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Adventures in CoffeeLand!
Posted March 14, 2003 12:10am
Folks, my sincere apologies for the lack of updates around here recently. There's no excuse, especially to the half dozen or so who have been paying a monthly voluntary subscription to this site. I will try to do better.
I also polled a bunch of people who visit this site recently (some at the Barista Jam last month, read about it here for Day One and here for Day Two) about what they find lacking or would like to see at the old CoffeeKid homestead. Besides more content (including a lot of the "lost" content when I redesigned the site) I got the sense that people would like to see me do more of a "weblog" type thing here on the Cafe Talk page.
First, I'd like to put the poll out to you here: what kind of format would you like me to do on the Cafe Talk page (the page you're reading right now): single topics like I've been doing, or would you like to read about my daily adventures in CoffeeLand, or would you like to see me just froth at the mouth about stuff that reeeeeeely peeeeeesis me off? :) Please use the comments feature at the top of this rant to leave your comments on how you'd like to see this page "work".
For this particular Coffee Talk, I'll make it a long one, and I'll follow the "Mark's adventures in CoffeeLand" format. If people like it, I'll come back in a few days and continue (with albeit shorter, hopefully daily versions).
In the Past Few Weeks
Besides the Barista Jam event, it seems not a day goes by when I don't have some heavy coffee or espresso involvement. Let's see if I can do this point form.
- New Machine in the House This is actually very old news now (I got this machine almost 2 months ago), but I was asked to keep it confidential for some time by the folks at ESI and La Marzocco. A few days ago, I was given the go ahead to say it publicly, so here goes: I'm the proud and very privileged owner of a La Marzocco Linea 1 group espresso machine. But it's an especially unique machine: it's one of only two on the planet that was specially designed to run on 110V. That's right - the dual (5 litre and 3 litre) boiler La Marzocco machine, running on normal household current. And on top of that, it is one of the fastest steaming machines on the planet - faster than "stock" La Marzoccos, which are considered the industry's best steaming machines. Reason? The steam boiler is specifically designed and tuned on my machine to work at 2BAR - most commercial machines have the steam boiler at 1.4BAR. I'll have more about this machine at a future date, possibly on a special page on this website.
- SCAA and Me I'm very heavily involved in the ongoings of the SCAA which I am happy about - I believe in almost everything the organization is trying to do. I'm a committee member (Consumer Marketing Committee) with the organization, and working hard to make a new membership category a reality: the new eMember. Soon (as in within days) you'll be finding out a lot more about what eMembers are all about, but here's the very short version: two categories, basic and premium ($18 and $45 per year). Both get access to special parts of the SCAA website, an eMember mailing list and/or newsletter, and invites to special regional consumer events like cuppings, roaster tours, barista training sessions and the like. Premium members get more, including special events like "celebrity chat sessions" on the SCAA site, deep discounts at the SCAA Resource Center, and more. It's still fluid (what eMembership will involve) but it's firming up. CoffeeGeek will have the scoop in a short while.
- Fortune Elkins I had the singular pleasure of inviting Fortune Elkins (her website) into our committee as the Consumer Liaison committee member. Fortune is one of the most enthusiastic coffee aficionados I know, and she brings a LOT of good ideas to our committee, and a fresh kick too!
- Booked my tix today for a trip Jeanette and I are taking to Ottawa then Boston in April for the SCAA show. It's a two week trip for us, first time spent with my Mom (who unfortunately got more bad news about her cancer yesterday) then a week in Bean Town. If you plan on going to the SCAA Annual Conference and Exhibition look for me, I'll have a string of badges on (volunteer, seminar presenter, press pass, committee member). My itinerary for the four days (Friday to Monday) is incredibly tight - I basically have four free hours the entire weekend, and I need that time to walk the trade show floor - I hope people will understand when I say "I gotta run"! :)
- New Machines Some new machines arrived recently (besides the La Marzocco machine) because they were "reserved" some time ago (side note: I have a moratorium in effect in accepting new equipment for review on CoffeeGeek, until I can clear the backlog somewhat). Two of the machines are super autos: the Capresso S9 and the as yet not for sale Capresso F7. I've actually been really impressed with the S9. It needed some serious tweaking and understanding of how espresso is made to get the most out of it, but it's a dual boiler (actually stainless steel thermoblock) machine, meaning it can brew and steam at the same time. I've actually done some latte art with it, in fact!
- A little help from my friends Recently I've gotten some much needed and appreciated help from two local Vancouverites in writing the First Looks and Detailed Reviews on the CoffeeGeek site. Doug Wiebe has been helping with a completed review on the Gaggia Carezza (awesome review quality too), which should be on the website within a month. He's now working on the DR for the Gaggia Classic. Dana Leighton is helping with reviews on the Rancilio Rocky and the Rancilio Silvia. Dana's First Look for the Rocky is now online.
- Jeanette the Barista! Jeanette, a life long tea drinker, is turning into sumkinda serious espresso maker. She still doesn't drink much espresso, but since the LM Linea arrived, she's become enchanted with the machine. She's brewin' shots, makin' americanos, doing latte art, you name it! How cool is that? She even wanted to enter the Barista competition at the Barista Jam, but I had to disappoint her when I told her it was for pro Baristi only.
You know what? That's a lot of info to digest. I could easily write double the length of info, but I think I'll save it for my next "Adventures in CoffeeLand"! Don't forget to leave comments on what you'd like to see on this page on the site in the future (you can also leave comments about what you'd like to see in other parts of CoffeeKid, but make sure you give me some feedback on this CafeTalk page!