As a barista trainer and workflow fanatic I want to instil and promote the value of assessing and planning for workflow as a requirement for making coffee great. Workflow is as imperative to quality "specialty coffee" as the other ingredients of beans, equipment, and brew technique. If you have a dirty workspace, misplaced tools, and a misunderstanding of workflow I would be so string to say you cannot make tasty coffee.
If you were to go to a hospital and no one washed their hands, and the surgeons misplaced their anesthetics, and the lighting was poor would you expect to get healed? I would suspect you would likely die and contract a disease!
Would you go to a 5 start restaurant such as Mandarin in honk King or vue de Mond in Australia and expect the chef to not know where his knives are, or have a messy workspace?
These elements must not only be considered when preparing espresso and filter coffee, but must be meticulously maintained, strategies, integrated into the whole business, and be thoroughly tested:
- Design - If you have a lot of foot traffic at the window of your location make every effort to have the bar visible from the street. This results in sales. A linear design is critical. Place your teas and other "occasional' items behind you where possible. Have your milk underneath your bar. You must have a workflow that necessarily moves from grinders, to espresso machine, to milk with placement of tools in appropriate places. Consider lighting and filter setup.
- Foot traffic - How many seats does your cafe have? Do you plan to have 20 percent takeaway or 90 percent? How far do waiters have to walk to get your coffee out? All of these questions must be thoroughly tested.
- Stock control - Placement of stock and location of stock and rotation of stock.
- Sink & amenities - This can be overlooked, however you must be washing your portafilter ever twenty minutes or so, refilling the kettle, and emptying the bins. Make this fluid.
- Everything - That's right the colour and feel of your sponges, the brand and responsiveness of your scales, the temperature of your milk fridge will all impact our service speed and quality. Think and plan them through.
I just wanted to make it known that workflow is critical to making great coffee. If you have some stories on workflow let me know. Or pop in to our coffee bar for a chat and I'd love to help plan your next venue. Further reading When is time to have a 2nd espresso machine?,