Ergonomic Tricks with Alexandra LittleJohn

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Alexander Littlejohn, Equator Coffee & Tea’s national sales manager, has seen a lot of coffeehouses that understand the value of ergonomic practices, and many don’t. In the feature “Barista Ergonomics” she explains why training and job rotation matter. Here are a few more tips to help you improve the ergonomics of your café.

Smaller trashcans/grounds buckets: The smaller receptacles are, the easier their contents are to lift, and the less it strains shoulders and backs.

Half gallons: Why carry a heavy gallon, when a half gallon will suffice? If your dairy distributor has them, consider smaller milk sizes for your bar.

Bus tubs at waist height: Hiding bus tubs under counters might make aesthetic sense, but it’s rough on the back. Keep dishes at waist height, and always lift with the legs.

Cups stacked low: Teetering piles of ceramics on espresso machines and shelves require more reaching than necessary.

Milk wells: Snug wells of ice set into the counter hold containers of milk, non-dairy milk, and other perishables in close reach.
Branded spit-cups: Encourage your employees to occasionally spit coffee out after tasting, especially if they’re already on shot four or five.

Personalized water vessels: Hydration is hugely important to barista health. Drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated and between tastings to prevent palate fatigue. Lidded, personalized vessels help avoid health code violations and ensure water is always in reach.

Throwing a punch: This is a great analogy for tamping. Keep your wrist straight, like you’re throwing a punch; don’t twist it.

Regan Crisp is Fresh Cup’s associate editor.