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Getting back into the groove once again
Getting back into the groove once again
Posted April 2, 2004 10:50pm
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Macchiato heart
Goin' out to you
This macchiato heart goes out to you!

Everyone who's taken the time to write, or put my family and me in their prayers, or left comments here and on other websites... thank you.

Time to get back into some coffee stuff :)

A lot's happened in the past few weeks as I try to "get back into the groove" of things. There's been a couple of major updates at CoffeeGeek, including the Beginner's Guide to Cupping, another major guide to help you get more into coffee; there's also the exhaustive Micro Casa Semi Automatica review, and the most recent review, a look at the Brew N Go Budget Coffee Brewer. More content is due up soon, including the contest winner from our Write Your Way to the SCAA competition.

The big SCAA Trade Show in Atlanta looms, and we may be setting something up differently this year for coverage. We're currently investigating if we can set up an easy-to-use blog interface for CoffeeGeek so that I and other "on the scene" CoffeeGeek reps can post updates on an up-to-the-minute basis. WebMotif's lead programmer is working on this right now. I hope we can set it up.

My plate is getting full for the show. I've got several confirmed commitments, including:

  • certification process for being a qualified United States Barista Championship judge (a full 8 hour day on Thursday to go through this... oh joy. I am catching an overnight flight from Seattle on Wednesday, landing in Atlanta at 5:40am Thursday morn).

  • Judging in two or more rounds of the USBC, Friday and Saturday

  • Chairing a "Reverse Panel" where consumers will answer questions from industry professionals

  • Setting up meetings and interviews with folks from Transfair, CoffeeKids, and a couple of other worthwhile ventures

  • Sitting in on the very early morning consumer marketing committee for the SCAA

  • Several dinners, luncheons, events that are on my social calendar.

Plus I want to walk the floor, visit several seminars and talks, and of course, watch the finals of the USBC.

I'm looking forward to this year's show. I've had a tough time the past few months, and I think the SCAA show is just what I need to get into a new groove. Look for the updates on CoffeeGeek.

Cupping Coffee
Speaking of that cupping guide, yesterday I went to JJ Bean to participate in their weekly Friday Cupping. We cupped an amazing number of coffees - about fifteen, I think. Plus we compared and contrasted Intelligentsia Black Cat to a new 100% organic and Fair Trade espresso blend that JJ will be using in all their locations now.

I'll say two things. First, Black Cat was "on" yesterday - not quite the best it's been, but damned good. But they better be careful. This new Palomino blend from JJ is easily the best espresso I've ever had from the folks at this local roastery. For a long time, they've gone "bright" with their house espresso, which is great in milk, but straight up, it's too bright for my liking. Not any more. Palomino, besides being damned fine in milk, was deep and rich as a straight shot. Loved it.

I made a mistake though in cupping... I didn't spit once during all the samples (I normally do, but for some reason I swallowed everything yesterday). That, plus all the espresso left me beyond wired. I got a massive caffeine headache about 2 hours after (so did Grady, their Granville Island Manager and Roaster). But I really enjoyed myself.

Got to spend part of the afternoon chatting with a person I haven't seen or talked to in ages: Angie, JJ's head trainer and supervisor at the Granville Island location. Angie's awesome, and I love talking with her - she's as passionate about good coffee as I am. I also made arrangements with her to do the final round of "pro" testing of the tampers I have (over a dozen 58mm designs alone!) for the upcoming 2004 Tamper Shootout.

I started up a new thread at CoffeeGeek recently... Challenge!! Thimble Sized Latte Art!. Basically it came about when Jeanette and I were having a friendly chat and we were talking about how I'm focusing on doing espresso cup latte art these days, and that my skills in doing big bowl latte art have been lacking. She joked "I wonder if anyone's ever done latte art in a thimble?" I wondered if I could do it.

Well, I didn't have any thimbles... but I used these little caps from martini shakers... :)

Speaking of which, another fun thread recently has been the Starbucks makes latte art thread. I had some 8oz SBUX cups around, so I did some examples (including some thimble art!).

Well, that's it for now. I'll try to do another update in a week or so.

Again, thanks EVERYONE for your kind comments, thoughts and prayers.

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