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
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.
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
Build your base with the cup handle positioned at three o’clock.
To start the body, pour a C-shape beginning three quarters down the middle of the cup and end near seven o’clock.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.Read more
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Pour a second seven-leaf rosetta from where the drag meets the body to form a second wing.
Pour a seven-leaf rosetta straight across from one o’clock to 11 o’clock then drag down the centre.
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.
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.
Turn the handle to nine o’clock and finish with a dot at six o’clock representing the sun.
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