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Barista Basics - Articles

Hygiene in the Café Environment - Bean Scene, Issue 3, 2004

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Hygiene in the Café Environment

Personal hygiene and machine         
cleanliness will not only ensure         
that your café is socially          
acceptable and medically safe         
but your coffee will taste better          
write Matthew Gee and David Gee

Hygiene and the Espresso Machine

Steam Wands

Ever walked into a café, taken a glance at the coffee machine and seen a hundred years of caked-on milk that has calcified onto what you assume was once the skinny steam wand? We have and it literally makes your stomach churn knowing what bacteria probably lies beneath. (By the way, before you get the wrong idea, we're not face mask and rubber glove- wearing cleanliness freaks - it's just that after having a coffee, we don't want to walk out with any nasty diseases!)

The bottom line is that the steam wands on the espresso machine need to be cleaned after EVERY use. Most baristas believe that they are too busy to do this and that the person who cleans down the machine at the end of the night will do it. This is just unacceptable and any owner or manager worth their salt should carefully police the regular cleaning of the steam wands on their espresso machine. The reason that you need to clean the steam wand after each use is that the milk dries on it very quickly after the frothing process and dried milk is incredibly hard to remove once caked on. Caked-on milk will build up and within a couple of hours will begin to harbour bacteria that in turn gets injected into the fresh milk as it is steamed.

Local councils are cracking down on the cleaning of steam wands. They are also looking out for cafés whose baristas go too far in the cleaning of the steam wands by using scouring pads to remove the caked-on milk. Some steam wands are steel plated and have copper unde


Effective Barista Training, Tea and Coffee Asia, first quarter 2006
Coffee The Australian Way, Tea and Coffee Asia, fourth quarter 2005
In the End, It's All in the Blend, Bean Scene, Issue 10, 2005
Tools of the Trade, Bean Scene, Issue 10, 2005
The Starters Guide To Coffee, Bean Scene, Issue 9, 2005
Cutting Edge Espresso - Bean Scene Magazine, Issue 8, 2005
Postcards from Seattle - Bean Scene Magazine, Issue 8, 2005
Making Great Coffee At Home - Loreal's Club Matrix Magazine, Issue 2, 2004
Buying a Home Espresso Machine - Loreal's Club Matrix Magazine, Issue 3, 2005
Australians v Italians: Who Makes Better Coffee? - Bean Scene Magazine, Issue 6, 2004
The Decline of Tea and the Dethroning of the Flat White - Bean Scene Magazine, Issue 7, 2005
Coffee Indulgence - Loreals' Club Matrix Magazine, Issue 4, 2005
Coffee Appreciation
How to be a Gun Barista - Bean Scene, Issue 5, 2004
Affogato with a twist of Mocha - Australian Table, May 2004
Hygiene in the Café Environment - Bean Scene, Issue 3, 2004
Grind It, Baby - Eat Drink Magazine, May 2004
Coffee Myths, Dispelled!, Bean Scene, Issue 4, 2004
Coffee Art - Eatdrink Magazine, June 2004
Questions: Hospitality Magazine, May 2004


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