Barista Coffee Maker

What Is “Barista”?

The term `barista` is an Italian one, given to café workers who specialise in making the finest coffee for customers. Baristas are experts in handling espresso machines and preparing the perfect shot of coffee. There are degrees of barista skill, which depend rather on the type of machine that is being operated. With fully automatic espresso machines most of the skilled work is completed for the operator, but in manual and semi-manual machines it is up to the barista to prepare the shots, apply the right amount of pressure and decide the optimum brew time for the choice of coffee the customer has chosen. It is considered something of an art to get the perfect manual espresso and there is considerable competition between baristas to get the combination just right. In fact there is even a World Barista Championship competition, which is held every year in Norway.


Barista Training Courses

The Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma espresso maker makes a perfect cup every time.
The main skills are coffee centred and revolve around preparing the perfect shot. The barista must adjust the coffee grinder to the correct setting, according to the bean chosen. Next he must load the espresso basket and expertly tamp down the coffee, levelling it just right for the perfect extraction. These actions may sound straightforward to the uninitiated, but failure to complete one part of the process perfectly can result quite easily in a bitter, weak, over-strong and generally unpalatable extraction. Since it is a job that can only be perfected by experience, most baristas learn their art in the workplace, but it is possible to attend classes to improve technique. Barista know-how is passed on from shop owner to staff in most cases and a fair few espressos end up being thrown away at first. Over time, some baristas become so skilled in the process that they will adjust their machine several times a day, depending on the climate. Too much moisture in the air can affect the beans. The skills they possess are highly prized by coffee connoisseurs who will often discuss the coffee bean selection with the barista before settling on the right one.


Professional Barista Skills

With the recent introduction of `latte art` things have become even more complex in the world of the professional barista. There are many different ways of preparing milk for lattes, getting just the right amount of froth and perfecting the pouring of milk. Now there are magical ways of swirling the frothed milk to make intricate designs. The competition in this field is becoming more and more intense, particularly with the younger baristas. There is even a trade magazine for young baristas, which is packed with useful advice and news of competitions. A new generation of coffee lovers is springing up and with them a host of professionals who want to learn as much as they can about the art and skill of the top-class barista. With access to a social network of other baristas and the ability to source coffee beans online in order to experiment with different tastes, things have never been so exciting in the world of fine coffee.

Best Espresso Coffee Grinder

The coffee bean has come a long way from its humble Ethiopian beginnings, more than 10,000 years ago. Coffee is one of the biggest exports in the world today. Whether you enjoy the occasional indulgent mocha or are obsessive about your blends, it`s important to get the strength and quality just right. Nothing can match the smell of freshly ground coffee, but when buying beans to grind your own, it`s a good idea to consider the pros and cons of different features and machines.

Coffee Machines With Grinding Attachment

Many coffee machines nowadays come with a grinding attachment as standard, although there is a considerable bump-up in price because of this. Separate grinding machines can cost from around £20 for small hand mills, all the way up to deluxe makes for around £1,500 which are more of an industry standard but can still be used in the home. It should be noted that hand-grinding is perhaps not suitable for espresso-making as it can take several minutes to achieve enough grinds.

Vintage coffee grinder with roasted coffee beansWhen deciding on the best buy, it makes sense to understand the components and what you are looking for. Most models come either with a doser, a measuring compartment which can be adjusted in volume and is therefore a good method for a busy café environment. In the kitchen, this may be a more practical option too, as this allows you to leave the grinder while you wait for it to grind. With doserless models you need to wait for the process to finish as the coffee is delivered straight into the container once ground.

The size of the burrs, or blades as well as the motor speed can make a difference to how fast and efficiently your machine performs. The adjustment on coffee grinders is one of two kinds: incremental and stepless. Incremental machines come with set adjustments which the maker can switch between. High-end brands can offer up to 80 settings. Or there are stepless models, meaning they can be adjusted at the user`s discretion, although this is perhaps a better option for those with more practice.

As far as makes go, Mazzer is a popular brand for espresso enthusiasts; their top-market range includes mini grinders which are often used in retail cafés as a secondary machine but are more than sufficient for domestic use. Other models include the Madcap products, with an appealing look and stepped settings for different types of grind. More mid-range grinders, like the Baratza models can offer the best of both worlds if looking for a compromise between coffee-house quality and home use.

Best Coffee Grinder For Espresso

Most consumers will agree it`s a case of finding the grinder that works best for you, taking into account how frequently you use it and the level of performance you expect. For those who love their espresso and won`t touch a jar of instant, spending a bit more on a grinder that you`re most likely to find amongst commercial catering equipment may be a worthwhile investment.