Chapter 12 of the COVID-19 Coffee Survival Guide

Professional Coffee Equipment Obsessions

A comment on the fetish that some Baristas and consumers seem to have about buying their coffees and cafe equipment.

There is a false belief marketed that you need to spend a lot of money on specialized equipment in order to make good coffee and latte art. This insidious belief implies you need to buy the latest top secret technology in order to accomplish skilled tasks. The key word is skill, because any skill implies that you need to learn technique in order to execute it. The new technologies tend to be just shortcuts and crutches. You have to realize, there is no magic bullet, although people want to buy the easy way, in reality you have to practise building a skill which requires time, patience and old-fashioned hard work.

Instant Barista Skills from Tiger Woods

This type of marketing, the one that suggests you can buy your way to the top, works for industries like golf., Ask any weekend Duffer who believes that within themself, there is a crouching Tiger Woods potential, if only they had the right golf club! When in reality Tiger’s swing is a product of computer and video analysis biometrics, and you name it, Tiger’s swing has been subject to more scrutiny than surgical techniques. Plus, Tiger works like a madman in perfecting his craft. Your weekend Potbelly Duffer with a golf swing that looks like a farmer trying to kill a snake with a hoe isn't going to propel you to the US open or the Masters, even if you are using the same driver that Tiger is using. So, no you can not buy the correct golf club and learn from a Duffer how to have the perfect swing!

Let's be very clear, buying the best equipment isn't going to guarantee you any type of coffee quality.

Which Equipment Should I Buy First for My Cafe

A favourite question I like to ask the entrepreneurs in our classes that are going to start their own coffee shop is “What are the first items you will buy for your cafe?” and , 9 times out of 10 they answer “coffee machines and the coffee beans”. My recommendation is to NOT do that, those are the last items I would make my decision on. I would recommend that you learn how to make coffee and run a business first before I would buy a machine and beans. When you start off with buying a machine and beans it is similar to me saying “oh look, I've bought a professional cake mixer and cake flour. I'm a baker! Hur Ray!”

The average entrepreneur and consumer know it doesn't work that way, but for some reason believe that that's going to happen. “If I only had the right golf club, it would be like a persistent headache, if only I had the right steam pitcher, then I would be successful!”

Barista Jams

Over the years we've sponsored a lot of grassroots events to have fun with the craft of being a barista. We challenged barista's to get out of their comfort zone. One of the more memorable events was the tin-can latte art pour off.

Basically we gave the barista competitors Campbell soup cans, a pair of pliers and had them bend the tin can to a pitcher shape and pour their best latte art.. Some of the design pours were amazing, but more importantly highlights the fact that we don't need the best equipment if we have skill.

Ubiquitous Starbucks

I enjoy camping and like to bring along a Starbucks disposable cup, lid, my Primus camping stove, along with a stovetop milk frother, which is basically a kettle and closed vessel with a steam wand attachment and a valve - essentially the outdoorsmen espresso machine. I would routinely make my drink and pour latte art on top of course. I would walk proudly in the forest with my take out drink, hoping that someone would notice and when they did, they would ask astonished “where did you get that?” And I would answer “oh it's just around the corner, Damn Starbucks are everywhere.”

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MORE ON THE COVID SURVIVAL COFFEE GUIDE

CHAPTERS:

Introduction

Chapter 1: If you’re ready to make a change and freshen up your coffee game, consider making your coffee at home. To produce quality coffee at home, like the ones you normally find in the coffee shops, follow these 3 simple rules... Read More >

Chapter 2: Now that you understand freshness as it pertains to coffee beans (3-14 days from its BIRTH DATE or Roast date, and only buy enough to last a week) . This will give us a good starting point because we finally have some quality ingredients...Learn More >

Chapter 3: Ok.. you managed to escape the matrix and now that you have acquired the supplies needed to take on the coffee universe on your own, we are here to offer you some help!

4 Tools Needed to Brew Coffee At Home... Read More >

Chapter 4: If you have Italian friends, and they offer you a "caffe" , chances are they pull out a stove top device that unscrews in four parts, (base, top pouring chamber or pitcher, basket and basket cover) called a Moka Pot...Learn More >

Chapter 5: I have a personal problem with pour over people because they tend to hold the opinion that pour overs like Hario v60, Chemex, Kalita, are great, but that batch brew Drip Coffee Makers suck. The reality is...Read More >

Chapter 6: Let's explore further why the proponents of Cold Brew coffee are so maniacal in their support of this process. 4 reasons: ... Learn More >

Chapter 7: Frankly this viral hype surprises most of us in the industry but, in my opinion, it is a good thing that people are seeking innovation when it comes to coffee beverages. I just wish it didn’t involve instant coffee! ... Learn More >

Chapter 8: Prior to the cold brew fad, the go-to method of making a cold coffee was to utilize the alien👽 technology known as ice.

Apparently, when you add ice to things, they get colder...Learn More >

Chapter 9: If you survive this chapter, you will have my respect, and moreover, you will have learned about the basic principles of extraction...Learn More >

Chapter 10:We are revisiting a brewing device that was long ago dismissed as an alternative for espresso. Of course I'm talking about the Aeropress. Full admission. I was an anti Aeropress-er (not anymore). For those of you not familiar with the Aeropress way of making coffee it's a strange looking plastic device that looks like a giant syringe...Learn More >

Chapter 11: I'm going to tread into dangerous waters here and talk about one of the most controversial taboo subjects in the realm of 3rd and 4th wave coffee (aka pretentious coffee). What am I talking about? Blended drinks.. , AKA frappuccinos...Learn More >

Chapter 12:There is a false belief marketed that you need to spend a lot of money on specialized equipment in order to make good coffee and latte art. This insidious belief implies you need to...Learn More >

Chapter 13:The easiest way to avoid cream and sugar in your coffee is to buy higher quality coffee, you will taste that it is naturally sweet as opposed to the dark burnt, bitter stuff from chain stores, so try out a local independent coffee shop...Learn More >

Post Pandemic:Luckily, in the past the coffee industry has proven itself relatively recession-proof. Big question is, if it is pandemic proof ?...Learn More >



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