I mean all your production shots even when slammed or not. I got busted by a regular today. I'd just pulled myself a dopio and quaffed it when a couple regulars who work next door stopped in for their afternoon Americanos. Two 12oz dopio Americanos coming right up! Ground and pulled the first, it looked just like the one I'd quaffed. Handed him his 'cano while another dopio pulling for 2nd 'cano. Now I almost always smell the shots, almost always! Didn't the first and did the second. And he busted me and asked "did you smell my shot!" Man did I feel low. I apologized telling him I'd just pulled myself a shot and it was spot on and his pulled identically first by build feel and then by timing and shot look but I should have smelled it. I asked how it tasted, he said excellent as always so sort of off the hook but not really.

Trust me, that won't happen again. If you smell your shots as part of your quality control customers will notice. And they'll notice when/if you don't!

Heck it's sometimes fun joking with customers after smelling their shot and then telling them something like "sorry, that smells too good so I'll have to drink it and pull you another one", then of course continuing building their drink if it's not a straight shot of course. I've yet to actually drink a customers shot. But I have a few customers I think I will actually do it one of these days just for kicks. We're on good enough terms they'll get a laugh out of it. I hope. If not they'll just complain to the owner. (Wait, oh no, that's me:-)

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man, great....
i was thinking that is something wrong with me...
im always smelling shots, but mine only...not costumers ones...(while im making a shot for someone at some time, one i have for my self...i hate to have espresso on my own)
and costumers like to see me to have control over shots, they dont say right away, but the rumor is going around and people know me for that, for quality control!!! it was going so fur away and around my town of 1.5mil people that people from playboy-croatian printout, were writing about me on two pages how im smelling each espresso and putting them into my brain catalog and doing so much for coffee in general etc...
every single detail that we do, its comming back to us in such a nice and strange ways...
stay honest to you and your job as a barista!!!! and God will be with us!
VIVABARISTA!
I appreciate your desire to monitor all your shots, but putting your nose to a customers shot seems to be borderline unsanitary.

Still, that's great that you're customers are aware of your routine: it's good to be held to our own standards.
Heath Henley said:
I appreciate your desire to monitor all your shots, but putting your nose to a customers shot seems to be borderline unsanitary.

Still, that's great that you're customers are aware of your routine: it's good to be held to our own standards.
Nothing unsanitary about it, unless maybe exhaling instead of inhaling. Check your health codes. Do you think Chef's don't smell and taste what leaves their kitchens? People talk about treating coffee as culinary, quality control is a huge part of any culinary endeavor. A shot cannot be judged soley on how it looks.
I kind of feel the same. It isn't against code, but I don't really want your nose in my shot. Chefs use clean utensils, that is the difference. I say watch your flow and taste a shot every 40min or so. Trust yourself and your roaster and keep you boogers to your self. :-)

Heath Henley said:
I appreciate your desire to monitor all your shots, but putting your nose to a customers shot seems to be borderline unsanitary.
Still, that's great that you're customers are aware of your routine: it's good to be held to our own standards.
Sanitary or not, it is not appealing to the customer to see you sniff their drink. A chef usually tastes behind closed doors, or in a way that is sensitive to the customer's view of the food. Culinary products are not only supposed to TASTE good, but LOOK good as well. The presentation of a product, especially a wonderful shot of espresso, is very VERY important. The aroma of a shot is one of the best resources we have for analysizing a shot. But, if the espresso is pulling well, do you need to analyze it so intensly. I would certainly say no!! I will qualify by saying this, if you were to compete in the USBC and smell your bevs before serving them to the judges, how do you think they would score you. Customer service is key!!
agree with...
smelling shots just for your self and in your own cup, to share that knowledge with others is great, so smell it, tell the costumer what they should feel and smell ant thats the key...
thats the point of tasting espresso, to be able to explain to costumers why you are smelling and what you smell...crema, color, body...everything...not shaken but in the cup waiting for costumer...
vivabarista!
Joe Marrocco said:
Sanitary or not, it is not appealing to the customer to see you sniff their drink. A chef usually tastes behind closed doors, or in a way that is sensitive to the customer's view of the food. Culinary products are not only supposed to TASTE good, but LOOK good as well. The presentation of a product, especially a wonderful shot of espresso, is very VERY important. The aroma of a shot is one of the best resources we have for analysizing a shot. But, if the espresso is pulling well, do you need to analyze it so intensly. I would certainly say no!! I will qualify by saying this, if you were to compete in the USBC and smell your bevs before serving them to the judges, how do you think they would score you. Customer service is key!!
Jesse -D-> said:
I kind of feel the same. It isn't against code, but I don't really want your nose in my shot. Chefs use clean utensils, that is the difference. I say watch your flow and taste a shot every 40min or so. Trust yourself and your roaster and keep you boogers to your self. :-)
Heath Henley said:
I appreciate your desire to monitor all your shots, but putting your nose to a customers shot seems to be borderline unsanitary.
Still, that's great that you're customers are aware of your routine: it's good to be held to our own standards.

Ditto. Smell is a nice way of non-destructively evaluating your shot quality, but I'd say this is an every couple of shot "audit" step. The question I have for Mike - do you ever reject a shot that looked great for smelling bad? In other words, how many sub-par espressos do you catch by sniffing that you'd otherwise have served?
Maybe your customers would be offended but I've had zero complaints in 18 months and my more knowedgeable customers openly appreciate the attention to quality. Indeed customer service is key, and part of the service is coffee education, and part of education is answering if a novice customer asked why we smell our shots.

As far as smelling your shots in competition I've been through judging qualifications and am 99.99% sure there is nada against smelling your shots. Would be important if you smelled one shot to then smell them all for consistency.

Brady, don't find many shots that are bad from smelling but have tossed a few here and there.

Trust my roaster? That's silly. An exquiste roast of an exquisite bean or blend can be pulled like crap. Even if pulled well ever hear of a stinker or quaker bean? They can sometimes slip through in roast production and just one bad bean can destroy a cup. Smell will find it. But yes more or less I trust my roaster. I should. I am he.

Everyone is free to set their standards however they see fit. I choose to set mine rather high.

Joe Marrocco said:
Sanitary or not, it is not appealing to the customer to see you sniff their drink. A chef usually tastes behind closed doors, or in a way that is sensitive to the customer's view of the food. Culinary products are not only supposed to TASTE good, but LOOK good as well. The presentation of a product, especially a wonderful shot of espresso, is very VERY important. The aroma of a shot is one of the best resources we have for analysizing a shot. But, if the espresso is pulling well, do you need to analyze it so intensly. I would certainly say no!! I will qualify by saying this, if you were to compete in the USBC and smell your bevs before serving them to the judges, how do you think they would score you. Customer service is key!!
You are right, there is no rule that says, "does not smell shots." But, I assure you that you would have a massive reduction in points on barista skill, and presentation. Just saying,... how many of the top shops have been to and seen the barista stick his nose in your cup? Big zero. If you did it to my shot, there would be a complaint.



miKe mcKoffee aka Mike McGinness said:
Maybe your customers would be offended but I've had zero complaints in 18 months and my more knowedgeable customers openly appreciate the attention to quality. Indeed customer service is key, and part of the service is coffee education, and part of education is answering if a novice customer asked why we smell our shots.

As far as smelling your shots in competition I've been through judging qualifications and am 99.99% sure there is nada against smelling your shots. Would be important if you smelled one shot to then smell them all for consistency.

Brady, don't find many shots that are bad from smelling but have tossed a few here and there.

Trust my roaster? That's silly. An exquiste roast of an exquisite bean or blend can be pulled like crap. Even if pulled well ever hear of a stinker or quaker bean? They can sometimes slip through in roast production and just one bad bean can destroy a cup. Smell will find it. But yes more or less I trust my roaster. I should. I am he.

Everyone is free to set their standards however they see fit. I choose to set mine rather high.

Joe Marrocco said:
Sanitary or not, it is not appealing to the customer to see you sniff their drink. A chef usually tastes behind closed doors, or in a way that is sensitive to the customer's view of the food. Culinary products are not only supposed to TASTE good, but LOOK good as well. The presentation of a product, especially a wonderful shot of espresso, is very VERY important. The aroma of a shot is one of the best resources we have for analysizing a shot. But, if the espresso is pulling well, do you need to analyze it so intensly. I would certainly say no!! I will qualify by saying this, if you were to compete in the USBC and smell your bevs before serving them to the judges, how do you think they would score you. Customer service is key!!
I would just like to say that the customer has no way of knowing whether you are inhaling or exhaling, so they could very well perceive this as unsanitary whether it actually is or not.

Personally I would find it rather unsettling. I do not want to see something that I am about to ingest that close to somebody else's mouth and nose. But that's just my personal preference.

miKe mcKoffee aka Mike McGinness said:
Heath Henley said:
I appreciate your desire to monitor all your shots, but putting your nose to a customers shot seems to be borderline unsanitary.

Still, that's great that you're customers are aware of your routine: it's good to be held to our own standards.
Nothing unsanitary about it, unless maybe exhaling instead of inhaling. Check your health codes. Do you think Chef's don't smell and taste what leaves their kitchens? People talk about treating coffee as culinary, quality control is a huge part of any culinary endeavor. A shot cannot be judged soley on how it looks.
One more note: Even though the espresso is at a temp that is high enough to kill whatever bacteria may possibly reach it from your face, the demitasse is not.

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