The Starters Guide to Being a Barista

Planning to open the coolest coffee shop in town? So what are the things you need to know before setting off on this exciting journey? Let us explore the 5 facts you need to know while buying commercial spaces, espresso machines and other café merchandise.

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Food Safety Standards

No restaurant or café is above the rules and regulations of the National Food Safety Standards 3.2.3. There are quite a few set of rules which have been laid out to ensure safe manufacturing and distribution of food form registered outlets such as restaurants, cafes and hotels.

As far as the in Australian Standard AS4674-2004 Design, Construction & Fitout of Food Premises is concerned; every establishment has to follow a few guideline criteria for the construction and maintenance of the kitchen area. As a matter of fact, the food and beverages produced need to adhere to a certain standard of health and hygiene.

Every commercial space needs to opt for equipment which has been built and manufactured for commercial use only (Recommended brands : bunn commercial coffee makers and Keurig K145 Coffee Machines.)

Not only do these equipments support bulk production, they also have extended longevity and official guarantee/warranty since these are meant to mass produce food and beverages. This makes them easier to clean, maintain and repair once such a situation arises. Take is from us, if you choose a high-end machine for a home based setting for mass production at your café, you are making one rookie mistake.

Special Electrical Requirements

The requirements of a commercial espresso machine will be a lot different from your home espresso machine and that’s a given. So before you decide on what kind of espresso machine you should opt for, do not forget to check your power supply at your would-be café. Check what voltage is required and how much your load your ground/earth can support.

Most of the grinders use 110 Volt receptacles while most espresso machines use anything between 110 Volts to 220 Volt depending on the model. Always remember to check the specs of the model you are opting for and check the circuit to make sure that it can take the expected load.

Most of the grinders use 110 Volt receptacles while most espresso machines use anything between 110 Volts to 220 Volt depending on the model. Always remember to check the specs of the model you are opting for and check the circuit to make sure that it can take the expected load.

Plumbing Requirements

If you want a safe and functional working space, it is extremely important that you check the plumbing requirements of espresso machines. You will first need to install a cold water supply line that is within 4 feet of the machine.

Commercial machines mostly require a 3/8 inch diameter line and a water pressure creator of maximum 40 pounds. This waterline is incomplete without a separate shut-off valve to prevent any kind of backflow.

The espresso machine needs to be connected to the main water supply line so there is constant flow of water. Manually supplying water for your espresso machine is neither desired nor advised.

Now comes the question of drain connection. Every espresso machine comes with its drip tray which drains into a black box or the catch basin that drains into a vinyl tube. This drain hose needs to be connected to a dedicated floor drain or waste drain for complete removal of discarded water.

Although it is recommended that you check with your local council for the exact requirement for establishing drain connections.

Water Softeners and Maintenance

Just like water filters catch the floating debris from water as well as a layer of calcium or magnesium salts that make the water hard. Your espresso machine will also have a tendency to build-up deposits of the same, and in copious amounts.

So, if you are aiming for a high volume business with years of service, you would want to exact the maximum service possible from your investments. Which is why, we recommend that you take the help of a coffee technician which is ideal for your location and water type.

In addition to that, you should clean your machine religiously and make use of a de-scaling filter whenever possible. Remember to clean the in-line water softener since that will determine the amount of mineral deposit on the machine filters and its longevity.

Number of Group heads (where the coffee is extracted)

The number of group heads really depends upon the workload on the espresso machine. This is ideally determined by the number of people catered to or number of servings made at a time. A standard two group machine can make about 4 coffees at one go. And one kilo of coffee can produce 70 to 100 cups of coffee (this is the rule of thumb for café owners) depending on the basket size of the machine.

So, a café which is consuming 5 kilo of coffee or less per week should opt for a small single group machine.

But, if the 5 kilos was used in less than a week then the café probably needs something more powerful, like a compact 2 group. As the name indicates, these models have two group heads and it can do anything up to 10 kilos per week depending on the customer distribution and footfall frequency.

The most common machine we see today is a full-sized 2 group. Not only does it have a larger boiler, it can do up to 29 kilo per week. This model is seen in most of the busy city cafes. If you push the limits, a 2 group can potentially dole out about 30 kilos a week.

However, in that case your staff strength and customer spacing becomes the limiting factors. A single skilled operator can handle only up to 4 brewing heads at one time.

The calculation is easy, it takes only a few seconds to knock out the old coffee grounds, refill the group head with new grounds, put the group handle back and hit the “Brew” button. The espresso takes about 25 seconds to brew. Hence, the idea of getting more than 4 group heads on a single machine is quite impractical and useless.

Most commercial spaces choose the group head as per the requirement standards during the rush hours. Commercial machines can have up to 4 groups. But, time has shown that 2×2 group heads are ideal if you are looking for better and smoother performance.