MARCH 2016 – BAKERS & CO. COFFEE TRAINING AT FULL COURT PRESS

Lily and Malgosia from Bakers & Co. had a fantastic coffee training with Matt at Full Court Press. This is what Lily tells us about it:

I arrived at Bakers & Co having done all my barista training on the job. There’s no doubt that practice makes perfect. Making what feels like 1000 coffees a day for a few days a week, you’re going to improve: the rhythm of your work will quicken, your base level of confidence with pulling shots and steaming milk goes up (and means that a stream of orders for espresso martinis on a Sunday morning is less likely to induce a meltdown!), and you will get to know the ticks and tinkering of the machines you use.
However, too much focus on efficiency and you may forget about the little bean that has come from far off climes to swirl around the sunshine yellow cups. The training myself and Malgosia received from Matt at Full Court Press reminded us of this fact! What’s more, for me, the experience inspired a new appreciation of coffee that goes beyond just saying “like it, don’t like it” to being able to identify the *tasting notes* and fine-tune the extraction process to get the best out of the bean.

Training Season + Taste

March 2016 – Coffee Training at Full Court Press

Training Season + Taste

March 2016 – Coffee Training at Full Court Press

We started with the fundamentals of origin and learnt what factors have the greatest influence on the resulting flavours of the coffee we drink. Firstly, the higher the traceability of the bean the better: from country, to region, to the farmers themselves. How the coffee plant is farmed, harvested and processed is what makes each batch so unique. After the fermentation process has stripped the coffee berry of its fruit, the leftover beans are often sorted by hand in the various small holdings and then shipped off for roasting. Finding out how much happens before the bean even reaches the espresso machine was a real eye-opener. I expected the training to be entirely technical, but touching upon these foundations first made me truly value the product we have to offer at the restaurant.
With all this effort gone into producing a batch of coffee beans, you have to try do it justice. The process of trying to achieve just that took me back to my chemistry lessons at school; setting certain controls and changing the variables ever so slightly to get the ideal result. We learnt to detect a good extraction, one where middling, sweet caramels are in abundance but initial acidity and chalky after-tastes are avoided. However, there is good coffee and there is what you like. Everyone will always have their own preferences, but it’s our responsibility to offer the right balance for the bean.

Training Season + Taste

March 2016 – Coffee Training at Full Court Press

So, how does this all translate to service at Bakers? Firstly, knowing how much quality control the beans have gone through, I now wince every time I have to waste a shot adjusting the grind (those beans could have been a cup of coffee!). Second, learning how to taste is completely different to knowing what you like. When it comes to adjusting the grinder first thing and tasting espresso, I’ll know what to look for, even though I myself don’t drink espresso. Lastly, I feel I know how to discuss tastes and aromas with curious customers.
For me, that gorgeous smell that escapes from a newly opened bag of coffee beans is extra special now that I know the means by which it came to be in my hands in Bakers & Co. Better still, I also feel comfortable taking time to make adjustments so the extraction is just right. In short, the extra coffee training I received gave me expert knowledge and it gave me confidence. Oh, and the aero press instructions are out the window!

Training Season + Taste

March 2016 – Coffee Training at Full Court Press