In Cafe Culture Pt 1, EATSSENTIALS

Like a chef in the kitchen, your professional barista needs the right tools for preparation all the way to maintenance aside the coffee machine to enable him/her to make a consistent cuppa. All the skills and knowledge of a barista can easily be overlooked by one small factor in the machine that can hamper the eventual result as coffee is extremely delicate.


barista1They come in a range of sizes, weights and shapes to fit the various sizes of portafilters; a barista needs to be familiar with which tamper to use when compressing ground coffee for espresso. A clicker tamp can be used together for better accuracy as it ‘clicks’ when the coffee is correctly compressed.



barista2A reliable temperature reader helps ensure coffee is served correctly and to get the milk at the right heat level for texturising and frothing.



barista3Used to store spent espresso grounds (puck) after a shot of espresso has been made. The portafilter is tapped against the box to release the puck. As the puck would be still hot, the box should be sturdy, also to withstand the repetitive knocking and tapping. Rubber and stainless steel are regular materials used and its recommended to be placed under the grinder for convenience.



barista4When tamping, the group handle should rest on a nonslip mat thick enough to also protect your bench tops from over time damage from all the knocking.



barista5Any tabletop weighing machine will suffice to weigh out the coffee grammage for each drink type. Digital display recommended, needless to stay. Coffee making is all about precision.



barista6You want to make sure that beverages with various ingredients are well combined and this whisk should be small enough to fit in most cups.



barista7Store and shake out chocolate or spice blends on top of beverages for the little extra taste.



barista8For an alternative to latte art, use stencils to create images on top of hot beverages with chocolate or spice powders.



barista9The industry uses stainless steel jugs to froth the milk on your milky lattes and cappucinos. Milk is frothed by heating with the steam wand; simultaneously injecting air inside to create creaminess and a rich, velvety taste. After that a frothing spatula is used to aid milk texturising and latte art.



barista10The kit ought to comprise of a grouphead cleaning brush to get rid of stubborn coffee grinds, coffee grounds cleaning brush, a coffee grinder teeth brush preferably with strong bristles to thoroughly clean out the burrs. Traditional espresso machines would also benefit from the use of a cleaning powder and if you wish to avoid cross contamination, use disposable wipes for the steam wand and general wipe down of the machine.
Eileen Chanfor-the-BARISTA