There is a lot that goes into successfully mastering the art of being a barista. In order to avoid bitter, overpowering espresso, a barista must acquire a set of skills to ensure that each delightful cup of coffee tastes smooth and flavorful.
First, The Grind: When grinding the espresso roast, it is essential to use a burr grinder, and you must grind the coffee fresh for each order. There are two types of burr grinders; conical and flat. Conical burrs are favored because the amount of surface area is increased which then increases the amount of flavor pulled out of the coffee. Flat burrs are typically used for small cafes or home use and are made with flat steel plates.
Second, Preparation: There are oils in each espresso roast, and when ground, the oils are released. This means that coffee is the freshest right after it has been ground. The grinder should be set to activate for about 20 seconds at a time, so only one shot is produced. After grinding, fill the entire portafilter with ground espresso.
Step Three-Tamping: The next step as a barista is, you must tamp the espresso before pulling the shot. First, make sure the coffee is even in the portafilter by leveling off the espresso. Then place the level on the counter and apply pressure to the coffee. Once tampered, you must inspect the work, to make sure no excess water can seep through.
It is important for employees to be trained properly to ensure the quality of each espresso cup. Every cup of espresso needs to be made to perfection, which cannot be done if the barista isn’t well trained.
Common terms that every aspiring barista should know:
- Americano- Espresso diluted with hot water
- Cappuccino- Coffee drinks consisting of 1/3 espresso, 1/3 milk and 1/3 soft microfoam
- Latte- A little espresso and a lot of milk, with a top of foam
- Dark Roast- Dark, almost black with some oil present at the surface
- Light roast- More flavor, no oil
- Coffee cherry- Coffee beans are seeds that make up the pit of a coffee cherry