Ramping up to SCAA 2004 - and More!
Posted April 15, 2004 5:25pm
Well, in the coffee world and beyond, it's been a momentous week or so. Lots of stuff happened, so let me try to get you up to speed.
Right now I'm in the midst of conducting the third annual Tamper Shootout for CoffeeGeek. It means assembling a group of professionals and enthusiasts to check out 20 tampers we're evaluating for this year's review.
So what's a tamper? Well, as I described it to one new friend (who isn't into espresso), "it's a human piston device". These products are used to compact a bed of coffee into a filter inside a portafilter, for producing the beverage known as espresso. The tamper market has really taken off as of late, but everyone in the biz owes a homage to Reg Barber, of Vancouver Island, for starting this artisan trend.
Back to the tamper test - I've had folks from Bellingham, WA test them, I've had local Vancouverites test them. I've had the crew from JJ Bean test them, and I've had a couple of consumers and pros from Seattle test them. Now I have to write up the article. I'm hoping to get it on CoffeeGeek before I go to the SCAA Trade Show.
New Coop Green Bean Venture Running.
Do you homeroast and live in the US? Want to get in on some of the best beans you can get today, but for almost half the cost of most internet retailers?
Check out the new Green Coffee Co-op. Set up and maintained by home coffee roasters, this is a very cool venture that gets homeroasters together to co-buy green coffee at wholesale costs. For each co-buy, usually one volunteer steps up to actually buy the bag, sort the orders, and ship them off. It's a not for profit private venture, but a token "fee" is paid to the volunteer per lb for their time and effort. You pay the wholesale cost per lb, plus shipping cost, plus the low service fee per lb to get your coffee.
I'm a member. Just took delivery of 20lbs of the best Yemeni you can get today - Yemen Mocha Ismaili Harizi, and I paid about $60 less than I would have if I bought it from other online vendors. Give it a visit and sign up.
Other Green Coffee - in Canada!
Craig Andrews is running a hobbyist green bean operation out of his Ontario home, and recently bought a bag of Yemen Ismaili as well. And I feel bad - asked him last fall... "hey, if you ever get Yemen, let me know, I'll buy 10 or 20 lbs!". Well, he finally bought a bag, but I already have 30lbs of Yemen here - 10lbs I got from McCaw Coffee, and 20lbs from the Green Coffee Co-op.
Craig's sitting on this coffee right now, and will let it go for a great price in Cdn funds. If you home roast, and want one of the most amazing coffees on the planet, Visit Craig's site and enquire!
SCAA Trade Show
Speaking of which, I'm getting amped and ready for this show big time.
I'm going a day early so I can get my certification as a 2004 United States Barista Championship judge. It's going to be grueling - 8 hours of talk, tests, and yes, as a qualifying judge, I have to do a fifteen minute "competition" routine to prove my mettle. I'm actually a bit worried about that.
I've volunteered to judge on Friday and Saturday, and possibly in the finals on Monday if they'll have me. And the rest of my slate is full for the show. Here's what's on tap, and what I'll be covering:
- USBC opinions: I'll be doing a comprehensive article about what it's like to be a judge at the USBC.
- Reports from the floor. We're going to be doing a "blog" style daily article from the SCAA show, which means you should get multiple updates each day about the events going on.
- Interviews with Farmers, producers. This year, I want to conduct at least two interviews with farmers from coffee origin sites.
- CoffeeGeek's 'pride of the show' winners. This year, I'm thinking we may do some informal awards. We'll be trolling the floor for the best new products, booths, and services for consumers. I'm still not sure if we'll do this yet, but I would like to set up some sort of recognition for the best of the best, and make a big announcement and story on the CG website.
- Reverse Panel. I'll be moderating a panel this year, with four (or five) consumers ready to answer questions from an audience full of industry members. Fun fun fun :)
- Attending intensives and seminars, and reporting from them. I'll be attending a variety of seminars and intensive training sessions, and reporting on them, including espresso labs, consumer events, roasting sessions, and cupping sessions.
- CoffeeKids Gala Dinner. I will be attending CoffeeKids' Gala Dinner at this year's SCAA, and will be reporting on the event.
And of course, much more. We have three reporters trolling the show this year, and the blog updates should be fast and furious. I'm looking forward to it!
Other Coffee Stuff
Just a bunch of tidbits.
- Bodum has sent me six cases of glass Veneziano Passione cappuccino cups (that's 6 cases of six glasses), and 12 cases of the Piccolo Passione Espresso Cups (that's 12 cases of six cups!) I'm not even sure why they sent them, but I'm going to use them throughout the year as prizes and stuff for the CoffeeGeek site. Keep a secret, but the first use is giving some of the espresso cups to the well-deserving CoffeeGeek Forum Moderators!
- One of the tamper testers, Doug Weibe, brought me over a late, but very much appreciated birthday gift - a case of ten Guantanamera Cristales. Oh man, I'm in heaven. These are very mild and mellow cigars, but supremely tasty. Each one is in its own glass tube! A very amazing gift. Goes awesome with a shot of ristretto, followed by a nice port. I think this is by far and away the nicest gift I've ever gotten from a CoffeeGeek fan... heck, I think it's one of the only gifts, but I'm not giving hints! (okay I am - anyone going to Cuba? Think of me!)
- New Illy Cups. My main supplier of illy cups now is James Smith from 1st in Coffee. Jim recently sent me two stunners. The full info is below. I recommend them if you're looking for the newest illy cups.