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Discussions > Espresso > Lever Espresso > Lever Training  
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dogsbe
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Jun 2013
Posts: 3
Location: stafford
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Jun 24, 2013, 1:34pm
Subject: Lever Training
 

Hi all,

I am in the process of opening a roasting company and I am very much interested in everything being hand-made.  However, I would really struggle to hire an experienced barista and I am pretty certain not one with lever experience.  I personally never had a go with a lever machine myself, but I think I can crack that nut fairly quickly.  

Obviously my problem is the risk of a giving a newbie barista a lever machine and they just crank out bitter shots.  I simply can not allow this to happen.  Anyone have an idea of how much training it would take to consistently pull out good shots, well equal to a semi-automatic?

In addition, what is a good way to assess their skills to the point that you would trust them customers?  

Thanks for any advice given.

Dogsebe
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MatP
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Mar 2013
Posts: 42
Location: Southern California
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Macap MXP
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Mon Jun 24, 2013, 1:53pm
Subject: Re: Lever Training
 

Are you talking about a lever machine with a spring (lever up on stand by), or without a spring (lever down on stand by)?

I do not believe using a spring lever commercial machine is that different from a semi auto.

Cheers

MatP
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dogsbe
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Jun 2013
Posts: 3
Location: stafford
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Jun 24, 2013, 2:25pm
Subject: Re: Lever Training
 

I am happy with a spring lever machine.  It does seem the best option, but I do think it still takes a bit more skill than a semi-automatic.
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russel
Senior Member
russel
Joined: 12 Mar 2010
Posts: 464
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Conti Princess 2grp, GS/3...
Grinder: Super Caimanos x2, Forte BG,...
Drip: V60, Kalita Wave, Clever,...
Posted Tue Jun 25, 2013, 8:32pm
Subject: Re: Lever Training
 

I don't think you have much choice in modern commercial levers other than a spring.  I also don't think that lever experience or special training is going to be your primary staffing difficulty.  High end Barista work is an odd combination of low pay + high skill + high responsibility.  If you can find a trustworthy and enthusiastic barista you should go ahead and hire them, then learn the lever together.  In the end it's the barista's palate and dedication to serving high quality coffee that matters (as far a shot quality is concerned).

I have always liked the hiring question "How would you describe what coffee tastes like to someone who has never tasted coffee before?"  I'm also big on the difference between making coffee for yourself vs. making coffee for other people.  This isn't a semantic thing,  there is a big difference between making coffee for your own edification then serving it to someone vs. making something 100% for the other person's enjoyment.  

Also, the best barista's I know are passionate about what they eat.
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dogsbe
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Jun 2013
Posts: 3
Location: stafford
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Jun 26, 2013, 7:23am
Subject: Re: Lever Training
 

russel Said:

I don't think you have much choice in modern commercial levers other than a spring.  I also don't think that lever experience or special training is going to be your primary staffing difficulty.  High end Barista work is an odd combination of low pay + high skill + high responsibility.  If you can find a trustworthy and enthusiastic barista you should go ahead and hire them, then learn the lever together.  In the end it's the barista's palate and dedication to serving high quality coffee that matters (as far a shot quality is concerned).

I have always liked the hiring question "How would you describe what coffee tastes like to someone who has never tasted coffee before?"  I'm also big on the difference between making coffee for yourself vs. making coffee for other people.  This isn't a semantic thing,  there is a big difference between making coffee for your own edification then serving it to someone vs. making something 100% for the other person's enjoyment.  

Also, the best barista's I know are passionate about what they eat.

Posted June 25, 2013 link

Yes, staffing is a bit of an issue and a lever machine makes maters a bit worst.  I do need to find somebody brilliant.

Funny you mentioned about passionate about what they eat.  Google "supertaster".  Basically, a supertaster are very fussy eaters and they are 10 to 100 times more sensitive to sweet and bitter foods than the average population.  Chefs tend to be supertasters.  I am a supertaster. Any barista I hire will be one as well.  You can ask some questions about their eating habits to get a clue if they are a supertaster.  For example, supertasters tend not to eat a whole candy bar because it become overwhelming. Or they dislike broccoli or sprouts because they are way too bitter.
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drgary
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Jan 2010
Posts: 144
Location: San Francisco
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Baby Lusso Caravel Coffex...
Grinder: Pharos, Rio Super Jolly,...
Vac Pot: AeroPress
Drip: Melitta
Roaster: Heat Gun/Bread Machine,...
Posted Fri Jun 28, 2013, 7:31am
Subject: Re: Lever Training
 

I seems a central issue here is you are unfamiliar with using commercial levers yourself. I find them quite easy and forgiving due to the declining pressure profile.  Each machine has its quirks but any commercial machine will have more stable group temperature than a home machine. As with any espresso machine you need to get the temperature/pressure settings right and adjust dose and grind to coffee and machine. Maybe the first thing to do is get the lever machine, see how easy it is, then hire a capable barista. Before even buying your commercial lever the seller can show you how to use it, especially if you're buying new from a dealer.
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armijo
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Mar 2013
Posts: 2
Location: san francisco, ca
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Jun 30, 2013, 7:29pm
Subject: Re: Lever Training
 

dogsbe Said:

Yes, staffing is a bit of an issue and a lever machine makes maters a bit worst.  I do need to find somebody brilliant.

Funny you mentioned about passionate about what they eat.  Google "supertaster".  Basically, a supertaster are very fussy eaters and they are 10 to 100 times more sensitive to sweet and bitter foods than the average population.  Chefs tend to be supertasters.  I am a supertaster. Any barista I hire will be one as well.  You can ask some questions about their eating habits to get a clue if they are a supertaster.  For example, supertasters tend not to eat a whole candy bar because it become overwhelming. Or they dislike broccoli or sprouts because they are way too bitter.

Posted June 26, 2013 link

You seem to be selecting ever smaller groups.  Supertasters who actually find coffee palatable are going to occur in even more minute amounts than supertasters.  

I wonder if you might not want to reconsider some of your criteria.

good luck!
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chezcoffee23
Senior Member
chezcoffee23
Joined: 4 Jul 2013
Posts: 2
Location: cambridgeshire
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Thu Jul 4, 2013, 12:33pm
Subject: Re: Lever Training
 

I own and work on lever espresso machine and I am just about to start my training, I do find its a hard way to make good coffee but after working on different types of machines I wouldn't change mine at all.
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monkeyboy1971
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Dec 2011
Posts: 8
Location: england
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bosco lever
Grinder: Eureka mythos
Posted Sat Jul 6, 2013, 3:45pm
Subject: Re: Lever Training
 

i use a bosco day in day out and find it a breeze to use, i dont think that you actually need to hava an expansive training program in order to pull a great shot on a sprung lever machine, the principles of grind and portafilter preparation reamin fairly constant and once your master the preinfusion the spring does the rest of the work for you. pretty simple to use and exceptional coffee.....
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CoffeeLoversMag
Senior Member
CoffeeLoversMag
Joined: 10 Jan 2013
Posts: 218
Location: Seattle
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Jul 10, 2013, 10:54pm
Subject: Re: Lever Training
 

A lever machine, whether semi-automatic or not, is still needed for the barista to know his work. You canít gamble your business without enough knowledge of the machine; otherwise it will just crank out a bitter shot. But you may try the semi-automatic; it is just a simple machine for the barista to learn. Donít compromise, make the possible good shots!

 
Did you know...? Dark roast coffees actually have less caffeine than lighter roasts due to the fact that the process of roasting burns off caffeine.
www.coffeeloversmag.com/theMagazine
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