How Barista Group helps cafés solve their workflow problems

Lumos Café

BeanScene chats to some of Barista Group’s key café partners about why they love collaborating with the Australian equipment distributor.

Selecting the right coffee equipment supplier is an important choice for any café owner to make, with margins, workflow, customer satisfaction, and more on the line if the wrong decision is made.

For Lumos Café Owner Lynn Hu, partnering with Australian distributor Barista Group in 2020 solved many of the issues she was facing.

“At the time, there was a serious labour shortage in the hospitality industry and we were struggling to keep up with demand. We started looking for high-quality equipment that could replace human labour,” says Lynn.

“We had tried working with other distributor brands, but the quality of equipment wasn’t stable and needed regular maintenance. Then we found the Übermilk [automatic milk frother] through Barista Group and realised what an asset it was. It steams milk better than the average barista and made our lives a lot easier.”

Rather than using steam to heat and texture milk, Übermilk syphons the desired volume of milk from the refrigerator into an aerator, where a needle valve controls how much air is incorporated into the milk. The milk then runs through a high-power heater and filter, resulting in micro-foamed milk dispensing direct from the nozzle.

“As opposed to hand steaming, where there’s often wastage in the jug, with the Übermilk you only dispense the milk needed,” Lynn says.

“Übermilk takes away the worry of whether your staff are burning or under steaming the milk. It also attracts better quality baristas; when I’m hiring and a barista sees we have an Übermilk, it excites them because they know the burden of watching milk steam isn’t on them.”

After the success of Übermilk, Lynn started looking at the other products Barista Group offered. It wasn’t long before she also saw the Tone Touch 03 single serve brewer as a “must-have”. The Tone Touch 03 features an intelligent recipe development system, which enables 100 per cent customisation of coffee beverages, including the ability to vary product, volume, flow, strength, and temperature.

It also offers controlled agitation, programmable flow rates, and detailed adjustment of pulse patterns at different stages of brewing (blooming, turbulence, and development). The boilerless standalone brewing system channels brew water through a highly innovative heating element that eliminates the need for a traditional heating phase.

“The barista can easily adjust brew recipes to profile a range of coffee beverages by varying temperature, brew time, and a host of other parameters. The brewer has all the operational capability to take the modern brew bar to the next level,” Lynn says.

“Both the Übermilk and Tone Touch 03 can stand on their own, but together they create an extremely efficient workflow.”
Lynn says Barista Group also provides support by improving her barista workstation and constantly upgrading equipment.

“Whenever we install new products, Barista Group will help us set up the machine and give us a very detailed introduction of how to use it. They’ll even suggest where we should put it in the café to improve our workflow,” she says.

“They also update their product line continually to include the latest models. I first bought the original Izaga Key without the scale inside. After just one or two years, they had upgraded the machine to the grind-by-weight version. This has helped me save one kilogram of coffee a day, as it each shot is weighed out and distributes the exact amount of coffee needed.”

Botero Coffee is another partner that appreciates the service and quality Barista Group provides.

“Two years ago, I met [Barista Group General Manager] Joe Chalhoub at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo and was keen to check out the Markibar Izaga W grind-by-weight coffee grinder. He provided all the useful information we needed to get on board and we’ve been working together ever since,” says Botero General Manager Jayc Salter.

Botero Coffee
Image: Botero Coffee

Designed for efficient workflow, the Izaga W grinder combines practicality and functionality in two operating modes, Instant Dose and Grind on Demand. In Instant Dose mode, the grinder delivers an instant grind-by-weight dose, eliminating the need for baristas to weigh doses, saving up to seven seconds per espresso drink. The Izaga’s traditional setting Grind on Demand caters to off-peak periods.

“The grinder’s innovative grind-by-weight technology with instant scale-controlled dosing guarantees maximum consistency and quality in all coffees, without barista adjustment,” says Jayc.

According to Jayc, the Izaga delivers constant doses despite changing the grinding point, which can be altered to finer or coarser without affecting the coffee dose delivered to the filter.

“It also isn’t affected by natural burr wear and tear, changing the type of coffee used in the grinder, or environmental factors like temperature, humidity, or sunlight,” he says.

Jayc was blown away by the service and attention to detail he experienced when visiting the Barista Group headquarters in Sydney, New South Wales.

“Joe spent the day with our technicians explaining the inner workings of the grinder. We loved seeing the workshop and appreciated the personalised service. We’re located in a rural area, so it’s nice to know I can shoot him a text and he’ll always reply straight away, whether I have a simple question about the machine or need a spare part. Anything we need, Barista Group has us covered,” he says.

“Usually company higher-ups don’t get involved in small tasks like that, but Joe is hands on and immerses himself in the business.”

Little Italy Coffee Roasters Owner Adam Bortz is another partner of Barista Group that views the company as more than just an equipment supplier.

“The team at Barista Group don’t just sell us machines, they actually give us suggestions about what equipment could ease our workload and take on board market feedback. This has encouraged us to purchase more and more equipment from them and is why we started using the Izaga W grind-by-weight grinder,” says Adam.

Adam has worked with Barista Group for five years due to the distributor’s reliable and competitively priced equipment.

“Joe told us to test out the Izaga W before giving us a tutorial on how it worked. We trialled it in one of our cafés on Christmas Day, which is always busy. I think we did 1000 coffees in six or seven hours. When I saw what the Izaga did for our workflow, efficiency, and the consistency of the coffee, I was sold straightaway,” says Adam.

“The following month I bought 10 to 15 Izaga W grinders for our café customers. The ease of training the grinder offered, especially for cafés outside of Sydney that we didn’t have the ability to see on a weekly basis, was amazing. The simplicity of the grinder empowers our baristas and gives them confidence in the consistency of our coffee.”

Adam says working in such a dynamic, fast-paced industry requires constant equipment updates and insider knowledge, which is what Barista Group provides.

“Working with someone like Joe who always has his finger on the pulse builds loyalty with us. For example, a few of our customers told us they didn’t like the Izaga stepped collar. Six months after we mentioned it to Joe, the new Izaga W models no longer included stepped. That close relationship is super important to us,” he says.

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This article appears in the June 2024 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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