Thoughts on Grinders and Machines for waste..training..wonderful Espresso

I would like to tap the vast resources to make informed equipment purchases. I would like to know how people rationalize buying technology (ie fully automatic machines) and grinders to deliver top quality product while also controlling espresso waste and staff training.

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J F, 

 

I think the premise of your question is wrong, and may answer itself. They rationalize buying fully automatic machines to control waste and training, not to deliver top quality product!

 

also, change your "expresso" to espresso or you may get run out of town;)

 

Phil

Thanks Phil 

Sleepy eyes...but it's no excuse. What I really want is a quality product first followed by training them waste 

It's going to be much harder to train your entire staff how to stay on top of maintenance, cleaning and re-calibration of a super automatic machine than it's going to be to train a trainer.  Invest heavily in someone who will be with you for the long haul.  

Whether the investment is your time and talents or your money to send the trainer to somewhere like the ABC (or bring someone in) will be up to you.  

 

This is always a better route than dumbing it down for everyone with a super auto.

 

As far as "What machine is best?" there is no answer... it depends on your situation.  For reliable machines simply do a search on this site. 

 

-bry

The short answer is that there is no logical rationalization for buying fully automatic machines unless quality is an afterthought.  

 

Truly consistent quality comes from baristas, not machinery.  It is infinitely more valuable to invest heavily into the skill set of your staff than to invest heavily into the equipment.  I would go so far as to suggest buying a used machine, used grinders, and used other equipment if that's what is necessary to allow for adequate training budget.  

 

This is coming from an ex-barista, a still-practicing independent trainer and consultant, and a coffee roaster.  There's just no overcoming apathy or ignorance by mechanical supplementation.

Ditto on this... if people still say ditto, that is...

Bryan Wray said:

It's going to be much harder to train your entire staff how to stay on top of maintenance, cleaning and re-calibration of a super automatic machine than it's going to be to train a trainer.  Invest heavily in someone who will be with you for the long haul.  

Whether the investment is your time and talents or your money to send the trainer to somewhere like the ABC (or bring someone in) will be up to you.  

 

This is always a better route than dumbing it down for everyone with a super auto.

 

As far as "What machine is best?" there is no answer... it depends on your situation.  For reliable machines simply do a search on this site. 

 

-bry

Thanks for all the wonderful advice ...so it really seems that the idea I need to develop is more about staff retention and training. I come from a food service background and understand developing people but my average stay at the restaurant was over two years and It seems through my present experience this maybe considerably shorter. My concern is spending vast amounts of time as a trainer and not an owner developing my business. The one thing I will say is that a superauto is off the list

Well put. Can I quote you on that in the future?


Jason Haeger said:

There's just no overcoming apathy or ignorance by mechanical supplementation.

By all means. Just use it with care. :)

David Myers said:

Well put. Can I quote you on that in the future?


Jason Haeger said:

There's just no overcoming apathy or ignorance by mechanical supplementation.

Seems to me that making sure your staff is properly trained is one of the most important things you can do to "develop your business". Training your staff well is the single best way to improve quality and consistency and reduce waste.

 

Don't worry about time requirement... unless your turnover is really high you shouldn't have to spend all of your time training. If you are really worried about this, consider designating a lead barista or manager as the trainer, or bring in an outside trainer.

 

The best use I see for automation in coffee equipment is a timed espresso grinder (like the Compak Fresh or Mazzer E grinders). These can absolutely improve consistency and reduce waste, though still require training to use properly.

 

As far as equipment choices, go with machines that are solid performers at your target volume. Buy grinders that have plenty of speed so that you don't have to run them constantly in order to keep up. Buy a little more espresso machine than you think you need... they are less stable when running way below or way above design capacity. Pick models that feature good temperature stability - these will improve the overall quality and consistency of your espresso and generate less waste from bad shots. Yes this means you will spend more on equipment, but if quality and consistency are your goal there's really no way around it.

 

J F. Kelly said:

Thanks for all the wonderful advice ...so it really seems that the idea I need to develop is more about staff retention and training. I come from a food service background and understand developing people but my average stay at the restaurant was over two years and It seems through my present experience this maybe considerably shorter. My concern is spending vast amounts of time as a trainer and not an owner developing my business. The one thing I will say is that a superauto is off the list

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