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Jack Merriman

Content Marketing Manager

Inconsistency is one of the many headaches that we hear about from coffee shop owners and operators. It seems typical that the quality of coffee served by many businesses varies wildly depending on the day, and which barista is working behind the bar. Having a consistently high quality coffee offering is of paramount importance to your guest experience, and is an issue that we are passionate about solving for our customers.

In this article and video, we’re outlining three free steps that you can take today to help you reduce inconsistency and improve the overall quality of your drinks.

Inconsistency in your coffee shop often stems from a lack of standardisation for your drinks offering, a lack of training, not using your equipment properly and not giving the staff the tools they need to make consistently great coffee. So, let’s see what we can do to improve your consistency – for free – today.


1. Fix Your Tamping

When we tamp a puck of coffee before brewing our double shot of espresso, there are two things we’re trying to achieve:

Firstly, and most obviously, we’re pressing down on the coffee to compact the bed by pressing out any air that lies between the grounds. This helps us build pressure inside the group head leading to a well extracted, dense and concentrated cup of coffee.

Secondly, we’re trying to create a level surface of coffee for the water to push through evenly, so that all areas of the puck are exposed to the same amount of water to brew an evenly extracted coffee.

So, your first tip is to make sure you’re tamping consistently. To do this, make sure your coffee grounds are evenly distributed throughout the basket before you tamp by gently tapping the side of the portafilter (shown in the video). Secondly, when you go to tamp, make sure your basket and the tamper are perfectly perpendicular with the floor to get a level, flat bed of coffee.

These two steps will help you create a tamped bed of coffee that is perfectly level and evenly distributed in density for a properly even and full extraction.

Want to solve this problem for good? Consider investing in an automatic tamper like the PUQPress for perfectly consistent tamped coffee pucks every time.

2. Standardise your Drink Recipes

Inconsistency in coffee shops is often caused by differences in opinions between baristas about how to prepare each drink on the menu. For example, there are wide ranges of ideas as to what a cappuccino should be – see: What is a Cappuccino?

With different baristas serving their own version of your drinks, regular customers can become confused or frustrated when their usual drink varies depending on who is on shift.

It doesn’t matter which of your staff is right or wrong. What does matter is that they are all on the same page. Our second tip to improving your coffee shop consistency is therefore the create a standardised hot drinks menu that includes the recipe, the cup or glass it should be served in, and any serving suggestions such as saucers, teaspoons, cold milk and sugar.

For a free coffee shop sample menu including recipes, serving suggestions and optional extras, start here -> Sample Coffee Shop Drinks Menu with Recipes.

3. Weigh your Coffee Dose

The ratio of coffee to brew water that you use to prepare your double shot of espresso can have a huge impact on the flavour of your coffees. Your espresso machine should be helping you with the brew water side of the equation, but you and your grinder are in charge of ensuring you use the same amount of coffee in each double shot.

Whilst at first it can seem unnecessary, grabbing a set of scales and ensuring that you’re getting a consistent amount of ground coffee inside your portafilter basket is a great step to consistently improving the taste of your espressos.

So – place your portafilter on the scale and hit the tare button, ensuring the scale reads 0 grams. Then grind your coffee like normal and place it back on the scale, and note the amount of coffee it’s giving you. We will typically recommend a coffee dose of 18 grams for a double espresso, but anywhere between 16 to 20 grams is fine. Just be consistent.

If you want to aim for 18 grams, use a teaspoon to remove or add more grounds to the portafilter to get to your target dose. Then dial in your grinders dosing system to get you closer to your target weight of coffee, and test it a few times throughout the day. Most grind by time grinders will be slightly inconsistent in the weight of coffee it prepares for each dose, so checking it with an external scale throughout the day will help you brew great coffee more repeatably and consistently.

Want to skip the weighing scale? Invest in a grinder that takes care of the coffee dose for you such as the E65S GBW or the MYG75.

Need Help Serving Great Coffee Consistently?

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