Unit of competency details

SITHFAB012A - Prepare and serve espresso coffee (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to SITHFAB012B - Prepare and serve espresso coffeeE within Version 2 Unit updated to ensure coverage of skills for sustainability. 01/Feb/2011
Supersedes and is equivalent to THHBFB12B - Prepare and serve espresso coffee 30/Jan/2011

ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 31/Jan/2011

Qualifications that include this unit

CodeSort Table listing Qualifications that include this unit by the Code columnTitleSort Table listing Qualifications that include this unit by the Title columnUsage RecommendationRelease
FDF20110 - Certificate II in Food ProcessingCertificate II in Food ProcessingSuperseded
FDF20210 - Certificate II in Pharmaceutical ManufacturingCertificate II in Pharmaceutical ManufacturingSuperseded
FDF30710 - Certificate III in Retail Baking (Combined)Certificate III in Retail Baking (Combined)Superseded
FDF20510 - Certificate II in Retail Baking AssistanceCertificate II in Retail Baking AssistanceSuperseded
SIR30207 - Certificate III in RetailCertificate III in RetailSuperseded
FDF30610 - Certificate III in Retail Baking (Bread)Certificate III in Retail Baking (Bread)Superseded
SIR20207 - Certificate II in RetailCertificate II in RetailSuperseded
FDF30510 - Certificate III in Retail Baking (Cake and Pastry)Certificate III in Retail Baking (Cake and Pastry)Superseded
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SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 110103 Food And Beverage Service 

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 110103 Food And Beverage Service 25/Nov/2008 
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Modification History

Not applicable.

Unit Descriptor

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to extract and serve espresso coffee using a commercial espresso machine, including storage of coffee and cleaning, and care and preventative maintenance of machinery. Care and maintenance procedures may vary according to the machine manufacturer recommendations and warranty conditions. Dosage measuring may be mechanical or electronic. Dosing also refers to selecting the correct amount of ground coffee, appropriate particle grind size and prevailing conditions such as ambient humidity. An espresso coffee is the basis of most coffee-based beverages.

The unit does not cover general preparation of coffee using methods of coffee extraction other than espresso machines, which is covered in SITHFAB010A Prepare and serve non-alcoholic beverages.

The terms barista, senior barista and master barista may have different meanings to diverse individuals and groups. Some prefer to make no designation and refer to a barista as someone who is a trained and expert operator.

No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of endorsement.

Application of the Unit

This unit applies to hospitality and catering operations where espresso coffee is extracted and served. It reflects the role of an espresso machine operator (barista) and others who make coffee using a commercial espresso machine in a variety of hospitality settings.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Refer to Unit Descriptor



Employability Skills Information

The required outcomes described in this unit of competency contain applicable facets of employability skills. The Employability Skills Summary of the qualification in which this unit is packaged will assist in identifying employability skills requirements.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the required performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised  text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge and/or the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria

Elements and Performance Criteria 


Performance Criteria 


Organise and prepare work areas.


Organise coffee workstation according to workplace safety and hygiene practices, to enable efficient work flow and easy access to equipment  and commodities.


Develop preparation and work routines according to enterprise requirements .


Complete mise en place  and preparation for coffee service according to enterprise procedures.


Store coffee and commodities in appropriate airtight containers and conditions to maintain quality and freshness, according to workplace hygiene procedures and food safety regulations.


Provide customer service and advise customers on espresso coffee.


Provide advice to customers about coffee types and characteristics where appropriate.


Determine customer coffee preferences and requirements, and offer coffee style  choices and accompaniments accordingly.


Select and grind coffee.


Select coffee and grind  to correct particle size, according to enterprise requirements and customer preferences.


Take into consideration any environmental and equipment factors affecting dosage, and adjust grind and dose accordingly.


Extract coffee.


Select appropriate cups or glassware and ensure they are warm before preparation.


Measure or dispense required dosage and place into clean filter basket, tamping coffee evenly using correct pressure.


Ensure group head is clean prior to inserting group handle.


Monitor water and pump pressure, and moderate between cycles, according to enterprise procedures.


Analyse extraction rate and adjust where appropriate.


Assess quality of extraction visually and where appropriate by verifying flavour.


Check spent grounds (puck or cake) to identify any required adjustments to dosage and technique.


Release or purge water for two seconds from the group head before placement of group handle to extract coffee.


Texture milk.


Select correct cold milk and appropriate clean, cold jug according to espresso requirements and quantity on order.


Expel excess water from steam wand before and after texturising milk and wipe clean after use.


Texture milk according to milk type and specific order requirements.


Combine foam and milk through rolling, ensuring even consistency.


Pour milk promptly, evenly and consistently, according to coffee style and customer preferences.


Serve and present espresso coffee.


Present coffee attractively using clean ceramic or glass cups and avoiding drips and spills.


Serve coffee at the required temperature, according to customer requirements and style, with appropriate crema, milk froth and accompaniments.


Clean and maintain espresso machine.


Follow required OHS and enterprise requirements throughout all cleaning  and maintenance procedures.


Clean all machine and parts thoroughly and safely according to manufacturer specifications and enterprise policies and procedures, using appropriate cleaning methods  and recommended cleaning products and materials.


Carry out allied end of service activities .


Monitor and assess  the operation and efficiency of the espresso machine and grinder during usage and take appropriate action where required in relation to defects and faults according to enterprise policies and procedures, OHS and warranty requirements.


Identify situations requiring the attendance of a trained service technician, licensed electrician or a designated senior person within the enterprise.

Required Skills and Knowledge

This section describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level, required for this unit.

The following skills must be assessed as part of this unit:

hygiene and food safety practices related to making, serving and storing coffee, coffee products and service equipment

techniques for dosing, tamping and purging group head

extraction and presentation of quality coffee

milk texturing skills

safe work practices when using coffee machines and other equipment, including posture at workstation

numeracy skills to calculate and measure doses of coffee.

The following knowledge must be assessed as part of this unit:

major coffee styles and their characteristics

types of bean, blends and roasts with a particular emphasis on espresso roast

key principles of coffee making

appropriate pour rate for espresso coffee (industry recommended rate is 30 ml in 27-32 seconds depending on type of espresso coffee ordered, customer preferences and the coffee blend)

factors that affect quality of coffee

types of grind and grinding equipment

types of machines and equipment and their main features and differences

sizes and types of filter baskets, tampers and other equipment

different milk types and their characteristics, including requirements for handling and storing milk

storage conditions and requirements for coffee and commodities

cleaning and maintenance procedures

symptoms of potential faults in espresso machines and grinders

sequencing and production of orders.

Evidence Guide

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, the range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for this Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency 

Evidence of the following is essential:

ability to recognise quality in espresso coffee, meet customer requirements and expectations, and identify factors affecting quality and required outcomes

ability to address problems during preparation and service of espresso coffee

ability to extract and present quality coffee within realistic timelines

compliance with all workplace hygiene and food safety regulations

safe work practices in making espresso coffee.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment must ensure:

access to a workstation with industry-current commercial espresso machine and appropriate equipment, including:


coffee grinders or mills

serviceware, including cups, saucers, glasses, mugs and flatware

weighing and measuring equipment

storage bins in appropriate sizes and materials

blind or blank filters


espresso cleaning detergent

bins for discarded pucks or grind tubes

access to a range of coffee types and commodities

preparation of quantities of coffee items within industry-realistic timeframes for multiple customers simultaneously

preparation and service of varieties of coffee types to meet various customer requirements.

Methods of assessment 

A range of assessment methods should be used to assess practical skills and knowledge. The following examples are appropriate:

direct observation of practical demonstration of extracting and serving coffee over an entire service period

tasting of coffee prepared by the candidate

use of video or peer observation

written or oral questions to assess required knowledge relating to preparing and serving espresso coffee

review of portfolios of evidence and third-party workplace reports of on-the-job performance by the candidate.

Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role is recommended, for example:

SITXOHS002A Follow workplace hygiene procedures

SITHACS006A Clean premises and equipment

SITHFAB010A Prepare and serve non-alcoholic beverages.

Assessing employability skills 

Employability skills are integral to effective performance in the workplace and are broadly consistent across industry sectors. How these skills are applied varies between occupations and qualifications due to the different work functions and contexts.
Employability skills embedded in this unit should be assessed holistically with other relevant units that make up the skill set or qualification and in the context of the job role.

Range Statement


The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording in the performance criteria is detailed below.

Equipment  may include:

types and brands of coffee grinders or mills and coffee machines

serviceware, including cups, saucers, mugs and glasses of various sizes


weighing equipment

measuring equipment


blind or blank filter and espresso cleaning detergent


storage bins in appropriate sizes and materials

bins for discarded pucks.

Enterprise requirements  may include:

policies and procedures related to persons authorised and trained to carry out particular activities related to machine operation, adjustment, cleaning and maintenance

circumstances requiring the services of an authorised and trained technician

specific requirements for routine and non-routine cleaning and maintenance

requirements for checking and replacing parts and equipment

specific requirements for decoration of coffee prior to presentation, such as stencils, logos, sprinkled toppings and coffee art

policies and procedures for stock control, ordering and rotation.

Mise en place  and preparation for coffee service include:

turning on machines to achieve correct pressure and temperature

setting out cups, mugs, saucers, plates, jugs, glasses and other required serviceware

ensuring adequate supplies of coffee, milk varieties and sugars, including specialised sugars and substitutes

assembling flavourings and toppings

laying out flatware, serviettes and wipes.

Coffee styles  to be prepared must include:

short black (espresso)

long black


flat white

caffe latte

short and long macchiato


Factors to consider in grinding  coffee include:

pre-setting grinder

sensory analysis of grind, including:




tasting of finished product.

Cleaning  procedures include:

wiping down entire machine to ensure cleanliness

purging reservoir of hot water, releasing steam and backwashing the machine with an appropriate cleaning solution

pouring boiling water to clean drainage pipes

backflushing the machine at the end of a service cycle, using clean water to ensure no chemical and other residues are left

cleaning the bean hopper using wet method, and drying thoroughly before refilling and storing

brushing out dispensers

cleaning all remaining parts using dry cleaning method

backflushing group heads according to recommended industry methods, using a blank filter and appropriate machine detergent

using colour-coded cloths, such as using blue for general cleaning and yellow for cleaning and wrapping steam wands

wiping steamer wands after each use, using a damp cloth

where there is build-up or caked-on product, wrapping steamer wands in a clean cloth, opening the valve and allowing hot water, with steam venting, to soften caked-on milk and then wiping with a damp cloth

washing drip trays

removing shower screens and diffusers if appropriate, cleaning using wet method and reassembling

cleaning around the inside of the group head using an appropriate brush or cloth

cleaning group handle and filter basket and steam arm spout after removing, using the wet method.

Cleaning methods  must include using a range of techniques, including:

wet techniques: using warm water with recommended detergent for soaking various parts and cleaning with sponge, damp cloth or scourer (only for group handle)

dry techniques: using a damp cloth followed by a dry cloth.

End of service activities  include:

removing beans from hoppers at the end of service day or shift

storing according to enterprise requirements.

Monitor and assess  the espresso machine and grinder may include:

ensuring the dosing chamber delivers the correct dosage of coffee

checking steam and pump pressure

stripping the grinder of external working parts, observing required safety procedures according to enterprise requirements.

Unit Sector(s)


Competency field

Food and Beverage