Keyboarders deal with it by getting ergonomic keyboards. Call it carpal tunnel, or a repetitive strain injury (RSI), but the newest worker group to be hit with it is the barista. The repetitive motions of tamping seem to be putting strains on wrists of those who make your daily cup of espresso, so if you see your favorite barista wearing a wrist guard or a wrap, he or she might be suffering from barista wrist. For baristas, there is good news, according to reporter Chantal Martineau. There are preventive measures baristas can learn that will save their wrists and arms from developing painful conditions. Counter-top height adjustments and special tamping techniques are two of the easiest preventive measures to implement. For example, when tamping, a person should use their core muscles primarily, rather than those of the hand. Another way the problem has been addressed is by teaching the staff yoga moves. Learning correct tamping posture the yoga way and some stretching moves for joints and muscles go a long way toward preventing barista wrist. The coffee shops are learning that both customers and staff suffer if tendinitis afflicts any of their baristas. The resultant crooked tamping can cause over or under extraction and cause poor tasting coffee. A little training in correct technique goes a long way in creating a happy staff and a consistently delicious product.
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