Being a barista sure sounds cool if you simply imagine pouring little cups of lattes for customers; but the truth is, it is an incredibly physical profession that takes a toll on the body. From being on their feet the whole day to potential slips, falls and burns from wet floors and machines pumping out near-boiling water, it is dangerous to be on that side of the counter. In fact, the first-ever Restaurant Risk Report by AmTrust Financial Services – a US-based workers compensation insurer – found that cafes are the most dangerous workplaces in the restaurant industry, with 45% more time lost than other areas. The leading cause of this time lost is repetitive motion injury, or more commonly known as Barista Wrist.
To make a cup of delicious coffee, baristas use their hands, wrists, and arms extensively, and making the same movements hundreds of times a week increases pressure and strain on the tendons, ligaments, and nerves. A common repetitive hand movement that leads to a serious Barista Wrist injury is the action of putting a portafilter into a grouphead as it involves using an awkward palm-up posture. This occurs when a barista has to place the portafilter unseen into the grouphead and lock it in to a little set of pin locks, which involves a little bit of wrist-twisting and thumb adjustments.
Although this repetitive hand motion has long been accepted as just the way things are done when using an espresso machine, the good news is, Barista Wrist is now an avoidable condition. Thanks to new technology that has rapidly emerged, La Marzocco has stepped in to lead the way. With the launch of their latest espresso machine, the La Marzocco KB90 simplifies and eases the motion of locking-in the portafilter to the group-head, thus setting a new standard in performance for high volume cafes. On the KB90, Baristas will no longer have to make any blind twisting motion. Instead, all that is needed to get the portafilter into the grouphead is simply sliding the portafilter straight forward and its locked in!