nickcho Senior Member Joined: 7 Nov 2002 Posts: 435 Location: Redwood City, CA Expertise: Pro Barista
Espresso: this Grinder: that Vac Pot: yes Drip: drop Roaster: Trish!
Posted Sun Jun 5, 2005, 12:45pm Subject: Re: The Barista Code of Conduct by Nick Cho
Nick, interesting take....... this might be slightly off topic...or not I emailed Murky 5 days ago concerning a visit I'm planing in DC....still waiting for a response.... Since I am positively a customer (or will be), wouldn't a non-response be considered a no-no according to your edict "The customer is always right? I realize you're busy, and as a self employed person I can understand time crunches...but a response would have been appreciated. Most other establishments/businesses mentioned here have responded to within 2-3 days... I look forward to visiting Murky while in DC.....so...read your email!!! :>D
Sorry Robert. I do indeed get a ton of emails, and I just looked back and re-read yours. Sorry, but I didn't respond because the information you requested is something you could have easily looked up yourself on Mapquest.
AngelCollins Senior Member Joined: 12 May 2005 Posts: 1 Location: Macon, Georgia Expertise: Pro Barista
Posted Mon Jun 6, 2005, 10:20pm Subject: Re: The Barista Code of Conduct by Nick Cho
I really liked the article. I am among the hot-headed, wanting to at least give pointers, but I never do because it irritates me when someone doesn't trust us enough to try it our way before having us make it another way.
I completely agree about the bashing. I've seen that having more than one group of competitors does nothing but help us up our game, which only ups the standards of coffee, which is what the Third Wave seems to be about. I think all competition should be friendly, we can all learn from each other and if someone else is so bad (even the big businesses), then why are they still in business? (don't answer that, just get what I'm sayin')
I come from a place where our customers are expected to not know anything about espresso based beverages, but we also don't treat them like they're ignorant. Our stance has been, everyone can read the menu, so we make what they ask for. If what they ask for is not what they wanted, then we make what they want and help them know how to ask for it next time. It's an educational experience for all of us. I've learned about new drinks and telling customers what they should expect from a capp or from the espresso helps us stay on top of things.
I'd like to see training code of conduct addressed, something that would help head baristas in their establishments have something to go to for addressing problems with their trainees. Maybe even a way for top baristas to brag without downing others... It's all common sense, as someone else said, but sometimes, common sense has to smack you upside the head. I'm interested to see where the Barista Guild goes and definitely interested in joining.
P.S. if this posts twice, don't get mad. My computer hates me.
Damocles Senior Member Joined: 23 Aug 2004 Posts: 103 Location: Sweden Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Tue Jun 7, 2005, 6:57pm Subject: Re: The Barista Code of Conduct by Nick Cho
Nice article, and pretty much spot on for many things. Ive never worked in a coffee-shop, but i did work in a toystore and later a computer shop before i worked 7 years in computer support, meeting people everyday. My boss in that computer store had been a manager for 15 years and tought me quite abit and that store lived by the old adage "the customer is always right".
Same with support. Every day one meets people less knowing in computers, thats why they need support, but just as they arent knowledgeble in that, how much do you know about their proffession. Everybodys equal, no matter what. If i go to a customer, its my job to leave them happier then when i came there. Even if they found out they know jack-shit and were an ass.
Even if the fault is caused by themselves and soo simple you can see the revelation in their eyes that they know how really stupid it was. You can never laught and point finger, its just to suck it up and try to make them feel like they wasnt an ass or wasnt totally stupid that could see the fact that the powerplug was out. Or the stack of books that pressed the keys on the keyboard, etc. Everything still doesnt say you shouldnt be proud of your work, everyone should, but you shouldnt be arrogant about the whole thing.
- Now for a small anecdote - Hell, one time i found out a guy had been surfing gay-prn, in the reception no less! I was minimizing windows and behind another was a, well, you get the point, but i managed to forgo that and continue minimizing windows, very quickly mind you, so that i didnt get to be an awkward moment. He knew that i saw it, i know that he know. But, i mean, what do you say in a situation like that unless it goes within a blink of an eye and you can just pretend like it rains. Then when i got back to the room i shared with my colleques, then i laughed like i was bursting for the whole thing. Why, because everybody had been wondering about that for a few years and i guess that final thing answered the question all was having. :P
matsg - Good to see another swede in here from time to time. Would you by any chance know of a few good caffés here in town(stockholm).
Just a question from an Aussie.........what does 'my bad' mean?
I guess it ultimately slang for something like my mistake, which may not be grammatically either, but gives a bit more meaning.
Hi, you should try (if you already haven't) Zanzibar at Norrmalmstorg, Café non solo on Odengatan or one of the Sosta bars. Len (Worldman) was in Stockholm for a couple of weeks and he tried a lot of places I have never been to. Check out his thoughts in this thread: "The espresso scene in Sweden (1 Geek's view)"
ant Senior Member Joined: 7 May 2003 Posts: 1,046 Location: Brisbane Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: sunbeam em6910 Grinder: sunbeam em0480 Vac Pot: hario syphon Roaster: 1kg sample roaster at work
Posted Wed Jun 8, 2005, 2:22am Subject: Re: The Barista Code of Conduct by Nick Cho
I just wanted to share something that occurred today
During one of the times when we were getting absolutely hammered and it was the start of one of those bulk order rushes- a guy comes up to the counter and asks for a mocha, then gets directed to the cup size, asks for the 8oz and then gets asked "how many sugars would you like?"
It gets repeated.. twice! My workmate's frustration at this guy's inability to answer such a simple question is more than edging into his voice. I'm doing the other orders but also thinking, "this dude is confused- english isn't his first language, deer in headlights look, probably responding to the frustration in my workmate's voice" and I chime in- "how many teaspoons of sugar would you like?" I do it with a smile, and I do it smoothly and calm while having 2 shots on, another shot finished and being poured into while I'm cleaning the steam arm.
instant response! what was probably 5-10ish seconds just to elicit that magic number... 3.
He had a quick chat to his friends (who also had no idea how to order after watching him squirm) which I overheard later while still working- He was intimidated by the speed at which everything was going on and too used to being out in the country where people are more leisurely. That's not his fault, that's just what he's used to. We get this a bit and always with new customers. Menus are intimidating, new places are intimidating, watching us move at what this person considered to be a 'frightening speed' is intimidating- there's so much more to service.. so much more to being good with customers than just making them a godshot or a 24leaf rosetta etc. I can concentrate on making the absolute best shots, the best milk and be quicker at improving my current level. But I miss out if I don't talk to my customers, new ones miss out if I don't guide them with genuine care and get a prickly attitude. If that were the case, then what I am doing would be soulless and also more than a little selfish.
About 20min later I thought of this article. So thanks again Nick for reiterating common sense. :)
mikkelhaas Senior Member Joined: 2 Jul 2004 Posts: 126 Location: Grand Rapids, MI Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: La Spaziale S1 Vivaldi II Grinder: Mazzer Mini Drip: Technivorm, Aeropress Roaster: homemade drum roaster
Posted Sat Jun 11, 2005, 6:24am Subject: Re: The Barista Code of Conduct by Nick Cho
Good advice for all walks of life. Even as a non-professional, it is tempting to want to give advice or even a demonstration. What keeps me on the proper side of the counter is to think about how I would feel if I were the barista, and a stranger offerred to tell me how wrong I practice my craft! If you care enough about a certain barista or coffeehouse, then your advice is well taken to invest some time in developing a relationship before giving unasked for advice.
I agree with the principle that we should be respectful of another person's turf, but isn't there a Catch 22 here? If a coffee shop is making terrible enough drinks that you want to jump over the counter and make them yourself, what are the chances it's going to be a coffee shop that you care enough about to form relationships? I mean, if they make bad coffee you're not going to go there, right? To frequent a coffee shop, even when the drinks are bad, merely in hopes of gaining the credibility to tell them what they're doing wrong sounds overly altruistic to me. Surely there must be a point at which you're allowed to say, "Uh, it works better if you pack the coffee first..."
SamuraiE Senior Member Joined: 22 Mar 2005 Posts: 371 Location: Miyazaki, Japan Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: La Cimbali M21/S1 Grinder: La Cimbali Jr. Vac Pot: several / Atomic, too Drip: yes Roaster: Hottop baby!
Posted Sat Jun 11, 2005, 5:04pm Subject: Re: The Barista Code of Conduct by Nick Cho
Nick, thank you for your very fine article, very readable and well written. Sometimes your prose is too 'hip' for me to get through (guess I'm just too 'Old School'), but this effort was spot on. Look forward to your next article.
beanenlightened Senior Member Joined: 16 Jun 2005 Posts: 5 Location: Spain Expertise: Just starting
Espresso: Krups Vivo F880 Grinder: Blade Roaster: A pan :|
Posted Thu Jun 16, 2005, 10:28am Subject: Re: The Barista Code of Conduct by Nick Cho
I've never worked in a coffee house, but I can certainly see (and taste) how being a barista is much more than being a PBTC.
On that note, the things that you outline sound a lot like basic professionalism to me. Along that line, that is something that should be required if baristas are to be recognized as "culinary craftswoman or craftsman", whom are usually referred to as professionals.
A true barista finds satisfaction in realizing that some part of their technique or their 'system' was hindering their ability to produce perfect espresso, and fixing it. A true barista is a Third Wave barista.
A professional and craftswoman or craftsman cares about their work in this fashion...
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