Jibbi Little fox latte art

Fantastic Mr Fox latte art by Jibbi Little

Jibbi Little shares her fantastic take on a Roald Dahl classic that’s more cunning than any canine and quirkier than a Wes Anderson movie.

One of my favourite books as a child was Fantastic Mr Fox. Many people are familiar with Wes Anderson’s animated film, but it actually began as a novel by Roald Dahl.

Jibbi Little
Jibbi Little of Jibbijug is the 2019 ASCA Pauls Professional Australian Latte Art Champion.

The book tells the story of an intelligent fox that steals food from a wealthy farmer to support his family. As I child, I connected with this story and it taught me the importance of family.

When I began conceptualising the patterns I would use this competition season – from the regional to world stage – I decided early on that I would use the stories I loved as a child as inspiration for my designs. Fantastic Mr Fox was one of the first books that came to mind, both because of its influence on me as a child, and the countless ways it could be brought to life. 

At each subsequent competition, I finetuned the design, working in different features, techniques, and levels of detail based on the time constraints and my ability to pour consistently. This pattern is the one I presented at the Australian Specialty Coffee Association Pauls Professional 2019 Australian Latte Art Championship in February at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo. For me, it finds a good middle ground between the repeatability of the regional version and complexity of my World Latte Art Championship (WLAC) design. This pattern is perfect for aspiring baristas to attempt to recreate in their own cafés.

Unfortunately, my WLAC journey was cut short in the semi-finals where I placed 11th out of 41 competitors. My experience taught me the value of preparation, knowing the rules and regulations, and – similar to how Fantastic Mr Fox did as a child – the value of my Australian coffee family. Thank you to everyone for their support throughout my WLAC campaign.

This article appears in the August edition of BeanScene Magazine. Subscribe HERE.


Jibbi Little’s Fantastic Mr Fox

Jibbi Little fox latte art

Step 1

Build your base with the cup handle positioned at three o’clock.

Jibbi Little fox latte art

Step 2

To start the body, pour a C-shape beginning three quarters down the middle of the cup and end near seven o’clock.

Jibbi Little fox latte art

Step 3

In one movement, draw a small loop from the end point of the C to the middle and back. Then, drag a line that is parallel to the start point of the C.

Step 4

Drag another line straight down the cup, beginning slightly higher than the C and connecting the two points of the body. Pour a second line forming a narrow V shape.

Jibbi Little fox latte art

Step 5

Pour a seven- to eight-leaf rosetta running along the top of the V. Drag up along the side of the rosetta, forming the neck.

Jibbi Little fox latte art

Step 6

From the mid-curve of the C, pour a 10-leaf rosetta up along the edge of the cup until 11 o’clock then drag through alongside the rosetta until you touch the C again, forming the tail.

Jibbi Little fox latte art

Step 7

From the top of the neck rosetta, drag a straight line up then diagonally down towards the point of the neck drag, stopping halfway. Drag back to meet the first line, forming the ear.

Jibbi Little fox latte art

Step 8

Drop a slight amount of foam then pull through along the last drag with a heavier volume of foam, forming the snout. A thin gap should be left between the snout and the ear to form the eye.

coffee group heads

Coffee group heads 101

Maurizio Marcocci of Service Sphere discusses the role of coffee group heads, common espresso machine parts that serve a huge purpose.

To pull the best shots possible, baristas need to learn everything they can about coffee extraction. From grind adjustment to water temperature, these factors can all influence the flavour of coffee in the cup. However, while trying to grasp these complex concepts, many baristas can skip over a key component of espresso extraction. 

Maurizio Marcocci is the Director of Service Sphere.

Following our last Tech Talk where we discussed the huge growth in technological advancements within modern coffee machines, this time we are going back to the basics of an espresso machine and exploring the humble coffee group head.  

Essentially, the group head is the part of the espresso machine where water from the boiler is dispensed into the coffee filter basket. It acts as a meeting point, connecting the machine to the group handle and the water to coffee. 

The E61, created by Faema, is the most common type of group head found in commercial coffee machines. 

E61 group heads use a thermosyphon heating system, which sees the coffee machine’s heat exchangers heat water in the boiler. This hot water rises through the group head causing it to heat up. The water will continue to rotate from the heat exchanger to the group head and back to the boiler, causing thermal stability throughout the day. This system allows for natural pre-infusion of coffee, where a small amount of hot water is applied to the ground coffee at a lower pressure than full extraction pressure. This wets the coffee, allowing the barista to gain full flavour from the blend. 

The classic Faema E61 group head dates back to the 1960s. Before this model, manufacturers struggled to make coffee consistent between machines, with group heads of different shapes, designs, and systems producing radically different results.

The E61 became a group head template for manufacturers, each making slight variations on the design to suit their own requirements leading to the introduction of multiple boilers to their machines.

The E61 design is a tried and tested method – and half a century of research and development later, many coffee machine manufacturers still believe it’s a better idea to build on its concept than replace it with something new. 

At Service Sphere, baristas frequently tell us that the position of a group handle must be at the 90-degree angle for the machine to function correctly. This is not the case. Instead, the further across a handle sits when locked into a group head alerts our technicians that there is wear in a group seal, group head, or handle. 

Most group head issues occur due to a lack of proper maintenance. When machine owners complain about the taste of their coffee, we regularly find dirty group heads and solenoids are the culprit.

Some group heads also use small restriction points to maintain a particular water pressure. If the machine has high amounts of limescale, these points can clog up and limit water flow. If this occurs, we highly recommend you contact your service technician as soon as possible.    

coffee group headsThere are a few simple things baristas can do day to day to minimise these problems from occurring, saving time and money in the long run. Baristas should be backflushing their group heads with a suitable cleaning product once per day. This washes out sticky oils left from ground coffee, which can become lodged within the group head’s components. Another great way to ensure your group head is maintained is to adhere to a comprehensive preventative maintenance program on your espresso machine.  

Ensuring your group head seals are in good condition is important, since a poor seal will lead to leaking in the group head. Over time, poorly maintained seals become especially troublesome when they need to be replaced, as baristas will try and overtighten the group handles to compensate, causing more damage.

Some technicians carry generic ‘packers’ instead of holding specific parts for each brand. When replacing a seal, they simply pack the desired amount, which is usually not to the manufacturer’s specifications. Although they may appear identical, it takes only slight width variations to cause a sealing issue. 

When a genuine part is available, we do not recommend packers because they can fall out due to a lack of contact with the group head and not fitting oversized coffee seals. This can lead to the over-tightening of group handles, causing increased wear on the group head.

Another great way we recommend baristas prolong their seals is to leave the group handles locked into the group head when not in use. This is because the seals can become dry overtime without the group handle locked in.  

It’s important to use the correct group handle for your coffee machine. Most group handles are made of a soft metal called brass because of its strong heat conductivity. The trade off is that it’s a relatively weak metal. Because of this, some people purchase non-genuine group handles made with stainless steel. Although this leads to reduced strain on the group handle, it increases wear to the group head. Ultimately, the switch to stainless steel ensures the longevity of an easily replaceable component at the expense of equipment that is far more expensive and labour-intensive to repair.

Simply treating your machine with care instead of jamming in and over-tightening the group handle will increases the lifespan of a group head to a surprising degree.

If a group head passes the point of no return, it’s good to know that each part is replaceable. Service Sphere, for instance, stocks parts for many popular manufacturers, including group heads and handles. However, the real question should be: is it worth getting to this point?

Prices for a basic group head begin around $300 and climb very quickly. The work required to change these parts can require a technician to spend significant time to do this correctly. So yes, it’s replaceable, but would I instead try to ensure the group head doesn’t need replacing? Absolutely. 

For more information, visit www.servicesphere.com.au

This article appears in the August edition of BeanScene Magazine. Subscribe HERE.

fairy rabbit latte art

Fairy Rabbit latte art by Jibbi Little

Jibbi Little takes to the skies with a fanciful flying fairy rabbit that combines two of her favourite designs.

By the time many of you read this, I will have competed in the World Latte Art Championship. For now, however, I am dedicating all my time to training. With Easter just past and me about to take flight to Germany for World of Coffee in Berlin, I thought there’s no better time than to combine these events in the form of my flying Fairy Rabbit design.

Jibbi Little
Jibbi Little of Jibbijug is the 2019 ASCA Pauls Professional Australian Latte Art Champion.

Combination actually played a part in the conception of this design. The idea behind it was really quite simple. My rabbit and angel designs were quite popular, so I thought, ‘why not bring them together?’

The result is a design that is cute and appeals to peoples’ love of fantasy and fairy tales. While the rabbit itself is front and centre in the design, elements like a tree to the side and the sun at the top add an extra level of character and scene setting.

It may seem simple at first, but the design requires multiple techniques from dragging and dropping to wrapping and rosettas, and prowess in one underappreciated discipline – manoeuvring the wrist. You can’t perform some of the intricacies of this design without being able to subtly rotate your wrist as the body, head, and ears of the rabbit curve.

Like most designs, with practice and persistence, any up and coming barista can master this pattern. In latte art, you can never stop improving and practice is key. For instance, at the time of writing, I am deep in preparation for Worlds and will stay that way until I fly out to Berlin at the start of June. My World Latte Art Championship patterns have been set for a long time, so now my focus is on developing a consistent routine and perfecting my ability to perform these designs.

While the Fairy Rabbit design doesn’t appear in my World Latte Art Championship routine, it is a pattern I enjoy and I think many of you will too. Join me next time when I delve into one of the designs I shared on the world stage.

This article appears in the June edition of BeanScene Magazine. Subscribe HERE.


Jibbi Little’s Fairy Rabbit

fairy rabbi latte art

Step 1

Build your base with the handle at 12 o’clock. In one continuous movement, draw a C-shape from the bottom of the cup, pour a drop of milk foam below the top point, and drag it down past the bottom of the C.

fairy rabbi latte art

Step 2

Turn the handle to three o’clock. Draw a small heart at the bottom of the C with the point touching the rabbit’s body to form a tail.

fairy rabbi latte art

Step 3

Turn the handle to six o’clock. Draw a seven-leaf rosetta starting from the body. Drag and pull up along the left edge to reconnect.

fairy rabbi latte art

Step 4

Pour a second seven-leaf rosetta from where the drag meets the body to form a second wing.

fairy rabbi latte art

Step 5

Pour a seven-leaf rosetta straight across from one o’clock to 11 o’clock then drag down the centre.

fairy rabbi latte art

Step 6

Back where the upper wing meets the body, drag out a thin loop that runs half the length of the wing. Do this a second time with the same end point. This should look like the McDonald’s ‘M’ with the bottom points pressed together.

fairy rabbi latte art

Step 7

Draw a circle at the top of the body and continue to wrap to form the head. Leave an empty space for the eye. If you can, use the cunning eye technique created by 2018 World Latte Art Champion Arnon Thitiprasert.

fairy rabbi latte art

Step 8

Turn the handle to nine o’clock and finish with a dot at six o’clock representing the sun.

grind temperature extraction

How grind temperature impacts extraction

Dr Monika Fekete explores the impact of grind temperature on extraction temperature and why shots tend to speed up over time. 

Dialing in a delicious espresso shot is great way to start your day, be it at work or at home. As the day goes on, you might find that shots speed up and you need to adjust your grinder a bit finer to get the same result. It seems like your grind profile has changed. 

Does this sound like a familiar story? It might be a common observation, but to date I’m unaware of a viable explanation backed up by solid data.  Read more

coffee machines developed over time

Changing times: How coffee machines have developed over time

Maurizio Marcocci discusses how commercial coffee equipment has developed over time and the new features that will lead the industry into the future.

People have always looked for ways to make their life simpler, and technology is constantly evolving to fulfil these needs. Cars and airplanes get us where we need to go, while phones and social media connect us to friends and family overseas. Coffee machines are no different. Read more

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Sunny Queen says ‘bon appétit’ with snap-frozen French toast

Sunny Queen has released a snap-frozen French toast that fulfils the café market’s need for versatile, practical, and high-quality breakfast alternatives.

Out-of-home breakfast consumption is growing year on year in Australia, with NPD Crest placing the market’s worth at $7.4 billion in 2018. Read more

Why coffee milk bubbles

Why coffee milk bubbles and how to avoid it

Monika Fekete investigates why milk bubbles form and how they impact on coffee quality and presentation. 

Recently, I watched my coffee go cold in front of my eyes. It had been two months since I had enjoyed a proper coffee. I was looking forward to the experience as I sat at one of my favourite local cafés. However, no sooner had my coffee arrived, my newborn baby decided to test out his lung capacity and I found myself trying to calm him.  

I had hoped this situation would be a one-off, but sadly it is not. My tiny son senses precisely when his mum is about to take a moment to enjoy her coffee, and duly demands attention. Consequently, I have had the opportunity to watch rosettas getting swallowed up in bubbles that slowly appear on top of my silky flat white. Interestingly, this wasn’t always the case. Sometimes many large bubbles emerged on the surface almost immediately, sometimes the micro-foam held together even after five minutes.  Read more

grinder calibration

The basics of grinder calibration

Mocopan Coffee’s Jared Chapman explores the four variables of grinder calibration that impact over- and under-extracted coffee and why coffee is a game of constant tasting.

Taste. It’s what we’re all about in the coffee industry. Striving for that sweeter, more delicious cup of coffee. This has led to a lot of work being put into understanding the many variables that affect the flavour we end up with in the cup. With more information out there on variables like particle size distribution and total dissolved solids (TDS), it can be overwhelming for a budding barista to start to understand the basics without getting confused by all the detail. Read more

new coffee equipment

Top signs you need new coffee equipment

Maurizio Marcocci of Service Sphere discusses the differences in repairing versus replacing equipment, and how to tell when your machine is on its last legs. 

The lifespan of a coffee machine can vary greatly. So many factors come into play, including vend amount, servicing, brand, quality of machine, user error – the list goes on. 

Just like an old car ticking over in the morning or putting along on a freeway and stalling every now and then, there’s often warning signs that something’s not quite right with an old faithful machine. But how do you tell the difference between equipment that needs replacing versus repair? Read more

perception in coffee tasting

The power of perception in coffee tasting

Dr Monika Fekete investigates the role of minerals in brew water, asking whether they influence extraction or if it’s just our taste buds.

“You must realise the power that water has,” explains Yanina Ferreyra, the recently crowned Australian Specialty Coffee Association Australian Brewer’s Cup champion. Reflecting on her journey, she stresses “water plays a gigantic role, but there is much left to discover. Working with water opens up lots of questions”. Read more

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