Mocopan Coffee’s Babin Gurung on how to effectively train a new barista to texture milk and build confidence in their ability to perform a perfect pour.
As confident as you are in your barista role, teaching someone new the basics of coffee making can be a challenge. Something like milk texturing may come second nature to you, but for a beginner, it might sound like rocket science. That’s why knowing something and teaching it are two very different skill sets. An experienced barista needs to have both. Read more
Jibbi Little shares a challenging penguin latte art design with a lot of character and two happy feet.
From the whimsical movie Happy Feet showing one penguin’s desire to dance, to Morgan Freeman’s majestic voice narrating the sometimes harsh March of the Penguins, the flightless birds have captivated people’s imaginations with their unique look, behaviour, and habitats.
Though both these films follow the huge emperor penguins of Antarctica, Australia has a native species of its own, the fairy or little penguins. Victoria’s Phillip Island is best known for its little penguin population, as is Western Australia’s Penguin Island, home to 1000 pairs of penguins during winter that featured in a movie of its own, Oddball, in 2015.
The penguin is a popular latte art design, but for my version, I’m going to get the scene and add a little extra detail. This pattern is complex and may prove difficult for beginners. It requires a good understanding of spacing to ensure the penguin looks right when the body connects with the wings.
You’ll also need to understand how one technique will affect the look of another, such as pouring through the hearts in step one to draw the branch.
A high level of proficiency is also needed to master the different sized and shaped rosettas, thickening your pour when moving from the body to the face, and the cunning eye technique used to provide the design with its character.
Getting the right shape for the face, eye, and beak will also likely take quite a bit of work to perfect.
This fairy penguin design is definitely a challenge, but the reward is the look on your customers’ faces when you reward them with a delicious coffee and equally impressive-looking latte art of a feathered, fluffy friend.
This article appears in the December 2019 edition of BeanScene Magazine. Subscribe HERE.
Jibbi Little’s Little Penguin
With the handle at 12 o’clock, pour four small hearts from six to three o’clock, pulling through on the last heart to form a branch.
Pour a nine-leaf rosetta from where this branch ends to roughly nine o’clock, then pull through.
Turn the handle to three o’clock. Pour a five-leaf rosetta from the centre of the cup to the handle, then pull back through along the side, forming the first wing.
Near the bottom heart of the first branch, pour a horizontal seven-leaf rosetta to the edge of the cup, forming the ground.
Just to the left of the centre of the cup, pour a five-leaf rosetta, ending just before touching the ground. Then, pull back up along the side, forming a second wing.
To create the body, start with a small heart just above the ground, pointing inwards. Pour a backwards question mark shape beginning from the bottom that connects both wings and ends with the loop above them.
In the same motion but with a thicker foam, use the cunning eye technique to fill in the face and draw the eye. Pull through along the bottom to form a beak.
Drop a small amount of foam below the second wing to form the tail, another larger drop to fill the body, and a small drop at one o’clock to form the moon.
Mocopan Coffee’s Kyle Rutten on opening a café, and why it’s more important than ever to understand your market and stand out from the crowd.
The modern café market is a very dynamic one. While there are many simple yet successful cafés operating today, it’s not as easy as it once was to get people through the door. Once upon a time a simple window sign that read “coffee” with a large lurking coffee machine in the background was all you needed to attract a crowd. Today it’s about more than just the caffeine kick. Customers want the story, the flavour, and the trust that the person making their coffee is excellent at it, and a great environment to experience it in. We want it all.Read more
Mocopan Coffee’s Babin Gurung on what causes bitterness in coffee and how to avoid it.
As a barista, one of the most common complaints you get from customers is that their coffee tastes bitter or burnt. As happy as you are to remake the coffee, you need to know what’s causing the problem, otherwise you’ll be serving the same bad-tasting coffee.Read more
What great latte art you have. All the better to drink you with. Jibbi Little presents her take on a classic fable.
The story of Little Red Riding Hood always stuck with me as a child.
Most people know the basics: a young girl goes to visit her grandmother, takes a shortcut through the woods, and encounters the Big Bad Wolf. She tells the hungry canine where she’s going, who beats her there and impersonates her grandmother. In most versions of the story, the wolf then eats Little Red Riding Hood.
The moral for children is to not talk to strangers, though I see a second lesson hidden in the beginning. Whether on a trip to a relative or learning a skill like latte art, shortcuts are rarely the best way to go about things and often don’t pay off in the long run.
Hard work does, however, and it took me to the World Latte Art Championship earlier this year. But that didn’t happen overnight. It was a long journey and Little Red Riding Hood reminded me why not to take the easy route.
Inspired by this classic fable, I presented this design at the 2019 Central Region Latte Art Championship, and it provided the base for the Mary Poppins pattern I took to the national and world championships.
Though the pattern looks complex, it’s actually made using several simple techniques. The true difficulty in this design lies in achieving the correct size and spacing to land that visual appeal.
If the rosettas making the hair are uneven, or the long drag forming the hood is too thin, the pattern simply won’t look right. Because these are easy mistakes to make, it can also be tough to repeat the design time after time.
The easiest way to master this pattern – like many things in life – is to practice, stay on the correct path, and don’t mistake a wolf for your grandmother.
This article appears in the October 2019 edition of BeanScene Magazine. Subscribe HERE.
Jibbi Little’s Little Red Riding Hood
Build your base with the handle at two o’clock.
At eight o’clock, drag two small loops to form a hollow heart pointing towards the centre of the cup.
Pour an eight-leaf rosetta from the centre of the cup to the bottom and pull through.
Pour a second rosetta from the centre of the cup to 10 o’clock.
From here, drag a line across the top of the cup curving in around two o’clock and ending with a small spiral. This should resemble a question mark.
Pour a figure eight shape in the space between this last line and the rosetta.
On other side of rosetta, from the point you started the question mark, drag a short line ending with a curve at nine o’clock, then another from here to the point of the heart.
After seeing too many backyard repairs performed incorrectly or dangerously, Maurizio Marcocci of Service Sphere stresses when do-it-yourself maintenance is acceptable and when it’s not.
With the rise in popularity of commercial and home coffee machines, the team at Service Sphere has seen an immense spike in backyarders attempting repairs and end users having a go themselves.Read more
Mocopan Coffee’s Babin Gurung on what coffee strength means and how to achieve it.
During my barista hustling days, customers often told me they liked their coffee strong. I had no problem adjusting to customers’ needs, but found many people had different ideas of what “strong” meant. Some of the things strength commonly referred to was more caffeine, darker roast, or sometimes, just bitter coffee. These ideas aren’t necessarily wrong, but here in the coffee world, when we say “strong”, we mean the strength of flavours contained in an espresso.Read more