Ep3: Why a Coffee Recipe?

I want to write about a coffee recipe. But not how to build a coffee recipe or how to find a great coffee recipe (scroll to the bottom if you want to know how i build a recipe). I want to write about why you should use a coffee recipe.

If you are already using a coffee recipe, awesome! Keep doing it!

This episode will be more for the owners or barista who are yet to be using and dialling in coffee to a recipe every day.

Why a recipe?

Cooking and baking are common tasks that we would more than likely use a recipe and follow it diligently. Why do we use recipes for things?

Consistency and Quality.

What happens if we don’t follow the recipe?

The consistency and quality of the product will be impacted.

We rely heavily on repeat business in our cafes and to deliver that we need to provide a consistent, high quality product.

If you were selling cakes you would be following recipes. So it makes sense to do the same with our coffee.



For an owner having a recipe and using a recipe for coffee makes complete sense. We know recipes deliver consistency and quality, and these 2 things are vital in helping deliver the customer experience. It’s a no brainer, get your barista’s dialling in a recipe or building recipes every day!

Your coffee supplier will have a base recipe for their coffee that tastes pretty good. Encourage your barista to use this as a base and adjust this factoring cup size and flavour profile you are looking for.

Remember to ensure they have all the tools to do this – scales, training if needed etc.

Recipes not only deliver the consistency and quality we need but it will also assist you in managing your cost of goods, inventory and wastage.

If you know how many grams of coffee are being used in your recipe you can work out a revenue range or sales per kilo. For example; the below table helps generate sales per kilo of coffee based on a 22g dose


It works out how many cups you would sell per kilo using that dose.

To keep it simple, on this table a single espresso is used in 1 cup.

To get a more accurate result you could work out the product mix of sizes sold. You can also add a wastage amount if you wish.

Using this revenue amount per kilo can help forecast sales. Also if your coffee sales fall short of what was forecast you can look into whether wastage was higher than normal or even theft of coffee has occured.

To improve this even more enter an opening stock amount + the weeks coffee delivery amount. At the end of the week add a closing stock.


Knowing your recipe and getting your team to deliver a recipe will ensure consistency and quality. The knowledge you gain on what the recipe can deliver your business in revenue can help you build incentive targets for your team. Win, win for you and your team.


Coffee being an organic product is a continual, ever-changing beast. As a barista we should never assume our coffee is at its best today. If we do assume we will never take a risk to possibly see if it is better. I will share shortly on my ways of finding a great coffee recipe but before I do I want to make sure us barista understand the benefits of a recipe.

A coffee recipe becomes a “Ctrl+Alt+Del”. When things go wrong during a busy service press Ctrl+Alt+Del and problem solve the issue. A Coffee recipe puts some controls in place that a barista can then input a process of elimination. This as a barista will reduce stress, errors, wastage and most importantly time.

I get told a lot by both barista’s and café owners that they don’t have time to use scales and weigh in every shot, that they are too busy! I have 2 responses to this statement:

  • You don’t have to weigh in every handle. You can use scales to calibrate your equipment to a recipe. Once results start to move away from the required recipe, then scales should be used to re-calibrate to the recipe.
  • What if weighing in every handle took only an extra 5 seconds but would ensure that you control a variable and help deliver a recipe. Would you do it? If you say no, then ask yourself this – if the extraction was bad would you spend 20 seconds to re-do it? You didn’t want to spend 5 seconds to ensure you could get it right so why would you spend 20 seconds re-doing it?

How I get a coffee recipe

There are many ways to develop a great coffee recipe and there are some great reads out there to help you. What I look for in my results is a balanced espresso – sweet, clean, little to no bitterness.

  • Firstly I determine my dosage weight. Cup size usually help me decide this as dosage weight becomes a way to determine strength. An espresso usually works well as 1 part coffee to 1.5 – 2.5 parts water therefore dosage weight determines how much espresso you get in the cup.
  • Once dosage is determined I then complete a base recipe. This is 1 part coffee to 2 parts water in 28 – 30 seconds. E.g 20g in 40g out in 28 – 30 secs.
  • Taste, taste and taste. Is it balanced?
  • From here I want to find the cliff. The cliff is where the espresso falls away and taste bitter and dry.
  • If I haven’t found the cliff yet I can extract more out of the coffee. To do that I can either run more water through it or I can give the water more contact time with the coffee.
  • Once I have found the cliff where it is bitter and dry I need to extract less.
  • Taste, and look for balance.

Once you are happy with your recipe, lock it in and tell everyone that you are God’s gift to espresso and they should refer to you as Dr. Extraction from now on.

Lasting Thought

I have said this before – never assume your coffee is at its best today!

Fine tune your coffee recipe every day to maximise your coffees potential.

Use a coffee recipe to drive sales and incentivise your team.




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