Barista Magazine

FEB-MAR 2019

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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80 barista magazine for everything that's vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, or anything that can be modifi ed to accommodate those," Liz says. "We also train all of our kitchen staff to do things like put down butcher paper, change gloves, change knives, etc., whenever a ticket [marked 'allergy'] comes through." Although The Wing's kitchen is meticulous when it comes to allergy procedures, that hasn't always been the case in cafés where Liz has previously worked. However, it's unclear whether that's been a prob- lem. "In general I think most people seem to understand that trace amounts of cross-contamination [are] inevitable with espresso-based beverages. After all, we still use the same steam wand to steam all of the milks. But we do try and have labeled pitchers for nondairy versus dairy milk," she says. In high-volume cafés where she's been employed, Liz says, "We didn't really bother labeling the pitchers because we had to make way too many drinks at a time for it to work in a practical sense. But again, I never received any complaints." For cafés that do want to be more conscious of cross-contamination, it'll involve taking cleaning much more seriously than most establish- ments do currently. "A water rinse on a pitcher, or the use of a damp rag on a steaming wand would not be considered an acceptable method of removing an allergen, and especially not using the same rag from one allergen to the next," Alex of Pacifi c Foods says. "I would recommend dedicated pitchers for each allergen (keep milk pitchers separate from almond pitchers, separate from soy pitchers, separate from coco- nut, etc.) and clean all of these separately from one another to avoid cross-contamination. If this is not a viable option, I would highly recom- mend cleaning pitchers, and anything else that comes in contact with allergens, in a dishwasher or sanitizer over rinsing with just water." Proper allergy procedures aren't just important for customers, but for staff as well. "I think the biggest thing that I have realized while working as a celiac [a person who has an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye] is how un-careful many places are, not just with gluten," says T. Ben Fischer, a New York–based barista and founder of Glitter Cat Barista Bootcamp. "Milk pitchers, shared tongs, rinsing versus cleaning, peanut-butter residue in ramekins or on cutlery—allergens are everywhere, and having an allergy has helped me be more aware of how I am handling food and drinks in general behind the counter." For T. Ben, staying hyper-aware of how cafés handle any food that has a potential allergen is important because if they're not careful with one food item, they're likely not thinking about all the other foods they serve that have a potential allergen. "Seeing 'gluten-free' pastries in the same case or on the same tray as gluten-containing pastries is a red fl ag for me. Some people can get actively sick from crumbs or a croissant fl aking off on top of the gluten-free brownie's frosting," he says. Taking an extra moment to be careful with your potential allergens is not only considerate of the health and safety of your customers and employees, but also builds trust and loyalty. "Personally, I get stoked when I see a gluten-free item on the menu at a café. Almost 100 percent of the time I will buy the pastry or food even if I was only planning on drinking coffee," T. Ben says. Baristas certainly have opportunities to make small changes within our cafés, but how do big companies handle large-scale projects? How can you be sure that the food you're eating is actually free of any allergens? ALLERGIES ON A LARGE SCALE Although many of us have heard of Pacifi c Foods for their Barista Series range of plant-based beverages, the nationwide company dis-

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