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  • Todd Souter

Longevity in the Coffee Industry

Updated: Nov 15, 2020


I've been working in the coffee industry as a Barista and a Trainer for over 12 years now.


During the current 'situation' of 2020 I've had a long time to think about my own longevity and sustainability in an industry that has given me so much: what started just as a hobby has gradually become a career. An industry that continues to keep me inspired to be a better Barista and a better teacher; there is always more to learn.



Workflow:

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The layout and workflow of a coffee bar has a direct correlation to the speed of service, consistency and flavour.

The most efficient bar that I have ever worked on had a straight line from the grinders and machine to the coffee pass.

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The Barista on shots was also within hearing distance of customers ordering 'take away' coffees - preparation could be easily made on these drinks even before the order docket was printed. Very fast and efficient.

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Consistency:

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The two factors that affect a Barista's consistency are physical and mental fatigue.

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The physical fatigue that comes from standing all day and excessive tamping.


Excessive tamping force through the wrists, forearm, elbow and shoulders: this can cause inconsistencies in tamping pressure, pain and even injuries. ⁣⁣

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The mental fatigue that comes from concentrating on small details, such as distribution, tamping evenly and adjusting grinders. Over time this can lead to difficultly concentrating, irritability and even a change in attitude or a loss of interest...⁣⁣


Recently I have found a lot of benefits in meditation (I will expand on this in a future post), but simply sitting quietly for 10-15 mins, focusing on your breathing and quieting the mind. This has helped me to improve my focus as well as reduce stress and anxiety. I highly recommend it.



Looking into the Future:


If you are planning on opening a cafe or if you currently own one, I highly recommend taking a moment to consider the POS setup, machine placement, grinder layout and how efficient these really are, set yourself up for success!



If you haven't already, I would suggest implementing the following:⁣⁣

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- Reduce unnecessary movements and awkward shoulder posture, look after your body and consider the well-being of your staff. ⁣⁣

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- Invest in a PuqPress: this will speed up workflow, increase consistency from Barista to Barista, as well reduce physical fatigue. ⁣⁣



- If you are hand tamping any coffees, ensure that bar staff are all tamping to the same pressure (calibrate your staff using bathroom scales), a lighter tamping pressure and a finer grind is a more sustainable option, but most importantly it's delicious!



- Have all your group handles weigh the same; use rubber bands (or putty) to correct the weight of each handle. This will eliminate taring your scales for each handle. Clean handles free of coffee build up will also be more consistent in weight (keep it clean, keep it keen).




- Pre-dose any tea, chocolates, etc in small containers and label accordingly. Kitchens are prepped and organised for a reason - to maintain consistency and to reduce stress during peak service.

- Use sports or support insoles in your shoes, your feet, back and shoulders will thank you.

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Thank you so much to everyone for your feedback and suggestions during these challenging times, I really appreciate it.



#baristalife #coffeeasacareer #longevity



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