One thing that will come out of the Covid-19 epidemic is an increase in levels of hygiene in the cafe beverage and food service industry.

We are seeing lots of detail now in hand hygiene, work bench cleaning and general sanitizing of all cafe surfaces. These processes are taught in Hygiene courses that all hospitality workers should have been trained in and all workers should hold a safe food handling certificate to be able to work in this industry.

To be honest there has been some pretty bad work practices around cafes that have not been set up properly from the start, which makes cleaning and hygiene processes difficult to perform.

Having limited access to sinks, running hot water and tight kitchen spaces lead to poor hygiene of coffee and beverage making. We also have been using outdated work practices where we touch ground coffee with hand leveling in the espresso delivery which now can be corrected with some simple barista tools.

Some of the blame for poor hygiene in cafes has to come back to locally based food authorities, being low staffed therefore having only a limited number of inspections and follow-up on cafe workers qualifications and current health and safety practices.

Many food compliance inspections are only generated when an issue has arisen, for example a food poisoning incident, or a new project that needs a startup inspection. I believe we will see some major changes in this area when things return to normality and the pressure will now be from the public not just food safety industry bodies.

I asked Brett Bolwell from Barista Technology in Queensland if he could shed some light on this subject as he has been promoting high end equipment that will not only take the human physical contact from the coffee making process but will also speed up espresso coffee service, reducing labour costs significantly.

Brett has been the catalyst behind automated tamping, being the master importer of Puqpress, a compact automatic tamping tool.

Brett explains “Puqpress has been a huge success in Australia where we have sold over 14000 units. The Puqpress revolution was brought about from the demand for high quality espresso service and Puqpress as a tool has helped deliver a quick workflow with consistent “No Touch” coffee delivery. If the Barista combines a leveling tool with Puqpress there is no hand /coffee contact. With the current situation focusing on clean workspaces Puqpress is in great demand and most large coffee chains and franchises are putting them into their coffee systems to alleviate any chances of error”.

Milk delivery and steaming is another area that has been poorly controlled behind the coffee bar.

It is such a big part of coffee making in Australia, where 90% of coffees ordered are milk based. Many cafes still leave milk bottles out on the bench for the full morning coffee service at room temperature. Milk is one product that will spoil quickly when not refrigerated below 4 degrees. Technology has come to the rescue with milk delivery systems that will provide fresh refrigerated milk using a small dispenser footprint on the coffee bar. These systems are often based around milk in a bladder that will sit below the bar in a refrigerated cabinet. Companies like The Juggler and i-milk have been leading the way in the Australian marketplace.

Perfect Moose automated steaming system is another innovation imported into Australia by Barista Technology.

This system will recognise the milk type via a smart chip in the colour coded jugs and will steam that milk automatically to the calibration data programed in. This allows different pressure and temperature for all types of plant and dairy cafe milks that have different characteristics in their formulation.

Brett explained to Café Culture. “Perfect Moose is a very clever system that can give the operator a fool proof result, as the technology behind the system will eliminate wastage, get correct temperature every time and save on labour costs as all the barista has to do is pour the milk for that order while still having high quality milk for latte art. We are not taking the skill away from the barista we are just perfecting the quality of the product they are using”.

Other ways a cafe can work on their set up is by using simple things like installing jug rinsers to keep milk jugs clean between beverages. 

Using colour coded cloths in the coffee system – one colour as the steam wand cloth with another colour as the bench cloth. Having systems to wash reusable cups. Making leveling tools part of the tamping process and get hand leveling out of our systems. Last is to make sure all staff are fully trained in Safety and Hygiene standards. I like it when I walk into a cafe and see a safe food handling tick on the door and staffs’ safe food handling certificates on the wall. Let’s all do a bit and continue with these good safety standards moving forward into the future. It’s time for “No Touch Coffee” and this wording will start to be an industry standard.

by Sean Edwards – Publisher Café Culture Magazine.

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