How To Get A Barista Job, Tips for Baristas, How To Brew Great Espresso Drinks and Barista Definition
Read on and discover how to become a master Barista, write the perfect Barista Resume, and brew fine coffee drinks.
This is done using an espresso machine and requires following a series of steps to ensure that the quality of the coffee is best expressed through the multi-layered, full-flavored concentrated and intense espresso shot.
Pulling Espresso Shots - It All Starts With the Coffee
The first step in pulling a gourmet espresso shot is to make sure you have acquired premium coffee beans that were cultivated and processed properly and come from one of the world's premier coffee growing regions.
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Coffee beans should be stored in a dark, dry place at a cool temperature but not in the freezer or refrigerator. The proper storage of the freshly-roasted coffee is essential to preserving the finest flavors.
[Also see: The Top Ten Coffees in the World.]
Are you excited to work for Starbucks, Peet's or some other fine coffee shop? Or perhaps you may just want make exceptional specialty coffee drinks at home.
Creating A Great Customer Experience Is Hallmark of Great Baristas
Beyond making exceptional coffee beverages, a Barista in a coffee house needs to possess various skills including dealing with the public and creating a positive customer experience.
Barista As People Person
A quality Barista Resume conveys your friendly “people person” qualities and your willingness to go the extra mile to provide a great customer interaction that leaves them satisfied with the service and the environment as well as the coffee drink and any food and other products they may have purchased.
Espresso Cleanliness Next To Espresso Godliness
Cleanliness is an important part of a successful coffee shop so emphasizing your own penchant for cleanliness and attention to detail is also important.
Barista attire should be very neat and clean, well-groomed, including clothes that aren't wrinkled, clean hands and fingernails, and long hair pulled back or put under a hat.
A Barista should also display an understanding of basic coffee bean qualities and understand how to evaluate coffee as is done at a coffee cupping (professional coffee tasting). An experienced Barista is aware of the primary qualities body, aroma, sweetness/bitterness, acidity and finish/aftertaste.
When filling out your Barista Resume may sure to expound upon the precise tasks that you undertook in previous jobs, particularly anything to do with dealing with the public, business transactions, food service, and tasks that show initiative.
Grinding Gourmet Coffee Beans for Espresso Shots
It is up to the Barista to make sure the grind size of the coffee is suitable for espresso. A burr coffee grinder should be used rather than a blade grinder that can overheat the beans and damage the flavors and aromas.
Preparing the Coffee for Espresso
To prepare the gourmet espresso shot you will need about 8 grams of ground coffee, which is equal to about 2 tablespoons of coffee. For a double shot simply double this amount.
Make sure you grind the coffee right before brewing because once the coffee has been ground it will gradually start to lose its finest flavors and aromas.
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Tamping the Coffee Into the Portafilter of the Espresso Machine
Remove the portafilter of the espresso machine and place the roasted and ground coffee into the portafilter and tamp it using a tamper by providing a medium level of firmness with a slight twisting motion to seal the puck of coffee and avoid any weak spots where water may stream through.
Brush off the rim of the portafilter to remove any loose coffee grounds and ensure a good seal on the espresso machine. Now lock the portafilter into the group of the espresso machine.
Maintaining Proper Brewing Temperature During Espresso Brewing
Remember to warm both the portafilter and the demitasse by running them under very hot water. Some automatic espresso machines pre-warm the portafilter automatically.
It is essential that the proper espresso brewing temperature is maintained (see Technical Specifications) and failure to pre-warm these items can lower brewing temperature and interfere with the full expressions of the flavors and aromas of the espresso shot.
Monitoring the Espresso Brewing Process
Once everything is ready then push the brew button on the espresso machine and watch as the espresso begins to stream out of the spout. The color of the espresso machine should be similar to maple syrup and it should flow out a consistent rate, not very slow and not too fast.
Determining the Optimal Espresso Brewing Time
At this point it is essential that you determine the optimal time for brewing the shot. An average time is about 22 seconds but you may need to use a slightly shorter or longer time based upon the various factors involved including how hard you tamped the coffee, the grind size you used, the condition of the coffee, etc.
The goal is to brew the espresso long enough to extract the fine flavors and aromatic oils, but not too long so as to extract too much of the coffee's bitterness. The perfect espresso shot is not to weak and watery, and also not too bitter.
Fine Tuning the Espresso Brewing Process
Once you brew the shot of espresso analyze it to see if you have used the proper extraction time and other factors, and then fine tune the process for the optimal concentrated and full-flavored shot.
Conversely if you notice that the espresso is flowing too swiftly out of the spout then you may need to use a finer grind size or tamp the coffee more firmly into the portafilter.
Evaluating the Quality of the Espresso Crema
Once about two-thirds of the espresso shot has streamed into the demitasse you will notice the espresso shot begin to separate into layers, and you will also see the crema begin to take form atop the shot.
The crema is a thin, foamy layer of fine emulsified oils that contains the essence of the espresso shot and helps to retain the intensity of the shot. The of sweetness of the espresso shot's crema balances out the bitterness in the heart and body of the shot.
Skilled Barista Creates Velvety-Textured Steamed Milk and High-Quality Foam For Espresso Drinks
Another major skill that needs to be mastered by the professional Barista is the ability to create high quality steamed milk for espresso-based specialty coffee drinks.
The Steamed and Frothed Milk is created using the steaming wand of the espresso machine which injects air into the milk and gives it a creamy texture that creates a harmony of flavors when mixed with espresso and topped off with high quality foam.
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Procedure For Creating High Quality Steamed Milk and Foam
Begin the process by choosing your milk. If you want a creamier texture then use a fattier milk (e.g., whole milk or cream) though the more fat content there is in the milk the less it will increase in volume during steaming.
Using one percent milk or two percent milk is good for creating a nice foam, whereas a non-fat milk will produce a less desirable foam.
Begin With Cold Milk - Purge The System
Make sure to use milk that just been taken out of a very cold refrigerator, and fill the steaming pitcher about one third full. Use a wet towel to cover the end of the steam wand of the espresso machine and then turn on the steam for a moment to purge the system of any water, which you don't want to get into your milk.
Begin the steaming process by allowing the steam wand to just kiss the upper surface of the milk. The tip of the wand should be just barely submerged, and angled a bit off center so that it causes the milk to flow around in a circular motion, or vortex.
Finding the Sweet Spot for Optimal Steaming and Frothing
Once you have found the proper location to hold the steaming wand during the milk steaming process, you should hear a distinct hissing noise similar to something frying in a frying pan. This is how you know you have found the “sweet spot” that is the location to hold the steaming wand for optimal air injection to create a velvety steamed milk.
If you are holding the steaming wand in the proper location and the milk is spinning in a vortex, then you will not need to move the steaming pitcher at all but simply hold it in place as the steaming occurs.
However you will need to gradually lower the steaming pitcher as the volume of the milk expands and the surface level rises, so that you keep the steam wand just beneath the surface in the “sweet spot.”
Creating A Tasty, Fine-Bubbled Steamed Milk and Foam
Don't let the tip of the steaming wand emerge from the top of the milk as this can cause splattering and also create large, tasteless bubbles. If any large bubbles do form they should roll right back down into the milk and disappear.
Eventually the volume of the milk will double or, depending upon the type of milk used, may even triple.
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Tailoring the Steamed Milk and Foam for Particular Espresso Drinks
The amount of foam you create on top of the steamed milk will depend upon what type of espresso drink you are making. For example, if you are preparing a cappuccino then you should keep the steam wand tip near the surface for a bit longer to create a sufficient amount of foam.
The foam should be very fine-bubbled with a pourable, shapeable texture, and with no large, tasteless bubbles and not dry like a meringue. A high quality foam blends with the espresso and steamed milk in a glorious harmony of exceptional flavors and aromas.
Concluding the Steaming and Frothing Process for Great Espresso Drinks
The steaming of the milk should stop once the temperature of the milk reaches one hundred and forty-five degrees. Higher temperatures can scorch or scald the milk and create an unpleasant burnt taste that will permeate and taint the espresso drink.
After steaming and frothing the milk make sure to clean off the espresso machine steam wand by once again using a damp towel over the end while the steam is turned on for a few moments. Then thoroughly wipe down the outside of the steam wand.
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