February Coffee Stuff
Posted February 15, 2004 8:25am
A happy belated Valentine's day to all!
Once again, sorry for the lack of updates around here, life's been hectic and has thrown a lot of curve balls as of recently. I'm writing this from about 38,000 feet above the earth as I fly across Canada to my original home town to spend some time with my family. But many coffee things have happened as of late, and there's a lot of news to share, so here we go.
But first, a shameless plug - I do a lot of photography work, both for CoffeeGeek and for many clients in the coffee business, and one of my primary tools for this work is now up for auction on eBay: my venerable, trusted Olympus C5050 Digital Camera. The auction ends soon (I think it's Tuesday, midday). I posted more information about the camera and why I'm selling it on my non coffee website. Update: I had to relist it, my reserve was too high :( The link above points to the newest auction.
There's been so much coffee news, I'd like to share it with you in bullet point.
- Joe Monaghan leaves ESI: Joe shared this news with me several weeks ago, but it became more or less "official" when it was printed in some Seattle media: Joe's been with ESI (the parent company of La Marzocco) since time began, it seems, but he's moving on with a new job - some sort of "official troubleshooter" with Seattle's Caffe Vita. Maybe he can troubleshoot some of the not-so-nice people who work the booth at trade shows :). I'm sad to see Joe leave ESI, but I understand his reasons - I think all the travel Joe had to do was getting him down, and I know his family and time with his family is the most important thing to him. The Caffe Vita job should keep him grounded in Seattle, and give him the semblance of a more normal nine to fiver job.
- Speaking of ESI and La Marzocco: news broke last week about the US La Marzocco factory shutting down for good. This is true - the lack of the huge Starbucks account (the reason the Seattle factory was opened in the first place) has the most to do with it. There's been a rumour spread about that the reason the factory is shutting down is because LM only sold 400 machines worldwide last year. This rumour is completely false - their global sales are much, much higher than that. The rumour is probably founded on how many machines they manufacturered in Seattle, or how many they sold to Starbucks globally. But you read it here first - the rumour that they only did 400 machines globally last year is a false rumour.
- Tamper shootout, 2004 style: I'm gearing up to do another major "Tamper Shootout" article for CoffeeGeek. Submissions have come in from places like Sweden and Japan this year, and a surprising entry from my home town of Vancouver, BC. My intent was to travel down to Seattle for the Barista Jam (article on CoffeeGeek about the Jam) and get many of the pro Baristi to check out the wares as I record their comments and thoughts, then organize another test with a bunch of consumers later on. I'm hoping the article will come out by the end of March.
- SCAA Atlanta Plans: while I have stepped back quite a bit from my volunteer efforts with the SCAA, I am still doing one thing at 2004 Trade Show and Conference on their behalf (and possibly two) - I'm moderating a reverse panel with four or five consumers up on stage answering questions from industry folks. In fact, I have to get rolling on that, confirming my participants and getting information to both them and the SCAA about what's "goin' down". There's a wealth of volunteers this year on the consumer side, a far cry from last year when I had to hunt folks down and get confirmations from some at the last moment. Should be good.
The other thing I may or may not be involved in is as a Judge in this year's USBC. I would like to judge, but getting certified is something that may or may not happen this year - I can't travel to the Midwest Barista competition, and if I can't pass certification in Seattle, or at Atlanta prior to the competition, I may not be able to judge.
- Free Luxury Room in Atlanta Also speaking of this year's SCAA Trade Show and Conference, Jim at 1st Line has presented me with a very generous gift - the gift of a full suite at the Embassy Suites in Atlanta during the trade show, to give away on CoffeeGeek. I've decided to make it a competition instead of a contest - a writing competition. I have a couple of judges lined up, and for fifteen days, we'll take submissions for articles, then judge over three days the best of the bunch. The winner gets a room that's valued at over $200 a night, for four nights - pretty sweet deal. With taxes, it's almost a $1,000 prize. Look for it soon at CoffeeGeek.
- Espresso Lab, Canadian Coffee and Tea Expo: I've agreed to do a full espresso lab for consumers at this year's Coffee and Tea Expo in Vancouver. Initially, I was going to do this at the SCAA Atlanta show as well, but the fallout with the SCAA made this a casualty. But I am totally geared towards making this one of the best seminars at the Canadian show. I've got agreement from Glenn Surlett at Rancilio to supply all the hardware I need (four Silvias and four Rockys, and a commercial machine setup, possibly), and Greg Filan at Canterbury will take care of some Pavoni machines. I'm hoping as well to get a couple of Saecos; a super auto and a traditional machine. The plan right now is to have a 45 minute talk about consumer machines, then a 45 minute intensive, with attendees broken into groups around each machine, trying their hand at things. This is a consumer event, and it happens in June this year. I'm looking forward to it.
As a followup to the last rant and a company that had stolen my photos. Good news - the removed the offending photos. Bad news? No apology, no offer for compensation, no nothing from EspressoTec. Boo.
As mentioned at the top of this CafeTalk, I'm also in Ottawa again as I write this (it's now a day later). Another false alarm (fortunately), but I had to get here on less than a day's notice. My Mom, who with terminal cancer has been in a hospice for several months, had a blood clot that brought her very close to death. She's recovered somewhat, and they take very good care of her at the hospice, which is always good.
I brought a machine with me as one of my two luggage items - an Innova Dream espresso machine. I brought it because it wasn't working - the pump was defective, and the product supplier also happens to be in Ottawa: Morala Trading. They swapped it with another machine (this time giving me the shock yellow colour) and they even lent me a grinder for my stay in Ottawa - how cool is that. Hamid and Freddy at Morala are true salt of the earth guys, very good folks, and I really appreciate the grinder loan - it gives me my espresso fix in the morning.