How to improve workflow in the cafe

Barista Technology Australia explains how a suite of innovative appliances can support hospitality workers with the ultimate workflow it requires. 

With small businesses and cafés grappling with staff shortages due to the global pandemic, CEO of Barista Technology Australia Brett Bolwell says automation and devices that improve workflow and product consistency are exactly what staff need to help manage increased workload with fewer available hands.

“Democratising the barista experience is fast becoming an essential part of every café, because advanced technology makes the lives of baristas much easier,” says Brett.

“With such skill loss in the industry combined with the added responsibility of training new staff, automation tools can increase efficiency, improve consistency, reduce the likelihood of errors, and create a healthier work environment.”

Brett says quality and consistency are key reasons people frequent their favourite café, and automation is what helps achieve this no matter which barista is behind the machine.

“After the last few years of isolation, we can all appreciate moments of face-to-face interaction. But to have a profitable business, tools must offer assurance of consistent quality and therefore an insurance policy to protect your brand,” he says.

While good machinery will make a barista’s job easier, Brett says a skilled barista can always take advantage of all the functions that the machine offers.

“They understand coffee extraction and create and troubleshoot recipes. They dial in profiles. They look after the equipment, cleaning machinery and spotting problems. They’re the ones pouring and creating the latte art,” he says.

“They also provide excellent customer service, ensuring that customers are satisfied and return to the shop. They adapt to individual customers’ needs, they cross-sell and up-sell, boosting the café’s profits per transaction. Ultimately, they’re the ones creating that positive shop environment.”

To keep that level of engagement, tools such as the Puqpress automatic coffee tamper free the barista from a repetitive and, at times, laborious task of manual tamping. It ensures perfectly compressed coffee grounds and a precisely level tamp every time that improves overall espresso consistency.

“The automatic tamper is an important tool, because if you’re not an expert barista, it helps you tamp evenly, it’s useful for proficient baristas, and great for trainees,” Brett says.

“If you want perfectly tamped coffee every time, if you have lots of staff who are tamping inconsistently, or if you only have one or two staff who are tamping hundreds of times a day, then you need a Puqpress.”

To complement the Puqpress, is a range of new grind-by-weight (GBW) automated grinders, available in the Fiorenzato F64 XGi, F83 XGi, and the Mahlkonig E65S. Brett says the GBW technology offers real-time scale-controlled dosing, allowing for precise individual grinder settings that were previously never available.

“Until only a few years ago, coffee grinders mostly operated on a timed basis, such as 11-second intervals. This rarely guarantees identical weight outputs and often gives inconsistent results over continued use,” he says.

Now, with built-in scales, Fiorenzato GBW grinders will grind to an adjustable pre-set weight, reducing wastage and helping ensure consistency of coffee flavour.

“The grinders take away that process of having to weigh every shot, which is quite time consuming,” Brett says.

“The shift from timed grinding to GBW, are just further examples of evolving standards within the industry, that are helping baristas maintain consistency in every cup of coffee.”

To uphold the quality of each extraction is Flow coffee telemetry system. This technology can record the average time and weight of every pulled shot of coffee, as well as the average brew ratio.

“The Flow telemetry system shows you in a physical form if you’re adhering to the programmed recipe in real-time, providing baristas the opportunity for incredible precision,” Brett says.

“It’s these small things that are easy to forget about or get lost in a busy period. Automation is like putting a guardrail up against these issues. It’s the solution to the problem.”

To round-out the coffee-making experience is the fully automated Perfect Moose milk steamer. This device saves the barista time and accelerates their workflow without any sacrifice to the quality of the product.

“A great cup of coffee is the product of craftsmanship, and as with any craft the term ‘automation’ can be looked at with an understandable degree of scepticism, where efficiency often comes at the price of quality,” says Brett.

“However, once you’ve experienced the fully automated milk-steaming utility of the Perfect Moose, you won’t ever go back. Barista’s love it, and it’s quickly becoming an integral piece of equipment for many within the professional coffee industry.”

Where previously a barista may have stood steaming milk for 30 to 60 seconds, Perfect Moose’s automation simplifies the process entirely by doing it for them.

“This consistency also helps avoid possible human error, guaranteeing that every jug poured conforms to the same standard of quality,” Brett says.

Maintaining that standard is a common challenge shared amongst baristas, made even harder with staff shortages and the challenges of training staff, especially when short-term employment is often the nature of the barista job.

However, having high-tech machinery such as the suite of automated products such as the Puqpress, GBW grinders, Flow telemetry system and Perfect Moose, creates opportunities for a whole different range of people to do the job to a consistent and high standard.

“If anything, this technology extends a hospitality worker’s longevity in the industry, because it’s allowing the person behind the machine to spend more time engaging with customers,” he says.

With more time, baristas can focus on the most important aspect of working at a café- ensuring the customer comes back.

“When you put automation tools in play, it gives the barista more assurance that a consistent blend can be met, allowing them to focus on engaging with the customer, getting to know them, and selling more coffee,” Brett says.

The ultimate goal, he adds, is to use automation to expand a business and customer base in a manageable way.

“The goal is to grow as a leading roaster. If you don’t offer the tools to your cafés, you then run the risk of [making] mistakes and that’s the reality,” Brett says.

“It all comes down to workflow efficiency and ease of operations. Every product we bring in improves the way baristas work or increases productivity in the café.”

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This article appears in the April 2022 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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