Mocopan Coffee’s Babin Gurung on correct tamping techniques to achieve consistent espresso extractions.
Correct tamping is one of the most understated skills necessary for even extraction. How hard you should tamp, whether it matters, and the future of automatic tampers still sparks conversation behind the coffee bar. Tamping is important for even extraction, but the difference of ideas come around the technique involved. Over the years, I have seen, heard, and read about various tamping techniques and found some work better than the others. Read more
Dr. Monika Fekete discovers why coffee grinds become coarser when the grinder heats up and how it changes the speed of espresso extraction.
Ice, fresh, cold milk, and a perfectly balanced espresso shot are the key ingredients to a delicious iced latte over the summer months. The warm, balmy nights might give you a head-start waking up your machine and grinder from their slumber. But as the day goes on, your perfectly dialled-in shots will speed up and you will need to adjust your grinder a bit finer.Read more
Jibbi Little sticks her neck out with a latte art pattern that puts the humble giraffe in the spotlight.
When thinking of new patterns, animals are an easy and reliable source of inspiration.
From cute koalas to majestic eagles, there’s no shortage of unique critters that can make a pattern stand out from the crowd. Not only are there hundreds of animals to base a pattern on, there’s an infinite number of ways they can be realised.
You could tell two latte artists to draw you a fish and receive wildly different designs. Think of the hundreds of swans and dozens of butterflies that have flown across latte art competition benches.
With its long neck, skinny legs, and distinctive facial features, the giraffe is another animal with endless potential.
I presented this pattern at the Australian Specialty Coffee Association 2020 Central Region Pauls Professional Latte Art Championship as part of a Safari Tour theme, also including a penguin (see BeanScene December 2019) and a kangaroo. These patterns put the animals in their natural habitat, using trees, leaves, and the sun to set the scene and capture the imagination.
The aim of this set was to combine multiple old-school techniques to create something new. Rosettas are used to add texture to the mane of the giraffe and leaves of the trees. A different technique is used for the leaf on the left to add variety. Arnon Thitiprasert’s cunning eye technique is employed to give the giraffe a soft, serene expression. Finally, dragging and dropping techniques are used to fill in the simpler details that make the pattern pop.
Listing these components may make the design sound easy but bringing them all together is not. It will take practice and patience to perfect the techniques, spacing, and pattern. But once those willing to invest the time and effort master the design, they’ll be feeling as tall as a giraffe.
This article appears in the December 2019 edition of BeanScene Magazine. Subscribe HERE.
Jibbi Little’s Giraffe
Build your base with the handle at 12 o’clock. Opposite the handle, pour two connected S shapes then pull through. This should resemble two hearts.
Along the rim from 11 to 2 o’clock, pour a 10-leaf rosetta. From the same starting point, pour a seven-leaf rosetta that connects again with the first, forming an oval.
Drag a line through from the bottom of the oval through the top. Drag a second line on top of this one, forming a T or pickaxe shape.
Pour a seven-leaf rosetta from the middle of the cup to three o’clock. Near the bottom of this rosetta, pour three small drops of foam, pulling up as they land to create small arrow shapes.
From the top of the latest rosetta, drag a line down across the other side of the drops.
Turn the handle to three o’clock. At the top of the rosetta from step 4, pour a small loop, then pull up. From the same starting point, drag slightly to the left then pull up again.
From the point you pulled up, drag further to the left, ending near where the first leaf starts. Drag back, curving halfway along the line to create a P shape for the face. In the same movement, use the cunning eye technique to fill in the face and create the eye.
Finish with a drop of foam for the sun between the giraffe and the right tree.
Maurizio Marcocci of Service Sphere discusses the evolution of coffee grinders as they keep up with advancements in brewing.
In the 20th century, the coffee industry experienced an evolution from percolator-style to the drip method of coffee brewing. Now in the 21st century, we are seeing the development of pods, capsules, and other sophisticated brewing technologies around the world. Read more
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