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What's the worst "coffee" technique you've ever witnessed?
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Discussions > Espresso > General > What's the worst...  
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Mandheling
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Joined: 31 Aug 2012
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Posted Mon Sep 3, 2012, 12:06pm
Subject: What's the worst "coffee" technique you've ever witnessed?
 

OK - I've just been sat in a cafe having a beer and watching the world go by...

My eye was caught by a member of staff making a coffee and while I'm REALLY not an expert at microfoam, I'm pretty sure the trick I've been missing isn't standing the pitcher on the counter with the steam wand immersed so far into the milk it's screeching while stirring it with a spoon (yes - he did pour it in a mug and deliver it to a table but I really couldn't tell what it was supposed to be)...

Anyway - it got me thinking - I'm sure I can't be the only person to laugh/cry/stare at someone else's coffee mishaps and I reckon it could make an amusing thread, so go on - share you're anecdotes to brighten a Monday!!!
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Nickfrogger
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Posted Mon Sep 3, 2012, 1:41pm
Subject: Re: What's the worst "coffee" technique you've ever witnessed?
 

At an airport cafe, the worker dosed the basket full (no grinding, the doser was just filled with grounds), leveled the grounds off back into the top of the doser, then plugged it right into the machine and hit a button--no tamping--then walked over to wring me up. 45 seconds and 6 oz later, I had my... espresso?

I don't think that beats the hilarity of your post though. Great thread idea :)

~Nick

 
There's a big difference between drinking coffee to wake up and waking up to drink coffee.
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TheSunInsideYou
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TheSunInsideYou
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Posted Mon Sep 3, 2012, 3:03pm
Subject: Re: What's the worst "coffee" technique you've ever witnessed?
 

A cafe that boasted fresh-roasted coffee of their own opened in Toms River, and I was excited at the prospect of having a local raoster so close to home. Then I went in--for the first and last time--and ordered myself a macchiato. I read on the shops bio that they had one main barista who had worked in cafes all the way through high school and was supposedly pretty good. The first red flag was when she asked me what size macchiato I wanted. I paused, gave her an inquisitive look, and said, "a double?" I was hoping that that was what she was asking. She then turned around to their espresso grinder. A couple thwacks later, she had a full portafilter of grounds, which she crookedly tamped with the plastic attachment on the side of the doser, and locked it into the machine. There was no flush. At this point, my expectations dropped pretty low. But then it got worse. She poured some milk into the pitcher, and as her shots ran and ran (I'm going to say about 40-45 seconds after the drip), she proceeded to whip the pitcher in a violent, circular, vertical motion, bringing the tip from WAY in to WAY out of the milk, provoking some nasty gasping from the steam wand. She then took the overextracted, 2.5 oz  shot, dumped it into a paper cup, and poured the milk disaster on top of it to filll about a 12oz cup. To make matters worse, the milk was scalded and burnt to the point of digusting. I don't know where she worked in High School, but she got taught some bad voodoo.

-Dave-
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
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Posted Mon Sep 3, 2012, 8:12pm
Subject: Re: What's the worst "coffee" technique you've ever witnessed?
 

Conversation as I am looking into a cup just handed to me by the "barista".  

Me: "Where is the crema?"
Him: "What is crema??"

 
Coffeenoobie

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Steve_C
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Steve_C
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Posted Mon Sep 3, 2012, 8:52pm
Subject: Re: What's the worst "coffee" technique you've ever witnessed?
 

The worst conversation was when I ordered an espresso in Singapore and had the response "Wah, you like strong coffee?  I hate it myself!".  Classic.

The worst moment was when a 'barista' inserted a dirty brown steam wand into the milk jug after I ordered a cappuccino.  Now, it's bad enough not wiping the wand, but we have all seen that before.  But brown?  It turned out that they made their hot chocolate drinks in the milk jug and still didn't wipe afterwards.  The wand was caked with milk residue - I reckon about 3mm or 4mm thick.  Almost vomit inducing.
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qualin
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qualin
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Posted Wed Sep 5, 2012, 2:58am
Subject: Re: What's the worst "coffee" technique you've ever witnessed?
 

I don't know if this counts because I did it myself...

I was probably around 16 years old when this happened so maybe I can be forgiven...

My mothers coffee maker was broken, but she wanted some coffee.. I couldn't find the stove top percolator, so I
made coffee probably in the worst way imaginable... (Which was even worse than the way a percolator makes coffee.)

I took 10 tablespoons of coffee, put it in a medium sized pot on the stove and boiled it for probably a good five minutes.

I swear to God, I never smelled such a sickening smell in my entire life until that day. The "Coffee" produced this smell
that made me want to vomit. (Even Turkish coffee doesn't even see that kind of abuse.)

It was as if a million different grinds screamed out at once.... Anyway, I learned my lesson. Who was I to think later on this is
actually called "Cowboy Coffee" and is prepared in almost the same way, except that the water isn't boiled, or if it is, it
is only done for an extremely short time.

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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frcn
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frcn
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Posted Thu Sep 6, 2012, 9:11pm
Subject: Re: What's the worst "coffee" technique you've ever witnessed?
 

ME: I'll have a mocha smoothie
PBTC: What's that?
  ME: A Mocha smoothie... ?
PBTC: {inquisitive look form PBTC}
  ME: Uhh... make a chocolate smoothie and add a double shot of espresso.
PBTC: That's not mocha
  ME: Chocolate and coffee. That's mocha.
PBTC: No it isn't.
  ME: So... What is mocha?
PBTC: I don't know, but it isn't chocolate and coffee.

 
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
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Posted Fri Sep 7, 2012, 7:39am
Subject: Re: What's the worst "coffee" technique you've ever witnessed?
 

That is pretty cute, Frcn.

Yesterday, I went to a new coffee shop that opened up 2 weeks ago. They had 2 posters that I liked, one had a Huge X on it and said under it there is no X in espresso and the other was the espresso field guide poster that I own.  With signage like that I was excited for good espresso. The young man handed me a clearly under extracted shot. (less than 14 seconds when I questioned him about it) I suggested he try again and the 2 shots I thought looked good from where I was standing, he cut off and dumped as "too slow". They both tapped the portafilter after tamping. They returned the portafilter scrapings into the doser, they did not run the doser after changing the grind to get rid of the old grind and I believe had no idea how a good shot should look.  After 5-6 tries I paid for my coffee and left.  I did not even drink it.  I felt bad and tipped him.  The person I believe was the boss came out to help and was just as clueless as he was.

Too bad they can't make coffee, cute name, not a bad location, nice storefront.  So very sad.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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ciao_chao
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Joined: 12 Oct 2014
Posts: 1
Location: United Kingdom
Expertise: Pro Barista

Posted Sun Oct 12, 2014, 2:04pm
Subject: Re: What's the worst "coffee" technique you've ever witnessed?
 

So I'm resurrecting this topic. Today I've seen possibly the best espresso and worst espresso made in a shop, it's been one of those funny days...

Its great to have good equipment, but as we know better equipment is more sensitive to technique, today I went to a shop with a couple of dose-on-demand grinders (Mazzer Mini) and an older but perfectly functional Synesso. Unfortunately the staff seemed to have little or no training to how to properly operate the machinery, so here is a whole run through of the 11 steps.

Remove portafilter handle - yes
Purge - no
Clean spouts - no
Knock - yes
Wipe basket - no
Dose - yes
Light tamp - no
Firm tamp - no
Bless - no
Insert and lock handle - yes
Pour immediately - yes

NB my training doesn't encourage tapping after the tamp following the school of thought that it may cause channeling.

Going back to the technique though, it seems like the machine was set up properly at some point as it ran on volumetrics so at least the pour was at least close to a correct extraction ratio, just ran far too fast. What was worse though was there was a tamp sitting on the tamp mat, that was totally ignored by the staff. Now onto the milk, no cleaning of wands which were left poking out, the Synesso doesn't have the cold touch wands that the Simonelli Aurelia II's have so it's a lovely burn hazard. Technique was terrible again, too much air and not enough spin so all the drinks came out grey and bubbly.

It was terribly frustrating since down the road was another place that charged less yet clearly had a world class level of training, with an attention to detail I have only really seen in competition baristas. The thing is I'm not frustrated by the technique that can easily be rectified by training, it's the customers that don't recognise good or bad technique that annoys me.
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CoffeeRoastersClub
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Posted Sun Oct 12, 2014, 3:06pm
Subject: Re: What's the worst "coffee" technique you've ever witnessed?
 

Worst coffee technique I ever witnessed was at the Espresso Bar at UConn, many years ago.  I asked for a cappuccino and the knucklehead that made it steamed the milk for so long that it turned very light brown.  No foam at all.  Served it to me like that.  I said no thanks and never went back.

Len

 
"Coffee leads men to trifle away their time, scald their chops, and spend their money, all for a little base, black, thick, nasty, bitter, stinking nauseous puddle water." ~The Women's Petition Against Coffee, 1674

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