Unit of competency details

SITHFAB204 - Prepare and serve espresso coffee (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to SITHFAB005 - Prepare and serve espresso coffee• Equivalent •Unit updated to meet the Standards for Training Packages. 02/Mar/2016
Supersedes and is equivalent to SITHFAB012B - Prepare and serve espresso coffeeRe-worked Elements, Performance Criteria, Required Skills and Knowledge to more fully articulate content. SITXFSA101 Use hygienic practices for food safety added as a prerequisite. 17/Jan/2013

ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 18/Jan/2013

Accredited courses that have this unit in the completion mapping

CodeSort Table listing Accredited courses that have this unit in the completion mapping by the Code columnTitleSort Table listing Accredited courses that have this unit in the completion mapping by the Title columnStatus
10076NAT - Certificate II in Foundations for Vocational and Further StudyCertificate II in Foundations for Vocational and Further Study Non-Current
10088NAT - Certificate I in Access to Work and TrainingCertificate I in Access to Work and Training Non-Current
10060NAT - Advanced Diploma of International Hotel and Resort ManagementAdvanced Diploma of International Hotel and Resort Management Non-Current
10077NAT - Certificate II in Skills for Work and StudyCertificate II in Skills for Work and Study Non-Current
10089NAT - Certificate II in Skills for Work and TrainingCertificate II in Skills for Work and Training Non-Current
22302VIC - Certificate I in Work EducationCertificate I in Work Education Non-Current
22280VIC - Certificate I in Employment PathwaysCertificate I in Employment Pathways Non-Current
10087NAT - Certificate I in Access to Work and Training (Introductory)Certificate I in Access to Work and Training (Introductory) Non-Current


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 07/Aug/2013 
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Modification History

The version details of this endorsed unit of competency set are in the table below. The latest information is at the top.





Replaces and is equivalent to SITHFAB012B Prepare and serve espresso coffee.

Re-worked Elements, Performance Criteria, Required Skills and Knowledge to more fully articulate content. SITXFSA101 Use hygienic practices for food safety added as a prerequisite.

Unit Descriptor

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to extract and serve espresso coffee beverages using commercial espresso machines. It requires the ability to advise customers on coffee beverages, select and grind coffee beans, prepare and assess espresso coffee beverages and to use, maintain and clean espresso machines. Complex repairs of equipment would be referred to specialist service technicians.

Preparation of coffee beverages using other methods is covered in SITHFAB203 Prepare and serve non-alcoholic beverages.

Application of the Unit

This unit applies to any hospitality organisation which serves espresso coffee beverages including cafes, restaurants, bars, clubs, function and event venues.

It applies to espresso machine operators who operate with some level of independence and under limited supervision.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

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


This unit must be assessed after the following prerequisite unit:


Use hygienic practices for food safety

Employability Skills Information

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements and Performance Criteria

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

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

1. Organise coffee workstation.

1.1 Complete mise en place for coffee service to enable efficient work flow and easy access to ingredients, equipment, and serviceware.

1.2 Place ingredients in correct containers and conditions to maintain freshness.

1.3 Prepare the espresso machine and grinder for service.

2. Select and grind coffee beans.

2.1 Select coffee beans and grind to appropriate particle size according to relevant factors.

2.2 Complete test extractions before service to ensure correct particle size of grind, assess and adjust according to relevant factors.

2.3 Adjust grind regularly throughout the service period according to relevant factors.

2.4 Monitor efficiency of grinder for dosage and grind during usage, resolve or report issues.

2.5 Clean grinder as required during or after the service period.

3. Advise customers on espresso coffee beverages.

3.1 Provide information and recommendations about types of coffee beverages and accompaniments.

3.2 Identify customer preferences and take orders.

4. Extract and monitor quality of espresso.

4.1 Select and prepare appropriate serviceware.

4.2 Select correct filter basket, clean, dry and dose with required amount of ground coffee.

4.3 Tamp ground coffee to make even and level cake.

4.4 Flush group head before attaching group handle to extract espresso.

4.5 Monitor quality of extraction during service period and make adjustments.

4.6 Monitor the efficiency of the espresso machine during service, resolve or report issues.

5. Texture milk.

5.1 Select cold milk and appropriate milk foaming jug to fulfil customer orders.

5.2 Purge the steam wand every time before texturing.

5.3 Texture milk according to type of milk and coffee beverage.

5.4 Visually monitor and adjust the texture and temperature.

5.5 Clean the steam wand on the outside and purge every time after texturing.

5.6 Combine foam and milk through swirling, ensuring even consistency.

5.7 Pour milk immediately after swirling, according to the coffee beverage.

5.8 Minimise waste to maximise profitability of beverages produced.

6. Serve espresso coffee beverages.

6.1 Present coffee beverages attractively and without drips and spills.

6.2 Serve coffee beverages promptly at the required temperature, with appropriate accompaniments.

7. Clean espresso equipment.

7.1 Clean machine parts thoroughly and safely according to organisational procedures.

7.2 Maintain water filtration system according to organisational procedures.

7.3 Refer, to supervisor, faults and maintenance issues requiring technical specialists.

7.4 Use energy and water resources efficiently when preparing coffee beverages and cleaning to reduce negative environmental impacts.

Required Skills and Knowledge

This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • communication skills including active listening and open and closed probe questioning to:
  • determine customer preferences and offer suitable beverages
  • provide clear and accurate information tailored to the customer
  • initiative and enterprise skills to minimise wastage
  • literacy skills to:
  • comprehend workplace documents or diagrams that interpret the content of:
  • safety procedures
  • Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and product instructions for cleaning chemicals
  • organisational procedures for operating, cleaning and maintaining equipment
  • read and interpret beverage menus and standard recipes for espresso coffee beverages
  • write orders and basic notes on customer preferences
  • numeracy skills to visually estimate amounts of milk and make adjustments to doses of ground coffee
  • planning and organising skills to sequence the preparation of beverages to efficiently serve customers
  • problem-solving skills to:
  • identify deficiencies in espresso extraction and make adjustments to ensure a quality product
  • monitor operational efficiency of espresso machine and adjust usage during coffee beverage preparation
  • self-management skills to manage own speed, timing and productivity
  • teamwork skills to discuss and report espresso machine faults and maintenance requirements with supervisors
  • technology skills to use coffee grinders and espresso machines.

Required knowledge 

  • major types of espresso coffee beverages and their characteristics:
  • caffe latte
  • cappuccino
  • espresso (short black)
  • flat white
  • long black
  • mocha
  • piccolo latte
  • ristretto
  • short and long macchiato
  • different types of milk, their characteristics and uses for different types of coffee beverages
  • characteristics of different types of beans, blends and roasts
  • mise en place requirements for preparing coffee beverages
  • methods and techniques for:
  • grinding coffee beans
  • dosing
  • tamping
  • extraction of espresso and presentation of quality coffee beverages
  • texturing milk
  • sequencing orders for the preparation of coffee beverages
  • appropriate pour rate for espresso coffee beverages
  • organisational and industry standards for:
  • serviceware used for espresso coffee beverage presentation
  • accompaniments used to enhance beverages
  • presentation of beverages including latte art
  • storage of coffee beans, ground coffee, milk and other ingredients:
  • correct environmental conditions to ensure food safety
  • appropriate methods to optimise shelf life
  • equipment used to prepare espresso coffee beverages:
  • essential features and functions of different espresso machines and grinders
  • sizes and types of filter baskets and tampers
  • purging the steam wand
  • flushing the group head
  • cleaning and maintenance methods and procedures
  • symptoms of faults in espresso machines and grinders
  • safe operational practices and dangers of working with steam
  • content of MSDS for cleaning agents and chemicals or plain English workplace documents or diagrams that interpret the content of MSDS.

Evidence Guide

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

Overview of assessment 

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

Evidence of the ability to:

  • prepare and present a diverse range of espresso coffee beverages, over multiple service periods, to meet different customer requests, including:
  • caffe latte
  • cappuccino
  • espresso (short black)
  • flat white
  • long black
  • piccolo latte
  • mocha
  • ristretto
  • short and long macchiato
  • present multiple espresso coffee beverages and accompaniments that are attractive and consistent in quality, volume and appearance
  • use the correct equipment ingredients and measures to prepare espresso coffee beverages
  • work with speed and efficiency to deal with numerous service and operational tasks simultaneously
  • integrate knowledge of:
  • major types of espresso coffee beverages and their characteristics
  • types of bean, blends and roasts
  • preparation methods for espresso coffee beverages
  • basic maintenance and cleaning methods for espresso grinders and machines.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment must ensure use of:

  • an operational food and beverage outlet with the fixtures, large and small equipment and workplace documentation defined in the Assessment Guidelines including specific equipment for preparing espresso coffee beverages; this may be a:
  • real industry workplace
  • simulated industry environment such as a training food and beverage outlet servicing customers
  • industry-realistic ratios of service staff to customers
  • a workstation with industry-current commercial grade espresso machine and coffee grinders
  • a commercial range of coffee beans, ground coffee, other ingredients and accompaniments
  • commercial beverage menus and standard recipes for coffee beverages currently used by the hospitality industry
  • MSDS for cleaning chemicals or plain English workplace documents or diagrams that interpret the content of MSDS
  • organisational and industry standards for presenting for espresso coffee beverages
  • cleaning and maintenance procedures for espresso coffee machines and grinders.

Method of assessment 

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

  • direct observation of the individual preparing and serving different types of espresso coffee beverages
  • evaluation of the taste and visual appeal of beverages produced by the individual
  • written or oral questioning to assess knowledge of:
  • major types of espresso coffee beverages and their characteristics
  • types of bean, blends and roasts
  • preparation methods for espresso coffee beverages
  • basic maintenance and cleaning methods for espresso grinders and machines
  • review of portfolio of evidence and third-party workplace reports of on-the-job performance by the individual.

Guidance information for assessment 

The assessor should design integrated assessment activities to holistically assess this unit with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role, for example:

  • SITHKOP101 Clean kitchen premises and equipment
  • SITXCCS202 Interact with customers
  • SITXFIN201 Process financial transactions
  • SITXWHS101 Participate in safe work practices
  • SITXWHS301 Identify hazards, assess and control safety risks.

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, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Mise en place  may involve:

  • laying out:
  • coffee preparation accessories
  • serviceware
  • selecting adequate supplies of beverage ingredients and accompaniments
  • sorting and assembling ingredients.

Equipment  may include:

  • bins for used coffee grounds
  • blind or blank filter
  • cleaning brushes
  • coffee grinders
  • colour coded cleaning cloths
  • espresso coffee machines
  • flat edge implement such as a spatula for levelling off dosed filter basket
  • measuring equipment:
  • stopwatch or timer
  • thermometer
  • milk foaming jugs
  • napkins
  • powder shakers e.g. chocolate, cinnamon
  • service trays
  • spoons
  • stirrers
  • storage bins
  • straws
  • take-away cardboard trays
  • tamp mats
  • tampers.

Serviceware  may include:

  • for different types of coffee beverages:
  • cups
  • saucers
  • mugs
  • glasses
  • take away coffee cups and lids.

To prepare  espresso machine and grinder may involve:

  • preparing grinders
  • preparing and seasoning the espresso machine
  • turning on machines to achieve correct pressure and temperature.

To grind  coffee includes:

  • adjusting grinder
  • operating the grinder using correct techniques
  • pre-setting grinder
  • sensory analysis of grind, including:
  • olfactory
  • tactile
  • tasting coffee beverage
  • visual.

Relevant factors  may involve:

  • ambient humidity
  • consistency of used coffee grounds
  • crema on top of the espresso
  • quality and rate of espresso flow
  • taste.

To assess  may involve:

  • checking:
  • aroma
  • body
  • flavour:
  • acidity
  • bitterness
  • sweetness
  • quality of the crema
  • volume of the espresso
  • sensory analysis, including:
  • olfactory
  • tactile
  • tasting
  • visual.

Customer preferences  may relate to:

  • accompaniments
  • blends
  • serviceware
  • strength
  • sweeteners
  • type of:
  • beans
  • milk.

Orders  may be:

  • electronic:
  • PALM order pad
  • touch screen
  • manual:
  • hand written on order pad
  • memorised.

To prepare  serviceware may involve:

  • marking beverage type on take-away lids
  • warming cups and mugs and glasses for hot beverages.

The dose  may be measured:

  • by sight
  • electronically
  • manually
  • mechanically.

To monitor  may involve checking:

  • changes in colour of cream
  • changes in flow texture
  • extraction rate; speeding up or slowing down
  • steam and pump pressure
  • steam pressure during foaming and steaming
  • used coffee grounds
  • water pressure during extraction.

Adjustments  may be to:

  • dose
  • grind
  • tamping technique
  • water flow
  • water pressure.

Accompaniments  may include:

  • biscuits
  • chocolates
  • marshmallows
  • sugar
  • sugar substitutes.

To clean  may involve:

  • backflushing the machine at the end of a service
  • brushing out doser chamber
  • pouring hot water to clean drainage pipes
  • using correct and environmentally sound disposal methods for coffee making waste including recyclable glass and plastic bottles and containers
  • washing drip trays
  • washing and drying:
  • bean hopper
  • group handle and filter basket
  • wiping down entire machine
  • wiping outside of steam wand and nozzle and purging inside with steam.

Unit Sector(s)


Competency Field

Food and Beverage