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Thread: I'm in a Costa

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrboots2u View Post
    Ask alot of barista in specialty shops and you will get blank looks. Machines are set up to volumetric and dose is by eye. I am not excusing lack of knowledge but alot of people drift into working into coffee shops, rather than because they are obsessed by it.
    Yes - all the above. The staff were super friendly and good humoured and I was very friendly back. The two baristas were Spanish, I think, and this may have been semi-casual work for them. I excused myself for being curious and we chatted a bit. But I was surprised, after a while on this forum, that they didn't know the kind of basic stuff we discuss here. I shouldn't have been surprised - they clearly learned to do their job by being shown how to do it by their trainers. Practice, not theory. And it's a practical job pulling shots all day and cleaning everything up as you go. And being happy to do it and nice to clients for a long shift.
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  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by les24preludes View Post
    Yes - all the above. The staff were super friendly and good humoured and I was very friendly back. The two baristas were Spanish, I think, and this may have been semi-casual work for them. I excused myself for being curious and we chatted a bit. But I was surprised, after a while on this forum, that they didn't know the kind of basic stuff we discuss here. I shouldn't have been surprised - they clearly learned to do their job by being shown how to do it by their trainers. Practice, not theory. And it's a practical job pulling shots all day and cleaning everything up as you go. And being happy to do it and nice to clients for a long shift.
    I would deeply suspect everything is set up for them, after all a high percentage of people coming through the door appreciate a coffee just slightly better than what they have at home and the business is based on that unless you go to established one off's in many of the cities who will have an experienced barista to hand that will possibly answer any queries.
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  3. #13
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    When I worked at a typical second wave coffee place I was asked about the ratios by a young guy and even though I would love to discuss I just shrugged and explained that we use a dosered grinder and volumetric machine
    Anyway back to the topic, I agree that Costa at least the one over here, is pretty dreadful
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  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by les24preludes View Post
    Had a latte in Costa last week. I asked the barista what her brew ratio was. She replied "Arabica".... cryptic stuff. I repeated the question and she brought in the senior barista, who also didn't know. So I said "How much coffee do you put in the portafilter (which she called the handle)"? She said 15g. So I said how much liquid do the two glasses hold you poured it into. 30ml each. So 15:60 or 1:4. I said that sounded a bit weak for a latte. Neither barista seemed to understand the question. We're on the razor edge of perfection here!
    When I was a student I used to work behind bars to earn pocket money and I could pull a decent pint and make a nice cocktail, but if you'd have come up to me asking questions about hop varieties or brewing techniques I wouldn't have had a clue what you were on about. It's the same with most lines of work were there's a small percentage of customers who are really into it as a hobby but it's a low paid, low skilled profession so the people doing it for a living are mostly just there for the cash.

  5. #15
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    It's never likely to happen, but if Costa could find a cost effective and workable way to make their product less variable from branch to branch they'd be onto a winner with everyone from coffee purists to mums with prams.

    There was a time when I just didn't go into many branches at all, I'd only been in 2 or 3 for years and was left scratching my head when people on this forum slagged them off. Yes they weren't amazing but they were a million miles better than Starbucks and the other chains, with friendly staff and clean premises. Then I went into the Market street branch in Manchester and oh my god, I couldn't believe how shit it was. The flat white was undrinkable, the staff surly and the place was filthy. Since then I've been into others that were just as bad and some really quite good ones if you take your coffee with milk.

    The really sad irony is that the one near the town hall in Bolton which ha amazing staff and the best coffee of any shop in Bolton is either closing soon or has already shut it's doors, whilst Manchester Market street branch is absolutely rammed every time I walk past. It just shows how little point there is spending good money on training from a cost/profit view point.

  6. #16
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    One of the worst coffees I've had was in Costa in Knutsford. But that was very much an exception to the rule - overall Costa is my preference out of the main chains, generally they make the least bitter most well rounded flavour compared to Nero or *$ (the latter of which I will now avoid even if it's the only option such as at LHR).

    Am I risking a ban for admitting I secretly quite like the Costa coffee cooler (the one with that weird thickening powder in it, that I don't even want to know what it is). That's my guilty pleasure on a hot day if there is no decent cold brew on offer.

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  7. #17
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    At motorway services we always use the Costa Express machines in preference to the Costa baristas.

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