Want to know what our friend James thinks?
Want to know what our friend James thinks?
Lani asks James what most espresso bar/cafe owners need to know when it comes to training staff and serving an epic coffee.
L: "I think we all want to know what James thinks.. He's good at what he does.. Do you want to not only be competent but profound in your epic coffee making ability, knowledge and understanding? Then keep scrolling for a 4 minute read."
L: "What is your go to cup of caffeine?"
J: "For me, can I have two? I would go a grom or a magic, or whatever you want to call it. Or a shlong."
L: "What’s a shlong you say?"
J: "You know what a shlong is.. A short long black."
L: "The readers really just want to know, what are your favourite barista dance moves?"
J: "Ohhh it’s all in the knees and the hips.."
L: "Do you consider yourself a coffee connoisseur?"
J: "No, I just don’t like to get into judgement role. It’s a cup of coffee."
L: "Okay serious stuff now- Do you think there is anything wrong with the coffee roasting industry?"
J: "I think it’s too secretive in a way. I just think there is a lot of simple education roasters could be putting out there, but they just don’t. I’m not sure for what reason. One common thing I find here a lot, is that people don’t understand there are blends and single origins, and why there are those options and what that means for the flavour in the cup. That’s the really basic level of stuff. Maybe, that is more the cafe's responsibility than the roaster? I think there’s really easy things that roasters can educate people with- in terms of origins, processing, whether it’s washed or natural and what that means etc."
L: "Do you think roasters are morally obligated to educate their cafes on good barista-ing?"
J: "Yes, I think it’s really important from a roasters point of view, it’s really important that they make sure their coffee is being served at the highest possible standard. Which in turn can guarantee more business for the cafe and for the roaster. If the cafe is doing things well, they get more business, which in turn benefits the roaster."
L: "What do you see as the most common barista misconception in a cafe?"
J: "Um, I think it’s very easy for a lot of baristas to get stuck in a rut with rules and processes, and potentially lose touch if you’re not trying new things and experimenting. The biggest thing would be, never stop learning. One of the biggest mistakes a barista can make is thinking they know everything."
L: "What is the most important thing to think about when serving someone a coffee?"
J: "Extraction is really important, milk texture is really important, milk temperature is really important. I think it’s all important... But I think the most would have to be the espresso and the extraction."
L: "When you’re barista-ing, how do you know the coffees you’re serving are delicious all day long?"
J: "You would have done a dial in and tasting, you should already know things are tasting good. Having processes and procedures which eliminate inconsistencies. Things like dosing or weighing in, timing, your extractions, understanding and knowing your yield. If things aren’t within your standard parameters don’t serve them. If mistakes are made, don’t serve them basically."
L: "If you were to open and setup your own espresso bar or cafe, what would you either prioritise financially or put on the ‘back burner so to speak’ while still being able to make epic coffee?"
J: "Having a good product from wholesaling; good beans, good milk, good water. Essentially if you’ve got good product and you know what you’re doing, even if your equipment is average- there’s ways to manipulate things to have a good outcome/product. You’ve got to start well so that people say, “this place is good, let’s keep going back and tell our friends.” From a practical stand point, if you don’t have the top of the line machine or grinders, you can still make a good coffee."
L: "What can cafe owners remove or introduce to make sure they’re doing their bit to reduce waste?"
J: "They can add some form of keep cup as a retail item to reduce waste. Always have some kind of dine in option, for those little hole in the walls. If you haven’t heard of Huskee, look them up, they’re doing some cool things."
L: "When creating a blend to make epic coffee, what kind of tastes are you looking for and what kind of tastes are you trying to avoid?"
J: "You’re looking for something that is full bodied, usually something that has hints of chocolate, caramel, that mixes well with milk and doesn’t get lost in milk. From there it depends if you want a little point of difference, which I think if cafes have the opportunity to develop a blend with a roaster then make the most of that and try to make something that’s not totally standard. You’re also trying to avoid too much acidity or fruitiness."
L: "When are you going to invite Lani to a cupping?"
J: "Hahaha, umm I will invite Lani to the next cupping that I have been made aware of."
L: "Do you say 'Ahhhhh' after every sip of Slide coffee?"
J: "No I’m not a weirdo. I say MMMmmmmm"
L: "What is one simple thing that all front of house staff can do to improve customer service?"
J: "Smile is a very simple thing. Treat people how you would like to be treated. That’s just how I approach customer service."
L: "What can cafe owners or managers do to improve the coffees they’re serving?"
J: "They could just literally experiment, to see if there’s ways of improving their extraction and flavour of espresso. I suppose it depends, it could be literally be- buying better coffee beans, it could be using better milk. Umm and definitely staff training."
L: "For a cafe/espresso bar not currently using Slide coffee, what advice do you give them?"
J: "Have you heard of Slide Coffee? Haha. Have good quality control whatever you’re serving. Just make sure it’s a good experience for every customer."