Barista Magazine

OCT-NOV 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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Page 94 of 115

for them, they have a machine that doesn't offer a cool-water mix. Generally speaking, the water from the spout should only be used for rinsing shot glasses and cleaning utensils or fl ushing out a dirty drip tray. The water coming from the spout is typically too hot for drinks like Americanos and tea. The water is pulled from the steam boiler, where tempera- tures are generally set around 124°C (255°F). Because the wa- ter is constantly boiling and extracting minerals, sometimes unpleasant fl avors will show themselves in the cup, too. As I mentioned before, some machines come with an adjustable cool-water mix so you can adjust the temperature of the water coming out of the spout. It also gives you a nice steady stream rather than the crazy sputtering "dragon water." All that said, I know plenty of cafés that serve drinks using water from a mixed tap and have little to no issues. I do think in a perfect world every café would have a separate source for hot water, whether it be the spigot on your batch brewer or a dedicated hot water dispenser. I've never had a café complain that they have too much hot water. —Dblj How can I choose the right cleaning product—I think for most people, cleaning products look all the same. I like this column so much, by the way! Well, thanks! We are having a lot of fun putting it together! To (sort of) answer your question, there are sooooo many options out there to choose from, as you know. We don't want to get into directly endorsing anything here in our column, which we try to keep as neutral territory for equipment and coffee manufacturers and the like. I will say that most cleaning products on the market do have different enough formula- tions of ingredients that you can defi nitely tell the differences between them. If you are cleaning your machine on the daily, though, just about every product we have tried works about evenly. It's when you try to clean a machine or pot that hasn't been cleaned religiously and has some caked on/baked on coffee oil and solids that certain products tend to show their stuff (or lack thereof). Your local technician or even your cof- fee supplier likely has a kind they prefer. You could ask them what they use, and you could also ask other shops in your area what they like and why. You could also try a few different types of cleaning products out and just continue to order the one you personally felt worked best. I prefer a cleaner that makes a little foam in the blind screen, but it really is just a preference. You do you. —Alex Should I have my baristas use both steam wands equally to preserve the life of the machine? They tend to favor the one on the right as most of them are right-handed. We defi nitely recommend attempting evenly using things on both sides of the machine when possible. This is most im- portant for the groupheads on your machine. Water that sits without moving in the group can cause some off fl avors, amass mineral deposits, and be plagued by other issues that arise from lack of use. That said, when it comes to the steam wands, many cafés do tend to favor one wand most of the time. We fi nd it typically ends up being the one on the opposite side of the machine from the grinders. This is usually fi ne. You will still want to make sure to preventively rebuild the lesser-used wand as the seals inside can dry out and leak from disuse as much as from overuse. —Alex There are all these new-fangled brewers coming onto the market. What's the fail rate and what are repairs like? This is a great question! We are constantly being intro- duced to new equipment in our industry and it can be really overwhelming. It is a big commitment to bring on a piece of equipment that just came to market. Most manufacturers will quietly place new gear out in the fi eld anywhere from a few months to a few years before releasing it to the masses. Field testing equipment is critical for getting real-life feedback so adjustments can be made before offi cially launching. Even so, most new products will run into issues at some point, but usually the manufacturers are willing to kick in some parts and offer up support. Some of these equipment builders have been at it for a long time and have plenty of R+D under their belts, and others are literally building stuff in their garage. My advice if you're interested in a new product is: Do your research, go check stuff out at a trade show, and ask lots of questions. Consult your technician and ask if they can sell and support the product for you. That way you know you have someone close that can help you out if needed. Good luck! —Dblj Filtration and softening are a couple of the first lines of defense against many chemicals that would ruin your coffee and damage your machine, like chlorine and calcium. 95

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