Almost every day you walk into a coffee shop or café and order your coffee or cappuccino.
But have you ever stopped to check whether the steps performed by the bartender are correct to give you a quality product?
The next time you go into a club and order the magical black drink, check the following 5 essential steps to get only the best:
- The cleanliness of the hopper and the color of the contained grains
- The cleaning of the post and sponges.
- The cleaning of the steam wand
- Filter cleaning and drying
- Purging the machine’s hand shower
But let’s find out together exactly what these steps are and why they are important!
The cleanliness of the hopper and the color of the contained grains
The hopper is the bell, usually transparent, positioned above the grinder. It contains the beans that the barista will go to grind in order to succeed in extracting your espresso.
This is critical that it be clean, never shiny or oily.
Also be careful that there are no dark, shiny grains stuck to its walls.
As can be guessed, the hopper is the container of our food product, so if it is dirty, it automatically ruins the result on the goodness of the coffee in the cup.
In addition, coffee beans are rich in essential oils, which are responsible for aromaticity. If they escape they make the kernel shiny and sticky, and this is much more likely to occur when the kernels are roasted dark and thus have an intense color tending toward black, as can be seen in the photo below.
When the oils come out, first of all, they foul the bell more easily and then they accelerate the oxidation of the grains. This will be felt later in the cup with hints of rancid and stale.
In summary, it is good to see a clear, well-cleaned hopper with medium-roasted beans inside.
The cleaning of the post and sponges.
Needless to say, it is always nice to walk into a venue and see everything neat and clean.
But even more important is to see that the entire drink-making station is clean, free of fouling and with the sponges carefully used, each for its specific function. Not forgetting the bartender’s apron, too!
Specifically, there will need to be a sponge for the bench, one for the steam wand, one for the machine, and a wild card for any other needs.
The cleaning of the steam wand
The steam wand is perhaps one of the tools I most often find dirty on premises.
It is that machine apparatus that allows high-pressure steam to escape in order to whip and heat milk.
Its cleanliness is really essential, not to be fussy, but to avoid the formation of colonies of bacteria.
In fact, if it is not cleaned immediately with a sponge after each brewing, the milk that remains encrusted will continue to heat up, until it burns. This promotes the formation of colonies of bacteria that will inevitably end up in your cup of latte or cappuccino.
Also, it is not enough to clean it externally; it must be purged for a few seconds after and before each whipping, letting out a small stream of steam, before plunging it into the milk jug.
Filter cleaning and drying
The arm you can see in the picture above is called an assembly, and it goes to attach to the machine. At its end it has a tray suitable for holding a filter, which in turn holds the ground coffee panel.
When you order a coffee, the barista goes to unhook the unit from the machine and slams the reservoir into a tray to remove the spent coffee panel.
Before inserting fresh coffee to extract the required tea coffee should clean any residual ground coffee with a small brush and, when possible, also dry the filter with a rag.
This is very important because: residues that are not removed by the filter will go through further extraction with water at high temperatures.
What will this then entail?
The remaining coffee grounds will be burned and over-extracted, making your cup bitter, with aromatic burnt notes.
Imagine if these small particles of mince did not just stay for a few coffees, but stayed there all day, even after 2,3,4,5 hundred coffees.
Purging the machine’s hand shower
The same goes for the hand shower. It is that part where the unit goes to hook up to the machine and allows the water to flow out for extraction.
Ground coffee particulate matter is also deposited there, and the mechanism is always that of the filter. If you don’t purge the machine, letting some water out for a few seconds before extracting the next coffee, the residue will always get stuck there all day long, going to burn and thus making your cup bitter and with hints of burning.
At first it seems difficult to get a coffee made quickly by following his optimal recipe to extract the best and clean and control every step of the process, but after only a few days of insistence, this comes naturally. So natural that you will no longer be able to make a coffee drink without following all these steps, because they will come instinctively, the hands will move themselves.