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Would you believe it if I told you that researchers reported today that waste coffee grounds can provide a cheap, abundant, and environmentally friendly source of biodiesel fuel for powering our cars and trucks? It is true. In a new study released today, researchers reported that spent coffee grounds contain between 11 to 20 percent oil by weight, which is about as much as traditional biodiesel sources such as palm and soybean oils.
They postulate that the spent coffee grounds could potentially add 340,000,000 gallons of biodiesel to the world's fuel supply. The scientists collected spent grounds from a multinational coffeehouse chain and separated the oil. They then utilized an inexpensive process to convert 100% of the oil into biodiesel. The resulting fuel actually smells like coffee and has an advantage over traditional bio-fuels in that it is is more stable due to its high antioxidant content. And, solids left over from the conversion process can actually be converted into ethanol!
Who knew that coffee could be so good for the environment and taste so wonderful. Encouraging news for our world.
This post is inspired from Fresh Cup Magazine's article by Chris Ryan about how Coffee-training programs give you and your staff needed know-how.
Making coffee is no simple task. If it’s espresso you’re brewing, the steps are numerous: grinding, tamping, extracting and more. Make a mistake in just one of those areas, and your product will suffer. And if you’re introducing milk into the equation, you better hope it’s steamed to perfection if you’re going to put forward a great drink. If you’re using another brewing method—from French press to siphon to pourover—coffee-to-water ratios, extraction times and more must be just right to produce the best brew.
It’s not hard to see the benefit of having a well-trained staff: The better they make your drinks, the more likely your customers will be to return for them. “With most coffee bars, you’re really dependent upon your employees for your success because they’re going to be the ones that are interacting with your customers probably 98 percent of the time, and they’re going to be the ones that are preparing the food and beverage,” says Ed Arvidson of E&C Consulting. “If your people aren’t trained, then instead of helping you build business, they become a liability.”
With so much time, money and effort invested in choosing the best coffee beans, shops are wise to implement a training program to ensure that those beans are properly prepared. “You can have the greatest product in the world, and if it’s mishandled, ill-prepared or misunderstood, then the quality of the coffee bean doesn’t really matter that much,” says Marcus Young, who does sales and distribution for Batdorf & Bronson in Portland, Ore.
The lengthy coffee education process will reveal general truths about any coffee—for example, over-extracted espresso produces a bitter flavor, while under-extracted espresso has a sour taste. However, one of the main benefits of extensive studying before using a machine is that the employee will become so well acquainted with your particular coffee that once he or she does get on bar, that barista will know how to make the product taste its best. “Knowing the coffee is very important,” says Bastin. “Because if you don’t know your coffee, then you’re probably not going to get the best flavor characteristics out of it.”
Understanding the product backward and forward also gives the barista the ability to troubleshoot when there’s an issue with the coffee or the equipment. Hiccups inevitably happen during a shift, and being able to address them swiftly is a vital skill. “For coffee businesses that don’t do regular training, when one thing goes wrong, every single thing goes wrong. So with training, when things are off, they’ll know how to find the source of problems,” says Sarah Dooley of Visions Espresso Service.
The desire to learn also extends to customers, many of whom are eager to absorb information on brewing methods, quality cups and more. Shops would do well to pass on what they know to the people lining up to talk to them. “It’s a great opportunity for café owners to connect with their customers,” says Young of Batdorf & Bronson. “If you sell 12-ounce bags of coffee, why would your customers need to go to the grocery store to buy coffee when they could buy it right from you? And then you can pass along that training and help them to brew a great cup at home.”