Barista Handbook


We opened the doors to our roastery cafe in the London borough of Richmond in the spring of 2018. With a deep dedication to sustainability and quality, our coffee roastery is an expression of our values. We roast on the world’s most environmentally sustainable coffee roaster, the Loring Smart Roaster. By recycling the heat in the roaster the Loring uses far less energy than any other roaster.

Our coffee is sourced within our commitment to sustainability which is:

  • Always pay at least 50% above Fair Trade to coffee producers for our Direct Trade coffee
  • Support the future of coffee through World Coffee Research by donating to their research to help create the next generation of coffee cultivars
  • Support Kew gardens, the leader in finding the coffee species that can be grown in a changing climate
  • Going face to face and visiting the farms we buy from to understand the working standards of our producing partners

The World of Coffee

The history of coffee weaves through the history of nations and peoples all around the world, but it all started in what is modern day Ethiopia. The coffee bean is the fruit inside a small cherry-like fruit that grows on trees. There are many myths surrounding how humans started cultivating coffee but the best evidence is that the first people to begin planting coffee were living in present day Ethiopia. From there coffee spread to Yemen and across the Islamic world before coming to Europe and the rest of the world.

Coffee in the UK goes back to the first coffee house, opened in Oxford in 1652 by an Armenian man named Pascal Rosée. Cafes and coffee houses spread across the UK as the appetite for coffee grew. The history of coffee is also a history of which stories go untold. Coffee was always seen as a commodity, each cup the product of countless people working together across the world, but that story was not part of the wider narrative until the rise of speciality in the late 90's and early 2000's.

Speciality coffee is Arabica coffee which is transparently sold, with farmer names and their story being told. Speciality coffee is also a standard of quality. It is coffee that expresses a unique and distinct flavour, giving those who drink it more than just the generic flavour of coffee. This unique quality is formalized using the Specialty Coffee Association’s score sheet, which qualified coffee sommeliers called Q Graders use to rate a coffee. If a coffee scores above 80 that means it is officially speciality.

Coffee Glossary

Arabica - This is a species of coffee and the most popular one in the world. The second most common is called Robusta, known for its bitter intense flavour. Although they look similar, these two types of coffee are as genetically similar as apples and pears.

Cultivar - Also called varietal, this is the kind of Arabica coffee a given lot is. Cultivars are like different kinds of apples: granny smith, pink lady etc. They all have their own unique characteristics.

Altitude - The best coffee is usually grown in environments with lots of sun and steady temperatures around 23 degrees Celsius. This means higher grown coffee is usually the best. Although altitude is a traditional way to know if a coffee is good, because of the changing climate, advancements in farming and how unique micro-climates can exist anywhere it is becoming less popular to rely on. Don't judge a coffee by its altitude!

Omni-Roast - There are countless ways to roast coffees, from really light to really dark. At Kiss the Hippo all our coffees are roasted using an omni-style which means they will taste great as an espresso or filter.

Processing – One of the most important things that affects a coffee's flavour is how the producer processed the coffee—that is, how they removed the fruit from the bean. The three primary processing methods are:

Washed – The coffee is picked and completely pulped before fermenting in a water tank and then drying. Washed coffees are easy-going coffees and the most common to drink.

Pulp Natural – Also known as honey processing, the coffee is picked and the skin is removed, leaving the pulp on before it is dried. These coffees are usually a bit fruitier and more vibrant than washed.

Natural – The coffee cherry is picked and the seed is left inside as the cherry dries like a raisin before being removed. These coffees are very complex and fruity.

Espresso Brewing

Coffee is like baking—we need to think in terms of ratios. How much ground coffee we use will dictate how much coffee we will make. The best starting point to making great espresso is 1:2 ratio with a brew time of 28 to 32 seconds. That ratio can be expressed on most espresso machines at 18 grams of coffee in to make 36 grams of coffee out. Below is a chart to follow when dialling in your coffee so we hit the right ratio.

It’s always important to remember that you can make your coffee brew more slowly by making the grind finer and faster by making it coarser.

Watch the video


How to Steam Milk

  1. Ensure you have a clean milk jug, a clean cloth to wipe steam wand, and cold milk that was opened within 8 hours
  2. Portion out only the milk you require
  3. Purge steam wand into drip tray
  4. Place steam wand just a centimetre under the milk’s surface
  5. Turn the steam want on and begin stretching milk
  6. Once enough foam is created, lower steam wand to the deeper into the milk and create a whirlpool and create glossy texture
  7. Once it achieves temperature—generally at the moment the jug is too hot to touch—turn off steam wand
  8. Remove wand from milk, wipe steam wand, and purge
  9. If any bubbles are apparent in milk, tap jug on bar
  10. Swirl milk in jug to integrate micro foam and milk

Watch the video


Latte Art - Pouring a Heart

  1. Have your espresso brewed within 4 minutes of when your milk is ready
  2. Align the cup so the bottom of the pattern will be positioned towards the drinker with the handle to the right
  3. Swirl milk jug just before pouring so the foam and milk are integrated together
  4. Pour steadily but not quickly at a height of 3 centimetres from the cup
  5. As the coffee approaches the top of the cup bring the milk spout close to surface and allow milk pattern to create bean shape
  6. In the final moment before the cup is filled, raise the milk jug up and run the stream back through to create the heart

Steps to clean an Espresso Machine

  1. Remove baskets, screens and screw
  2. Place in jug with small amount of espresso machine cleaner and hot water to soak
  3. Place blind filter in portafilter and add small amount of espresso machine cleaner
  4. Engage infinity brew for 10 seconds, then off for 10
  5. Remove portafilter and rinse off cleaner
  6. With a clean blind basket return to group and 5 times engage infinity brew for 10 seconds, then off for 10
  7. Remove blinds and leave handles to sit in water and espresso machine cleaner. Ensure water does not cover handles, only basket and spout area
  8. Clean drip tray and all panelling
  9. Rinse and wipe soaking baskets, screens, and screws
  10. Rinse and wipe portafilters
  11. Replace all parts and put machine in eco mode

Watch the video


Steps to clean a Mythos One or Two

  1. Close funnel and hopper, remove and scoop excess coffee in grinder into hopper. Store hopper coffee in a clean airtight container
  2. Clean hopper with warm water and allow to dry fully
  3. Unscrew burr unit
  4. Unscrew burrs from holder
  5. With a dry brush or cloth, wipe away all coffee oil and particles
  6. Return burrs to mount
  7. Return mount to Mythos
  8. Place dry hopper back on unit

If you're using another kind of grinder contact us at for instructions.

Watch the video


Pour-Over Brewing

Brewing a Kalita, Chemex, Hario V60, Melitta, or any other pour-over style brewer is the same. Just like espresso, you need to think in ratios. This time, however it’s .07 grams of coffee for every 1 gram of water you use per-person. We recommend using 21 grams of coffee for 300 grams of water.

Use just-off-the-boil water
Grind your coffee medium-fine/a quarter of the way to coarse from your finest setting

  1. Place filter in brewer and rinse
  2. Place freshly ground coffee in brewer
  3. Pour 40 grams of water evenly
  4. Stir the grounds to ensure all are wet
  5. Pour remaining water into brewer
  6. Stir 4 times vigorously to agitate brew
  7. Your total brew time should be between 2:30 and 3:00

Watch the video


Batch Brew Coffee

  1. Place filter in brew basket and rinse with warm water
  2. Rinse urn with hot water
  3. Wipe water screen
  4. Grind coffee and place in filter
  5. Engage brewer

Use within 2 hours

Cafe Hygiene

Coffee is food and so we should treat the brewing of coffee with the highest standards of hygiene. Here are some best practices for safely brewing coffee.

  1. Wash your hands for 20 seconds using antibacterial soap before and after handling food, when moving through different work areas like the coffee bar and a storage room, after blowing your nose, coughing and sneezing, and after being in a public space
  2. Always sneeze or cough into the crook of your elbow, away from food or work surfaces. Disinfect any surface that is contaminated by sneezing or coughing. Avoid using your hands
  3. Clean with bleach or anti-bacterial spray commonly touched surfaces like espresso machine buttons, till screens, milk jugs, fridge and door handles etc. on a regular basis
  4. Always track and audit your cleaning
  5. If gloves are used they must be discarded and replaced with a fresh pair as often as washing your hands
  6. If you are coughing frequently, have a high temperature, or are experiencing the loss of or change in your sense of taste or smell, report it to your line manager immediately. If you have come into contact with someone who has Covid-19 report it to your line manager before working.