Nestlé Professional has a wealth of knowledge and expertise to share with its audience, on both hot and cold coffee segments. National Barista Trainer and Beverage Advisor, Joanna “Jo” Yuen, discusses with BeanScene how that’s shared with Australian cafés and baristas.
Every café owner wants to make the best coffee possible and run the most successful business, and Nestlé Professional is determined to help them do that.
From supplying coffee and equipment to providing business support and consumer insights, Nestlé Professional is a total beverage solutions provider, making Nestlé’s more than 150 years of global experience accessible to Australian cafés and coffee shops.
But its international scope doesn’t stop Nestlé Professional from embracing the local market with its coffee brands including the bespoke The Roaster Guy, the timeless Buondi, and the classic Nescafé whole roasted beans, all roasted in Gympie, Queensland.
In particular, what ties Nestlé Professional’s many services together is the training and education it offers to customers.
Nestlé Professional Barista Trainer Joanna “Jo” Yuen has more than a decade of experience in the coffee industry. Starting as a café all-rounder, she has worked with different leading roasters and coffee suppliers, building her skills as she went.
“With anything in life, practice makes perfect. I’ve been practicing for 10 years and am still learning on a daily basis,” Jo says.
Previously managing the café within Nestlé’s head office, Jo’s ability to run a successful café reflected her skills in coffee making. Most importantly, her focus on customer service made her a stand out personality in the office, and a familiar face to all.
It was this level of dedication and passion for the job that Nestlé Professional hoped Jo could share as its Barista Trainer.
“It’s about having that personal touch – remember the name, remember the order, and make it fun and engaging. A barista can be the most important person to setting your day off right in the morning,” Jo says.
She takes a similar approach to training as she does customer service. Jo says making trainings engaging, and easy to understand, enhances the learning experience and efficiency.
“We’ll go through the theory – the bean to cup journey and sustainability – but to make it a little more fun, I emphasise a more hands-on approach,” she says.
“I’m the kind of person who learns things quicker when I see and touch, and I find that it’s very similar for many other baristas.”
When hosting a training session, Jo prefers small groups where students are less intimidated and more likely to ask questions. It also creates a more intimate setting where students can bond and engage with one another while practicing their coffee making.
“What better way to learn than from each other?” Jo asks.
While tamping and milk texturing are important skills required from baristas, Jo says the most common mistakes people make revolve around the simplest parts of coffee making. These can be easily avoided by revisiting fundamentals such as maintaining a clean machine.
“We’ve all been to a café where the coffee has the most beautiful latte art, but when you go to drink it, it’s over- or under-extracted, or it’s bitter because the machine wasn’t cleaned properly. It’s important to remember that beauty comes from within, not just the outside,” she says.
Even the most experienced baristas can slip on the basics. They may be able to make coffee quickly and efficiently, but that doesn’t mean they can do it consistently, or leave a good impression on the customer.
“We’re all in the customer service space and I think a lot of baristas, even if they have the skill, forget the importance of it,” Jo says.
“The customer always comes first, so no matter how particular their order and their request, we need to be accommodating. A coffee order is a personal choice. Ultimately, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to have a coffee, so that needs to be respected.”
At Nestlé Professional, training and education means more than just running barista classes. It encompasses a full spectrum of offerings to café businesses, ranging from technical to operational and commercial support. Its purpose is to equip and empower café owners to do more with their coffee offering.
“We make sure we operationally train operators whenever an equipment is placed on site. By showing them what the machine is meant to do, how to maintain it, and how to get the best use out of it, it helps them take a bit of ownership on the solution as well,” Jo says.
“It’s also very important to be supported by the right marketing message and commercial offerings, to entice consumers to purchase and increase your rate of repeat purchase. Our marketing team will gladly help on this front.”
Because of COVID-19, the team has recognised the dramatic employment movements within hospitality staffing. With baristas joining and leaving the industry, the need for training was evident to ensure consistency of service. Since Jo has been limited in how she can carry out training classes, Nestlé Professional put together a barista refresher video that breaks down her usual coffee training classes into easy-to-digest sections.
“Despite going virtual and navigating this challenging environment, education is as important as ever,” Jo says.
“For many businesses, there’s an opportunity to use this downtime to upskill before it gets back to normal.”
The company also shares insights into coffee and consumer trends from around the world onto their digital platforms. These online resources cover many of the difficult aspects of café operations, whether that be touching on dairy alternatives and the recent dalgona coffee craze, or how to boost workplace staff morale and harness the power of digital marketing.
Like education, sustainability is another value that pierces through the services Nestlé Professional offers the café industry. The Australasian Recycling Label will start to appear on the packaging of Nestlé Professional products, with some products featuring the Rainforest Alliance certification and others being a part of the Nescafé Plan. Globally, Nestlé has also committed to making all of its packaging reusable or recyclable by 2025.
Going into 2021, the coffee industry is in a very different place to this time last year, and it will be important to keep evolving.
Nestlé Professional’s The Roaster Guy and Buondi brands will undergo a brand refresh with a new look and feel, while its Nescafé Nitro Cold Brew system will meet demand from a growing market. To succeed, Jo says it’s essential that cafés and coffee shops continue to grow, adapt and upskill.
“We’ll continue to incorporate feedback to make our trainings even better and more accessible to our customers,” she says.
“With Nestlé’s longstanding history, we support our customers’ success in their business by finding and partnering them up with the right solutions, backed with the support they need. We have a lot of exciting plans and innovations in store for 2021, so we are certainly looking forward to sharing those with you – stay tuned for more from Nestlé Professional.”
For more information, visit www.nestleprofessionalbeverages.com.au
This article appears in the December 2020 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.