"....when using the digital grinder, should we be setting the dose amount to be higher to achieve a good espresso or have less dose and focus more on the grind size to achieve the time, pour and crema we are looking for?...
Not trying to be facetious, serious post please bear with me just trying to help:
Do you think there is a "funny taste",or not? You seem to only be going on what a client allegedly said to someone else...the other barista?...If so, does she think there is a "funny taste", or not?
If not, why try to accommodate something that someone said when its basically hearsay?
If you think there really is a "funny taste", you will need to determine what you think is going on first.
After that, the question cannot be answered in a straight forward way because:
a) it depends on the individual who is setting the grinder and what he/she desires in the character of the brew. By changing grind VS dose VS tamp you get different characters.
b) we don't know the modus operandi of your cafe being how do you make the coffee / what is the desired effect? Standard filters ("baskets") and split pours a la "standard espresso" spec OR, std filters no split (ie double dose everything / use naked etc), Larger than std filters, split pour, OR, larger than std filter no split / naked.
c) additionally we don't know the character of your coffee supply or what it cups like in any of these scenarios nor in the particular size of cups you use.
I understand this may sound difficult but it is nothing more than the reality in a coffee world where no one wants to do anything "standard".
If you desire to have the same character in the coffee, as you used to have when using the previous grinder, there is no reason why the "digital" (presumably a programmable grind on demand) grinder cannot be set up to achieve that. But you have to do the leg work by changing grind VS dose VS tamp and cupping, until you achieve the desired result. You are johnnyonthespot, and we are not
What will you do, if the changes you make to grind/dose/tamp are all good, just different in character? You have to decide which you like best, and that is what you will present to your clients. That is, you are not trying to present to hundreds of clients, what you think each on e wants, you are presenting to them what you, the pro baristas and your coffee supplier, decide is a great product to sell to them. Its impossible to keep individual clients happy if they all want something different....Do you see where I am coming from?
The other thing that comes to mind is the following and it has to do with client / coffee psychology, and again, it is up to you to try and interpret what these people have told you so that you may or may not even bother making any changes.
a) Is the "new" coffee good, but just different? What do YOU think? If so, why change back to the "old" scenario?
b) Often when clients see
a change (eg new / different type equipment / grinder), they feel they need to make an observation. If there is a real difference what does it mean if the coffee is still great? Not all clients have a good palate or know what they are talking about. Do you trust these clients to have told you something legit, or is it just a bum steer? What do YOU think?
c) It is EXTREMELY difficult to make an observation about a new coffee VS the old coffee, when the old coffee is gone and only exists in the memory of the adjudicator. The only legitimate way to make a legitimate comparison is to do a one on one, side by side comparison. Observations made by clients who you really don't know, with capability of palate and/or bona fides unknown, when relying on their memory of the "old" coffee, have to be treated with a certain level of suspicion AND they can often be proven wrong if you suggest to them that you have now "fixed that problem" and give them another cuppa where you actually didn't change a thing......and they then make the observation that this coffee is great and "back to normal".... Certainly you need to listen to them and treat their observations seriously, but then you need to be able to work out a solution and it may be that you shouldn't actually do anything if YOU don't think there is a need to.
That's all just client psychology. You are in charge of the coffee making station. You need to be able to understand this stuff and be able to set the equipment to do what you want. That is the essence of a real, professional barista. Seek help certainly (should be your coffee supplier) , but only so that you can learn from your helper, not so the helper does the work for you without you knowing what he's done (which is unfortunately what a lot of "baristas" do)... Remember the old proverb....a man tells a fisherman that he's hungry. The fisherman teaches the hungry man how to fish....he doesn't just give the hungry man a meal or a fish to cook...this way the hungry man will be able to look after himself forever more, instead of relying on others handouts...).
Reiterating a comment above.....you should involve your coffee supplier. If he is a career professional (in this day and age, many aren't....) coffee roaster, he knows the coffee and will be able to help you achieve what he thinks is a good character in the cup....
Lastly. You asked a very good question that shows you are thinking straight. Keep it up, and you will do better than most, who are nothing more than equipment operators who abdicate from all responsibility of the equipment settings and the end result in the cup, often "blaming" the coffee (and supplier) for something that is actually happening at their own work station (most often, because they don't know how to set a grinder up to a machine for best results with the supply of beans...its a vicious circle)
Are you cupping first up each morning to see if you need to make any adjustments before opening for biz, and then occasionally cupping through the day to make small adjustments? This is a must in a pro outfit, and if you are already doing this, all the above is a moot point as you presumably already have good coffee (so what does it matter if someone thinks something changed...)
Hope that helps
EDIT...I should say, the capital letters in references to "YOU" above are nothing to do with *yelling*. They are to indicate that in fact what YOU think really is important in the scheme of things. I could have bolded lower case letters but that's just a chore and far easier to just write the capitals...