Systems put in place to monitor quality, equipment & standards

Hey Hustlers,

I am interested to see what systems people put in place in their cafés (or coffee related workplaces) in order to track and keep to a system that promotes quality, efficiency and cleanliness.

I would love to see spreadsheets and checklists (I’m terrible at lists)

Examples would be;

Daily/weekly/monthly logging of water quality testing
Recipe and extraction data of coffees
Machine maintenance checklists
Water system checks
Burr checking/grinder cleaning
Barista journals (Not sure if this exists)
Solubility testing of coffees/roasts

Really looking forward to hearing your inputs.


We are just beginning to implement this now. We have assigned one person to be in charge of this program, and to put it together. Essentially, it used to be the owner/roaster that did all of these tasks, but as the business grows it is almost impossible to dedicate the time required.

As the program develops, we are adding to it. Right now it is dialing in the batch/blends using taste/TDS. Each batch coffee now has its own recipe, which is confirmed with every batch by using a TDS reading. Taste/TDS confirmation is used regularly to confirm accuracy. Changes and adaptions are made by the QC person.

We most recently started on the pour over recipes as well.

A chart has been made up with Coffee type, dose, EK setting, brew method, yield, and TDS.

Espresso is done this way too.

Parallel to this, we have put together a procedure book for every task we can think of. How do we make the syrup? How do we make the cold brew? How do we (insert task here)? It is all in a book, which can be updated quickly/easily.

Coming up will be the water chemistry routine, and result log.

Having one person put all of this together while being the point of contact makes the system much more smooth for us. This is their only task (outside of being on bar/shift work) and they are passionate about the science behind the coffee.


I just got a notification that the person tasked with our QC program has liked this post. One of his duties is to keep up-to-date with the Hustle discussions.

Well played sir.

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Definitely following this topic. As a bit of background, I develop roast profiles (but we have another guy who does the majority of the roasting), do training, product development, RnD, quality, etc. I’ve been doing this only for 3 months so I’m still trying to find my groove, and I’d love to hear from the rest of you guys. And I’m coming into this with an owner who is trying to become more specialized (currently they are a starbuck/peets but want to try to pivot towards a intelli/stumptown)

My tasks at the moment are once a week testing the TDS/EXT of all the batch brews. The tough part is that we have 8 locations. I used to do them all on Monday but I discovered that by doing this I was hitting the same group of employees every Monday. So now I’m trying to set up a new system so I can hit different employees every week.

On Sunday afternoons I take apart espresso grinders at 3 of our stores (always at our home/flagship store which is busiest, then 2 other stores) and clean them, and take apart batch grinders/brew grinders to clean up as well. I’d love to do every shop more than once a month, but our staff isn’t trained yet… and I’m not sure I’d trust them to take apart a mythos and not lose or strip screws.

During cupping and during my first pour over of a batch I’ll record TDS/EXT to test for solubility and consistency.

Friday morning I start by cleaning my office up, sweeping, wiping surfaces down and then giving all of our cold brew equipment and our nitro staging area a really good cleaning. We sanitize throughout the week and before every brew, but shelving and the inside of the walk in do get dirty.

I’m currently using a very specific notebook which you can look at pictures here: but I get them for $16. I like these because they have a ton of pages, a super strong cover, and those tabs which are letters but you can relabel to anything. I use 1 notebook per store for testing batch brew (split origins into different tabs with seasonal stuff all in the last 5 tabs). 1 notebook for post-roast solubility tests. 1 notebook to track grinder cleaning, burr replacement, etc.

I’d love to use a digital system since it would be easier to track change of TDS over time on batch but I like working with my hands and pen on paper.

Also we don’t track water quality yet, but we definitely need to. Just need to buy a bunch of those red sea titration kits.


Hi Rand,

Just a quick question regarding TDS when cupping. What’s your system for measuring? I’ve seen a couple of discussions about whether you should syringe from the bowl or decant.

I follow Prufrock’s standards they established a couple years ago.

It’s a great article and 3/4 of the way down there’s a dropbox link you can check out that has the guidelines

● Select Samples from the most recent consignments. Label all samples on the bottom of each cup with post­it notes.
● Purge grinder with sample and blow out any excess chaff and fines using the lid of the hopper. Grind sample and include all residue of fines and chaff in each cup. Chaff and fines will make it into the portafilter basket so samples should be assessed in their entirety during grading. Remember to thwack the thwacker. Repeat for each sample
● Have a colleague mix up the samples keeping pairs together
● Assess dry fragrance and grade
● Add 180g brew water and crust break at regular 30second time splits for each sample.
● Crust break at 4mins (4 cross­shaped stirs to the bottom of the cup)
● Immediately skim with minimal agitation
● Remove 5ml of each sample at 8 minutes positioning syringe no deeper than 1cm
from the surface and maintain 30 second time splits for each sample.
● Have a colleague immediately record TDS Reading , use VST syringe filters, suitable
for reuse 4 times with cupping strength, twice at espresso strength. Purge filter
between samples.
● Samples should be graded without knowledge of the TDS to prevent prejudice in
favour of the more soluble coffee.

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