soft_skeleton Junior Member Joined: 18 Sep 2013 Posts: 2 Location: Texas, US Expertise: I live coffee
Posted Wed Sep 18, 2013, 10:51pm Subject: Help!
So I've been a barista for the past two and a half years now and I love it. I primarily work retail, but I've delved into working with coffee at home as well. I currently for a small chain of cafes-within-bookstores and I have a serious problem that I need help with. We work primarily with a two-group Nuova Simonelli Aurelia volumetric espresso machine, and to put it simply, it's extremely gross. I pulled the cover for the cup warmer today and what I discovered beneath has made me never want to touch another oz. of espresso from my store again. It's gross. Scalded milk mixed with espresso grounds baked onto the boiler, group heads, just.. Disgusting.
I've been coming in for an extra two hours a week to perform cleaning and minor maintenance on our machine and grinders, and well, I don't know what to do with this, honestly. It's pretty shocking. More than likely a health code violation and a fire hazard. I've working with this company for only three months and I take pride in the craft of being a barista and serving good espresso, but this is a travesty that I had no idea about.
I've attached a a link to a gallery containing photos of the espresso machine below. Any help would definitely be appreciated.
Nothing a thorough cleaning can't fix, but I must admit it surely looks unappetizing. Unfortunately, I believe quite a few coffee shops actually neglect maintenance and cleaning. At least that's what a random survey in Germany brought to light.
*** "This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee)
Work IT people have your link blocked from my view...but yeah, it's disgusting to see a huge mess inside of a machine, or in any food service area. I've opened my own machine a few times, and well, I don't ever see a mess inside of it. I find it hard to even come up with how it might happen. Well, I can see spilling drinks as one passes them over the top of the machine to customers...but no one should be doing that, and it doesn't explain grounds inside of the machine.
Anyhow, I think the good news is that what runs inside of the machines components to make the drinks is isolated from the disgusting mess. (not to say it can't be hazardous and doesn't need cleaning).
As for what to do about it...first step is talk to the boss and show him/her. If there's no support there for behavioral changes in your co-workers, find another job.
Well...for sure just my $0.02
. Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
I have not looked at the pics but have no reason to doubt you. I have bought used commercial gear for things for myself and inside is most often quite nasty. There is an equipment dealer (several really) I often visit and there is a smell all it's own for used commercial cooking gear when it is piled in bulk together.
The good thing though is that no matter how gross the inside of the machine is, the food contact surfaces are inside the nasty components and as long as the places like the brew group is clean and not dripping with crud, the product is safe to consume. Gross inside the machine but OK to consume.
Welcome to commercial food service!
EDIT. OK I looked at the pics. Yes it is worse than most but remove the loose grounds and give it a quick swipe with a rag (dirty or clean, your choice) and you will have something close to what is inside most machines. Calcium spray from the vacuum breaker is very common as is green copper lines and fittings from slight leaks over the years.
In real life, my name is Wayne P.
Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
Looks nasty but a lot of it looks like just scalded milk and coffee not rust and melted wires. :) I'd look into a rental machine so you can take this one apart and clean yourself. If you have a local repair shop they can acid dip everything for you. Only takes a few seconds. The rest (casing and frame) you can just clean by hand. Not as bad a problem as it looks.
Actually, for some reason everybody who works in the cafe keeps our steaming pitchers, utensils, and portafilters on top of the machine. I've told everyone that it's an ill-advised practice, since the top of the machine is typically for warming cups. So it basically explains all of the spillage inside of the machine.
Essentially I work with a group of people who have no business working in coffee or at coffee shops.
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