attended the Seattle Coffeefest for the the first time ever (loved it!) and learned A LOT.. but would like someone to set things straight about making a cappuccino because i had a semi-argument with my co-manager about what the "standard" procedure should be for making a capp (for training purposes). AAARGH! we were taught the wet & dry.. and i've had customers try the new (proper) way for making the wet capp as we were taught, and i've found that my customers love it. but my co-manager is insisting that his understanding is that there are 3 types of capps.. a "regular" way, and the wet & dry being the extremes. HEEEEELP! he's driving me crazy! i just want things to be simple, and not give customers THREE DIFFERENT OPTIONS!

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Selina-

Lots of good thoughts going around here. I didn't get a chance to read through the thread since I'm pretty busy getting ready to open a restaurant in a few weeks but here is my thought:

"There is no right/wrong."

It's a nice thought but there certainly is a "wrong" way of doing things - and that is the way that goes against the standards set for your shop. Standards. Your shop should have them. In my situation, I have the luxury (and my baristas have the task) of setting the standards that I see fit. I set the standards from the way they dose and distribute, to the way they position the demitasse spoons on the saucers to the way they build the drinks. Standards. We must have them. You must have them. Figure them out and then set them up.

Having a co-managers that disagree on standards is a poor recipe. Is your boss setting a standard or just leaving it up to the two of you to develop the program willy nilly?

In your situation you'll probably have to compromise but push for quality. Sounds like you're on the path to quality, now it's time for you to figure out a way to get your co-manager on board and upholding the same standards.

That's the hard part. Good luck.
Hi Jay,

You definitely hit that nail on the head. I've realized that setting "standards" is really important, and that is actually the main thing I'm working on right now. Agreeing on standards for measurements (ingredients) and methods -- to ensure consistency (a main problem at the shop) in everything we all do as a team.. that is my main goal right now.

I really appreciate all the advice i've been getting from this discussion -- i realize it may be a redundant topic to many of you.. but SERIOUSLY, i thank all of you for schooling the newbie ;) we have a lot to learn, but this website is so amazing, and so are all of the members. one of the reasons i have come to love being in this industry is because of the people, and the capacity for learning.

Jay Caragay said:
Selina-

Lots of good thoughts going around here. I didn't get a chance to read through the thread since I'm pretty busy getting ready to open a restaurant in a few weeks but here is my thought:

"There is no right/wrong."

It's a nice thought but there certainly is a "wrong" way of doing things - and that is the way that goes against the standards set for your shop. Standards. Your shop should have them. In my situation, I have the luxury (and my baristas have the task) of setting the standards that I see fit. I set the standards from the way they dose and distribute, to the way they position the demitasse spoons on the saucers to the way they build the drinks. Standards. We must have them. You must have them. Figure them out and then set them up.

Having a co-managers that disagree on standards is a poor recipe. Is your boss setting a standard or just leaving it up to the two of you to develop the program willy nilly?

In your situation you'll probably have to compromise but push for quality. Sounds like you're on the path to quality, now it's time for you to figure out a way to get your co-manager on board and upholding the same standards.

That's the hard part. Good luck.
hey mavin, i agree.. it's just that, we also serve food at the cafe and already ask too many questions as it is.. i just want the ordering of coffee to be as simple as possible, but i'd also like to be able to educate our customers as well.

Mavin said:
hi Selina , it is good to give customers options as they might not know wat types of cappucinos are there.
after all, we are baristas and talking is another thing we do best.
i always let my customers try my favourite type of capp, which is.......
- 50% foam and 50% milk. but the foam is very wet, sometimes make customers wonder isit a latte at 1st.
i actually DID open and was SOUND ASLEEP when this was posted. ;)

thanks for all that's been said on this thread, i'm really trying to take it all in!

Brady said:
Now go make great coffee. Unless you opened this morning, in which case go take a nap.
Thanks for the recommendation on temperature. Over 150 begins cooking out the milk's sweetness. Micro-bubbles, sweet milk, balanced with espresso....ahhhhh.

Sarah Dooley said:
I hear you Selina! It is not an easy task. I would say that you are in an interesting situation because your co-manager is used to one way and you are evolving. Neither is wrong but growth is important especially in regards to keeping things simple.
I would love to share with you what I have taught as a barista trainer. I don't know what you learned at coffee fest but I do teach, and this was probably similar; If a customer orders an in house small 4-6 oz cappuccino that is really the only time it can be a close to a proportioned drink of espresso, milk and silky foam. It is really up to the barista to look for the body language or facial expressions that we so often do in order to customize the beverage for him or her. This is the crucial point where you can retain their business for years if you make them feel individual, special and worth your time- If I notice any of the warning signs I will politely ask, how was it? Only once in all my coffee-dom has someone wanted me to change the recipe and her reply was "great beverage, I like mine a little dryer." Her name is Jen and she is still my customer today. In my lifetime of making coffee and specifically before the I was trained in the specialty coffee industry I always steamed cap foam big, loud and gross. When I entered the specialty coffee workforce nine years ago I really took a step back and learned before I went forward. The proportioned drink that I was building was confusing, if the customer ordered a 20 oz beverage the engineering of the drink just did not come together. Very rarely you get a 5-6 shot beverage with specific instructions on 6 oz of foam and 6-8 more of milk...you know?
So I learned the art of translation, to make a long story short. We prepare all our drinks the same way, silky-with tiny bubbles more then likely no more then 150 degrees (unless requested) and latte art to top. this is for all beverages in house or to go and the final texture of the milk is like heavy cream. Just the right density for the crema. Of course the customer can order it another way and sometimes they do. So when I here back to back orders of 16 cap, or 16 oz. latte- I am making the same drink. I have found when I give my customers the options - dry, wet, no foam that it gets confusing. In fact I get more confusion and frustrated responses on that then just serving one standard beverage. Beverages should always be executed with the up most care and precision for this equation to work in your benefit. Quality and Consistency between beverages and also from barista to barista is very big key to success.

hope this helps, sorry its so long

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