Training from IMACK Coffee

 

We know the success of your business ultimately depends on the products you carry, and how you sell them. We are here to help you every step along the way. Basic barista training to latte art classes will be posted soon! Until then, please call and we can arrange a private lesson at our shop or yours.


Espresso Training Sheet

Espresso is simply a straight “shot” of coffee extracted properly from a clean espresso machine. A shot should take 20-30 seconds to extract, and should be darker on the bottom and have a nice silky layer of golden crema on the top. Espresso is not a certain type of bean or a specific roast, it refers to the method of coffee extraction. Many espresso blends have both light and dark beans in them and are formulated to get heavy crema, sweetness, or stoutness to be tasted through milk and flavorings. Many Europeans will drink straight espresso with sugar and a bit of cream. In the US, espresso is mainly used in lattes and other milk based drinks.

The basics of good espresso

  • Properly roasted and blended FRESH high quality coffee
  • Properly ground espresso beans (not too fine or coarse, not pre-ground)
  • Properly tamped ground espresso (30lbs of pressure – will produce a cookie)
  • Properly extracted espresso (20-30 seconds with a heavy crema layer)
  • Property timed shot (timed to finish when the milk is done frothing)
You need an espresso grinder to get espresso fine enough to pull a good shot. These machines need to be calibrated to the specific espresso you use. Once the espresso is “dialed” in, you shouldn’t need to adjust the grinder more than a click or two in either direction. You know the espresso is at the proper grind when you are getting finished shots between 20-30 seconds. If the shots are running faster than 20 seconds, the grind is too coarse and/or is not being tamped firmly enough. If the shots are lingering slower than 30 seconds, the grind is too fine and/or is being tamped too hard. Adjust the grinder accordingly, and try again. Espresso should never be pre-ground and left to sit in the grinder – it gets stale, flat and bitter.
What does 30lbs of pressure mean? It means push hard. The portafilter should be filled above the inner line and tamped down with enough pressure to flatten it out to the line in the filter. after running a shot, the espresso should form a “cookie” or a “puck” when dumped out. If the espresso seems wet and muddy, its too fine and the water from the machine can’t pass through correctly. Adjust the grind to a slightly coarser setting. If the espresso is slightly dry and falls apart when dumped, the grind is too coarse, adjust it slightly and try again.
Again, the proper pull or shot on the espresso machine should be between 20-30 seconds. When the extraction button is pressed, there should be a few second hesitation as the shot infuses, then a dark stream of coffee will start, getting progressively lighter as the crema forms. The shots should be timed to finish just as the milk is finished frothing. You don’t want a shot sitting and getting cold and flat. Ideally, as the milk reaches about 100 degrees, start the shots.
The hardest skills to learn as a barista is the proper frothing and steaming of milk. The only way to do it right is to practice, practice, practice. Yes, you will “waste” a gallon or two of milk, but it will be worth it in the long run to master this skill and make exceptional espresso drinks. Its important to note, that different types of milk steam differently and soy milk scalds at a lower temperature. A big question – can milk be re-steamed? Yes, but only if you add  more fresh milk than what you’ve already steamed and only 1-2 times. Every time you steam milk, you break down the proteins and it will scald at a lower temperature each time. Mark your steam pitchers with lines so you know how much milk to use for each size drink – this will prevent over steaming, scalding, and waste.
Steamed milk is a staple in most American espresso drinks. The milk should be brought to about 160 degrees and should be creamy and silky. ALWAYS USE A THERMOMETER! Until you are an expert, use a thermometer – there is no shame in this. Start with a steaming pitcher, a thermometer and correct portion of milk for the size cup you are using. Remember, milk will expand as it is heated so you need about 2/3 ozs for the size you are using. Make sure the steaming wand is fully down in the milk, turn it on full, slightly tip your steaming pitcher making sure you can always see the thermometer. The milk should start swirling in the pitcher and as it heats up you will hear a growling sound as it approaches temperature. Turn off the steam wand at 140/145 as the milk will continue to heat. If you get to 180 degrees your milk is SCALDING – THROW IT OUT. When finished the milk should be very creamy with no noticeable air bubbles. You can lightly bang the pitcher on the counter to pop some of the smaller air bubbles before you pour the milk into your prepared cup.
Frothing is essentially the same as steaming except as the milk approaches the final temperature you want to pull the steam wand towards the top of the milk in the pitcher to create froth or foam. Again, practice, practice, practice. The foam should not have large air bubbles and be stiff, it should be velvety and light. Its hard to do but keep at it – this makes a huge difference in the taste of the drink and good steam/foam will bring your customers back again and again.
If you’ve been in a coffee shop, you may think there are hundreds of espresso drinks to learn, in reality, There are only about 4 main drinks and the rest are variations of these.
  • Espresso – straight shots
  • Lattes – flavoring, shots, large amount of steamed milk, little foam.
  • Cappuccinos – flavoring, shots, little steamed milk, lots of foam.
  • Americano – shots of espresso in hot water.
Learn these basics well and everything else will follow easily. 

Brewed Coffee

Bad coffee is the norm out there and your local roaster is trying to change that. There are two main grades of coffee – commodity coffee and specialty coffee. Commodity coffee is low grown robusta coffee that is cheaper and used by the big corporate coffee companies on the market such as Folgers. These coffees are roasted in huge batches, and shipped all over the world to sit and stale on grocery shelves. Specialty coffees by contrast, are high grown arabicas, are hand picked and are most often organically grown. These coffees are more expensive and these are what IMACK coffee roasters use. The coffee you are using is fresh roasted weekly and is roasted to bring out the best in each bean.

Your coffee should be kept in a cool, dry place and in an airtight container. Direct sun or heat will start to degrade the oils in the coffee. You can leave your coffee in the bag provided by your roaster. These bags have degassing valves on the front – this is to let the CO2 from the roasting process escape while keeping air out. You can also use any other air tight container (again away from direct heat or sunlight). For example, don’t put your bag of coffee on top of your espresso machine.
Essentially the finer you grind the coffee the stronger it will be. As a rule of thumb, you should grind the coffee as fine as your machine will take. The stronger the coffee the better as long as there are no grounds in it and it isn’t bitter. Each coffee brewer is slightly different and will take a different grind. Your roaster can help you with this. If your brewer is overflowing, you either have too much coffee or the coffee is too finely ground. Its important to note that coffee starts to stale as soon as its ground so wait until the last possible minute to grind it to ensure freshness.
Coffee is mostly water so you need to start with fresh filtered water to get the best taste from your coffee. Most commercial machines have some sort of filters built into the water lines. Keep your machines clean (your roaster has products for this). Once you get the proper grind and amount of coffee and fresh water, you are ready to brew. Modern commercial machines will keep the  coffee fresh for hours as will airpots. If you are using the old “diner style” open glass carafes sitting on a heating element – this coffee will burn and go stale quickly. Invest in a $20 airpot and pour your coffee from the carafe into the airpot to extend its life. Even in an airpot, the coffee is starting to stale after about 4 hours. You can take “stale” coffee and put it in the fridge to be used for ice coffees. Coffee will keep in the refrigerator for a few days and will improve over time – getting heavier and sweeter for iced coffees.

Espresso Overview & Recipes

Espresso – a straight “shot” of coffee extracted properly from a clean espresso machine. A shot should take 20-30 seconds to extract, and should be darker on the bottom and have a nice silky layer of golden crema on the top.

Latte – the most popular American espresso drink. Flavoring, espresso, lots of steamed milk, topped with A little bit of foam and whipped cream (if requested).

Cappuccino – the European version of a latte – it has less milk and more foam and tastes “stronger”. Flavoring, Espresso, a little steamed milk, and lots of foam.

Americano – single or multiple shots of espresso Added to hot water. Mimics strong brewed coffee.

Red Eye – single or multiple shots of espresso added To brewed coffee – very strong!

Macchiato – Espresso “marked or stained” by steamed Milk. Starbucks has bastardized this Italian drink and Turned it into a vanilla/caramel latte.

Chai Latte – Chai concentrate/powder steamed with milk.

Steamer – Flavoring and steamed milk.

Latte – ¾ oz flavoring (3 pumps), 1 shot Espresso, steamed milk, 1 inch foam, Whipped cream if requested.

Cappuccino – ¾ oz flavoring (3 pumps), 1 shot espresso, steamed milk, 3 inches foam, whipped cream if requested.

Americano – 10 oz hot water, 1 shot espresso.

Red Eye – 10 oz brewed coffee, 1 shot esp.

Caramel Macchiato – 2 pumps caramel, 1 pump vanilla, 1 shot espresso, steamed milk, 1 inch foam, whipped cream.

Mocha – 3 pumps chocolate, 1 shot espresso, Steamed milk, 1 inch foam, whipped cream.

White Mocha – 3 pumps white chocolate, 1 shot espresso, steamed milk, 1 inch foam, whipped cream

Latte – 1 oz flavoring (4 pumps), 2 shots espresso, steamed milk, 1 inch foam, whipped cream if requested.

Cappuccino – 1 oz flavoring (4 pumps), 2 shots espresso, steamed milk, 3 inches foam, whipped cream if requested.

Americano – 13 oz hot water, 2 shots espresso.

Red Eye – 13 oz brewed coffee, 2 shots espresso.

Caramel Macchiato – 3 pumps caramel, 1 pump vanilla, 2 shots espresso, steamed milk, 1 inch foam, whipped cream.

Mocha – 4 pumps chocolate, 2 shots espresso, steamed milk, 1 inch foam, whipped cream.

White Mocha – 4 pumps white chocolate, 2 shots espresso, steamed milk, 1 inch foam, whipped cream.

Latte – 1.5 oz flavoring (6 pumps), 3 shots Espresso, steamed milk, 1 inch foam, Whipped cream if requested.

Cappuccino – 1.5 oz flavoring (6 pumps), 3 Shots espresso, steamed milk, 3 inches foam, whipped cream if requested.

Americano – 16 oz hot water, 3 shots espresso.

Red Eye – 16 oz brewed coffee, 3 shots espresso.

Caramel Macchiato – 4 pumps caramel, 2 pumps vanilla, 3 shots espresso, steamed milk, 1 inch foam, whipped cream.

Mocha – 6 pumps chocolate, 3 shots espresso, steamed milk, 1 inch foam, whipped cream.

White Mocha – 6 pumps white chocolate, 3 shots espresso, steamed milk, 1 inch foam, whipped cream.