Becoming a skilled Barista is often the first step into the coffee industry, but how much do you really know about the machinery you’re using?
Here at Coffee Roasters Australia we understand the coffee process and the machinery in-between. This includes the unique origin of the ripe coffee cherry; all the way to the silky fatty crema, layered think on your espresso.
Want to be more than just another barista? The following article covers all the basics on espresso lingo and types of machinery, from grinders and tampers to espresso machines.
Fundamentals of the coffee process – post-roastery
We’re going to start off here with the basics – and we’re talking really obvious café lingo, just so everyone understands the fundamental tools used to achieve the perfect espresso.
It begins with some beans in a bag…
So this is how the story starts, as most café’s stories would. You’re getting ready to open shop and it’s time to get the ball rolling.
Mazzer Major Auto Range
In case you didn’t know, this gorgeous piece of machinery is how the whole coffee beans are broken up from whole beans to precisely ground particles of beans called grind.
The grinder is made up of a handful of components:
a. Bean hopper – this is a large plastic transparent container that holds the beans on top of the grinder.
b. Adjustment knob/ring – this is the part of the grinder that changes the composition of the grind from coarse to fine and on our example it is a ring.
c. Doser – this holds the ground coffee for dosing into the portafilter, which we will get to shortly. Not all grinders have dosers; some café’s prefer to just grind as required and catch it straight into the portafilter.
Once your beans have been ground, you’ll put the required amount of grind into the metal portafilter basket that’s comfortably fitted inside the device.
Literally named a “portable filter”, the portafilter is basically used for bringing the grind dosage from the grinder to the espresso machine.
Now that you have your dose of grind ready in the portafilter, this piece of equipment is used to compress the grind to the specific weight necessary. The weight may vary according to the beans and machinery you use.
The grinder shown above actually has a tamper attached, but a lot of the time you’ll have an external tamp that can be mechanical or manual.
4. Espresso machine
Now here is where things get a little technical! The espresso machine is made up of a heap of different parts. All of these components have different functions and collectively are capable of making the perfect coffee for you – whether it is an espresso, flat white, caramel latte, long black or cappuccino.
Mega Crem 2 Group – hi
Like the grinder, it’s a little hard to choose favourites! So just for this example, we’re going to go with the Mega Crem hi model.
a. Group head
This component is where the portafilter generally sits snugly in its home.
This part of the machine consists of a couple of important parts –
the group gasket which acts as a seal to keep the water flow running into the basket;
and the shower screen which acts like a shower head to evenly dispense the water through the group head into the grind.
b. Group dosing keypad
The dosing keypad on this machine controls the dose of coffee by the water volume that runs through the group head to make the shot. This can make the coffee taste smooth and silky or weak and watered-down depending on the operator. The key pad can also have other functions as well, depending on the brand and price of the machine.
c. Hot tap
Perfect for your long black and tea lovers! The hot tap on the Mega Crem has an automatic boiler refill function and provides boiler water at a moment’s notice.
d./e. Steam valve knob and steam wand
Using the steam valve knob to control the amount of steam released, the steam wand with a milk jug, is used to create that beautifully textured milk on-top of the latte’s and cappuccinos. Done right, the coffee should hold all the delicious crema intact with a pattern or chocolate sprinkle to suit.
f. Steam pressure gauge
This gauge indicates the boiler pressure and is important to keep an eye on for the health of the machine. Some machines also have a pump operating pressure indicator on the same or separate gauge.
The team at Coffee Roasters hope you’ve found this article helpful and informative, because here at Coffee Roasters on the Gold Coast, we prize the Australian coffee culture. If you want to find out more about our services and products, don’t hesitate to contact our Gold Coast offices today for all of your coffee needs including equipment and barista training.
If you have any questions about our equipment or coffee in general please contact us.