all those in the hospitality business, i really would like them to understand that the way coffee was made in the 1980’s and 1990’s no longer applies, there has since been such a revolution of massive proportions.

    Yes business owners pay a lot of money for equipment but usually have left their skills behind. In fact they’ve become so tied up with their work that they have probably never looked outside the box.

    I personally am a specialty roaster out here in brisbane, but ive been a barista for quite a long time as well and so i understand their predicament.

    #1107607
    Uncomplicating
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    Top three worst coffees I’ve ever been served

    3. Sebel Resort and Spa, Hawkesbury Valley. 4.5 Star hotel at $400ish per night. Staff walking around with large flasks of an extremely hot brown beverage masquerading as coffee. When I asked if it was possible to get a proper coffee I was told is was an addition $4.50.

    The coffee arrived and I sent it back immediately. Woeful, just plain woeful.

    2. Country Comfort in Mudge. Large pour it yourself flask of something brown dissolved in water. The less said the better.

    1. My mate Pete’s…bless him. He insists on buying International Roast, and as previously noted, even the homeless choose to go without rather than drink it.

    Hey, who’d have thought. Beggars can be choosers.

    #1107608
    PlantationCoffee
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    There certainly is no shortage of places serving up dishwater, i think the problem is two fold
    a-cafe owners aren’t up-skilled enough and probably dont even know what the current industry standards are.
    b-most consumers haven’t yet tasted good quality coffee.

    The one thing that is a factor is that consumers move around from place to place and keep a tab of what they experienced, it is more so the fact that average consumers are learning about many aspects of an experience at a cafe and at an alarming rate are learning and developing their palates often superseding many cafe owners.

    I am of the opinion that cafe owners really need to take their skills to the next level up to survive in this cut-throat industry. Move in line with what consumers are already getting or ultimately be limited to a small market of regular consumers whom are the only people who will consume ill prepared coffee.

    #1107609
    adrian
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    I’ve been spoiled. Got a nice machine a few years ago, then moved in to a new house a year after that. And Coffee Alchemy is now a 5 minute walk up the road (SMH rated them the best coffee in Sydney). Only problem is they stopped their free cupping workshops a couple of years ago because they got too busy… Nice problem to have!

    #1107610
    SuzsSpace
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    I hope you’re sitting down when you read my tale of woe.

    I can’t actually tell the difference between a cup of instant coffee and the real thing. I tell friends not to waste the good stuff on me.

    I can just hear the screaming from here. Apologies.

    #1107611
    PlantationCoffee
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    SuzsSpace, post: 119505 wrote:
    I hope you’re sitting down when you read my tale of woe.

    I can’t actually tell the difference between a cup of instant coffee and the real thing. I tell friends not to waste the good stuff on me.

    I can just hear the screaming from here. Apologies.

    hahaha- no apologies needed.
    That was me 7 odd years ago and once upon a time i used to say the same, it has certainly become something very cultural in the very fabric of daily life and yes there is certainly an element of snobbery here and there.
    I actually came to a point where i got very very interested, it was probably chemical intrigue. It has since taken years to refine my palate as does with many other people and it transforms you into someone who can literally dissect flavour characteristics. Most people will have enough of a discretionary palate as to go so far as only being able to taste sweetness,sourness,saltiness and body as we already do with the food we consume. A lot of those who roast can delineate as far as individual flavour characteristics that go all the way from vegetable like flavour like pumpkin and cucumber all the way to cloves and cinnamon.- as a rule of thumb we only ever do so with a perfectly extracted short black. The addition of milk to it changes a lot of the flavours drastically by the way.

    Then also will i say that if you are happy with instant coffee and don’t really want to go any further , you really don’t have to. In fact ignorance can definitely be bliss, you’l never be disappointed at any cafe ….but what if one day you do happen to step into a specialty cafe and you actually really really liked what latte you had there compared to say your usual spot…. thats where the fork in the road begins.

    #1107612
    PlantationCoffee
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    adrian_gray, post: 119500 wrote:
    I’ve been spoiled. Got a nice machine a few years ago, then moved in to a new house a year after that. And Coffee Alchemy is now a 5 minute walk up the road (SMH rated them the best coffee in Sydney). Only problem is they stopped their free cupping workshops a couple of years ago because they got too busy… Nice problem to have!

    Cupping workshops are something i plan to have central to the public’s gentle education when we launch our roastery sometime in the near future, it’s a tool that will definitely reach out and educate consumers. It is unfortunate to have become so busy as not being able to run them anymore, it does take quite a bit of time and effort to be organising such events.

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