My boss and the other barista who's been here for about 3 years off and on, are both getting on my case because I adjusted the grinder to a finer grind because my shots were too fast (like <15 seconds fast).

Now, during our summer hours, I was the only barista here, so I had time to perfect MY technique, and I didn't have to worry about other people in my workstation. We also are a slow enough place that we only have one person on shift at a time.

Well, we're back to normal hours and the other barista is back from her summer vacation and she's been giving me nothing but trouble. But that's for another post.

So other barista and my boss try doing shots with my grind. Nothing but drips at best. So instead of adjusting the grinder, they get on my case about it being too fine.

Other barista, who mind you, has over 2 year experience on me, tells me it's BAD for the grinder to adjust it so much.

Uhh... Wat? If you weren't supposed to adjust it as needed, why did they put the adjuster right on the front / top? If you were suppose to always keep it at the same grind, why didn't they make all the grinders one setting only?

My boss is completely on her side. Tells me I'm being too anal about my shots and as long as it has a crema, it's a good shot, timing doesn't matter.

So we have officially gone into crazy land.

I'm being as accomodating as possible. I change the grinder at the end of my shift, I leave the doser empty between shots and only grind enough for my shot (They grind about 10 double shots worth of espresso at a time). It's got to the point that anytime I'm not using the grinder, even when I'm the only one working, I change the setting back to what they like, in case my boss happens to come by and notice the grinder.

They on the other hand, are being absolutely ridiculous. They will come to make themselves a drink (the grinder will already be adjusted for them, since I do it) and they will set the timer on the grinder all the way, which is 30 seconds or so? It's enough grinds to fill our portafilters about 10 times.

So I'm left with 9 shots worth of espresso I can do nothing with. I'll attempt about 2 times before I toss all the espresso they've ground.

I have tried every technique I can think of to get an okay shot out of their grind. I've done what they do, lots of twisting and what not, I've even taken the portafilters in both hands and pushed down on the tamper as hard as I can, with both palms and my shots are 10 seconds long, at best.

I could not tell you why I need it so fine. I just do and my boss and the other barista aren't coffee savvy enough to understand.

Even though I've shown them both numerous times what my shots look like with their grind.

I've talked to a friend who used to work here and has worked at Caribou as well as she says that I'm doing nothing wrong, and I have to agree.

This is why I want my own coffeeshop, so I can train the people right.

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Comment by Brady on October 6, 2011 at 3:33am

The way I updose is to fill the basket halfway, then do a little bump straight down, with the portafilter still in the forks, to settle the coffee. I'll then fill the rest of the way, plus some, and settle again either once or twice. Every settle adds more coffee to the basket.


Remember as you approach this that this is not about you or your coworkers doing something "wrong", it is about different approaches to get a result. Some results are better than others though.


Hope that helps... good luck.

Comment by Autumn Ritchie on October 5, 2011 at 8:24pm

@Brady: I'll look into it. It seems that I can't use as much espresso with their grind because I can't push it down in the basket at all when I tamp. Also, I know I use less espresso than the other barista because she's very fast and does lots of big movements when she tamps and doses so she makes a mess. :/

Thankfully our third barista is on my side. She's new with us, but she used to work at another shop a few years ago in another state. She can't do anything with the grind they keep telling us to put it at.

But thank you for your suggestion, I'm going to keep working at it, I'm trying to "wean" myself off my grind by grinding just a little coarser every shift or so, right now, to see if it helps any.

Comment by Brady on October 5, 2011 at 5:40pm
If I was to try and guess what was happening here, it would be that you are dosing less ground coffee into the basket. Any chance this is the case?

If that's what is happening, you could do a couple of things. Easiest would be to updose at their setting until you get a decent time. If you try this and prefer the taste of your grind/dose combination you might suggest your method as a cost reduction. 1 gram less reduces espresso costs by 5-7%.

Hope that helps. Good luck!
Comment by Autumn Ritchie on October 3, 2011 at 9:06pm
@Roeland: Unfortunately my happiness is of least concern to my boss. If I brought this up to him, that I like giving my customers the best quality possible, and this is how I do it, he'd blow a gasket. He's not the most reasonable, level headed guy and hates to be told that he's wrong, or anything of the sort.
Comment by Dustin DeMers on October 3, 2011 at 7:43pm
Well good luck with the loan, and dont put up with bosses that dont care. Its not worth it.
Comment by Autumn Ritchie on October 1, 2011 at 10:39am

@Dustin. I currently live in a smaller town. (<35k people) and we have 3 colleges that just went into session, so all of the college students have taken MOST of the jobs in the area.


My husband and I are looking into our options for loans so we can start up our own coffeeshop somewhere else. We have a great relationship with the people we bank with, and I think they can definitely help us get our foot in the door.

Comment by Dustin DeMers on October 1, 2011 at 1:41am
Why dont you find another job? This place sounds like it sucks alot.

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