I was talking with a customer the other day about the daunting number of variables at our hands as baristas. It helped me come to a conclusion:
Coffee is terrifying, isn’t it?
As baristas we usually screw up the coffee more than anyone else before us; that’s if we’re paying attention and at least a little lucky. Temperature, dose, dwell time, pressure, bloom, tamp, extraction time, agitation, coffee rest, grind. The variables are daunting.
Should you dose 18 grams? 18.5? 19 grams? Should the temperature be 200.5f? 201? How much should the shot yield? How long should it take? 25 seconds? 28 seconds? Pre-infusion? And what about tomorrow when the coffee is older, the air pressure is different and the door opens?
As professional baristas, the variables that face us from day to day are some of the most critical and finicky of any at any point in the chain.
It isn’t our responsibility to add to the coffee. It’s our responsibility not to screw it up. To pay attention. To learn. To educate. To adapt. To showcase everyone else’s hard work while making ours look effortless.
If that isn’t terrifying to you as a barista you need to reset your focus.