#1 How NOT To KILL (or upset) Your Customers - Barista Machines

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How To KILL Your Customers #1 Barista Machines

Unfortunately, there are several ways to kill (injure or upset) your customers with a barista machine…

A coffee shop scenario.

Milk and alternatives to milk are common allergens – meaning they can cause life threatening allergies or debilitating reactions in some people. Dead within 30 minutes kind of reactions.

Milk, soya, nuts (almonds, hazelnut), gluten are common causes of allergies and intolerances. 20% of the UK population self - report food allergies.

Recent press : A large coffee shop chain in the UK changed their oat milk, which now “may contain wheat”. Suddenly people with wheat allergy, coeliac disease, or gluten intolerance, can no longer have a barista coffee from the chain.

Why – the milk frother….will potentially contaminate each coffee with the previous coffees’ milk(s). It may be microscopic amounts, but there is no safe level for allergies. It has to be absolute 0.

Coffee chains tend to have separate jugs for the different types of milk, although I have seen my own oat latte order being made using the soya jug.

Milk is the most common and most deadly allergen in the UK – which is not commonly known, not even amongst food safety professionals and industry experts (in my experience).

Milk allergy is very common in childhood and can be out grown, plus lactose intolerance is very common and less serious so people incorrectly assume milk allergies are mild!

Often baristas allocate a steaming wand to cow’s milk, whilst the alternatives share.

Tough luck if you want a non-dairy latte and you have an allergy to any of the alternatives.

Cloths are used to wipe the steamer wand between coffees, there are no guarantees about the “allergy friendliness” of milk wands, and much of the cleanliness depends on the user of the machine (although cleaning processes and chemicals are advanced).


Purging the steam out of a steaming wand doesn’t clean it to allergy friendly standards. Submerging the wand in hot water at the same time, may even contaminate it even more.

Do customers with food allergies know these things? Does the barista?

I’ve witnessed the wrong milk going into my drink, and once I even had to argue about it having just seen it.

Allergy information might be provided in an allergy matrix (tick sheet/spreadsheet/folder of paperwork). For the consumer its different in every business, but big brands tend to be standardised. Usually, they will have some form of disclaimer to state “everything is in everything”.

It gets very complicated very quickly. Add on top syrups, mocha powders, whipped cream, sprinkles and festive variations. Increasing popularity of vegan options may add to the number of options. Often vegan and standard powders and liquids look identical.

Example: A customer asks for a soya latte, is it because they like it? Are they vegan? Do they have a milk allergy, intolerance or lactose intolerance? Are they allergic to one of the alternatives? Do customers really understand statements like “may contain”, do they read and accept “disclaimers” and have they read the small print “we cannot guarantee 0% contamination”. Have they noticed recipe changes? Now does the barista understand these terms, milk-free, non-dairy, lactose-free and vegan?

Do you?

If not, please join my FREE 5 Day Challenge “How NOT To Kill Your Customers”.

Serve more, risk less and earn more.

Register at inclusivefoodservice.com/register

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