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November Zooms By So Fast...
November Zooms By So Fast...
Posted November 23, 2002 8:45am
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Sigh... as I get older, I definitely don't like it when months seem to go by so fast. That's what is happening now.

It seems like literally yesterday was October 1. It's nearing the end of November now, and exactly one month from today, I'll be on a plane to Ottawa to spend Christmas with my Mom and the rest of my family.

Well, that's boring. You're here for Coffee related things, right? Let's get into it!

First, after much toil and trouble (seriously, it takes time to put these things together!) I launched the 2nd Annual CoffeeGeek Holiday Gift List over at CoffeeGeek. And there's a kick ass contest to go along with it - the biggest ever on the website, in fact: over $2,000 worth of cool stuff to give away. The prize list includes a Nuova Simonelli Oscar with bonus items, an Isomac Super Giada, a Gaggia Coffee (both espresso machines), a Capresso MT500 coffee brewer and a Capresso CoffeeTEAM coffee brewer (with a built in conical grinder). We have lots of smaller prizes as well, including nifty tampers, videos, chocolates and magazines, and more!

I did this last year as well (the Holiday Gift List, not the contest) on the CoffeeKid site, to start, but it moved over to CoffeeGeek around mid December. It was an absolute hit - I think over 120,000 people viewed last year's Gift List. This year, well, in November, CoffeeGeek gets about 110,000 to 120,000 visitors a month, so who knows how many will check out the List! Maybe 250,000 over the 1.5 month run? It definitely boosts traffic to the website - and getting press about the site and the List doesn't hurt.

Speaking of Press, yours truly was quoted in the Wall Street Journal this past week in a story about coffee purity and quality. I was interviewed for about 20 minutes or so, and it resulted in a small soundbyte in a side column. I'm not sure how long this link will remain valid, but here it is if you want to check it out.

This is the third time the WSJ has spoken to me. I was on the phone for over an hour with a reporter once on the subject of home roasting, but was never directly mentioned in the resulting article (though I could see a lot of my words in the reporter's commentary). I was also interviewed about coffee overall and the consumer craze for "specialty" drinks about a month ago, and I tried to dispel the thought that "specialty" equals "frothy lattes". That's not the requirement at least - it's about the coffee bean itself, not the way the drink is built.

Still, it's pretty cool to get some recognition from one of the better papers in the US. I even got congrats from Ted Lingle of the SCAA over the current story. Nifty!

Meanwhile, here in Vancouver, the local press doesn't even know I exist: in the last week, they ran two feature stories on the subject of coffee and espresso - one in the Monday edition, and one in the Thursday paper. One of the topics covered (upcoming Canadian Barista competition) is something near and dear to my heart, and something I seeded in the mind of the person organizing the event - Vida from Coffee and Beverage Magazine.

I'm not bitter actually though - I'm not a fan of the reporting skills I've personally seen in the past from Vancouver Sun and Province reporters. If I had my druthers, I'd like to keep being anonymous in the local press' eye, and continue to be interviewed by people like the WSJ and Reuters and the Seattle PI and similar papers. Knowing what I do know about some reporters (not all) at the Vancouver Sun, if they did "discover" me, they'd probably end up getting me to do all their research for their future coffee articles :)

New Coffees, New Stuff
I got new coffees this week and last. First, Supreme Bean sent me 4 pounds of experimental espresso roasts. Actually, 3 lbs of experimental roasts, and one pound of their premier espresso blend, Espresso Abruzzi. The Abruzzi is my fave so far, but I'll have more detailed notes in another Café Talk.

Next, Zoka Coffee Roasters sent me a lb of their signature blend.

Which did I like best? I actually had a slight nod to the Supreme Bean blend, but I base it on tastes - Zoka goes for a slightly more bright coffee blend for their espresso drinks, and I'm more into deeper body and muted brightness in my espresso. However, I sampled out the Zoka to a few local espresso heads, and it was an absolute hit. Coffee drinking is so subjective! :)

I've also been fooling around with some of Espresso Parts new tampers - the Lava Deluxe. Terry sent me 4 of his tampers to give away on the Holiday Gift List on CoffeeGeek, and I couldn't resist using one of them. Bottom Line? If you dig the neon-ish colours used, (and many do), these are very high quality craftsman tools for building espresso. At $25 and $32 (for the Lava and Lava Deluxe), I highly, highly recommend these. Get the round bottom versions though.

I think that's about it for now. I have lots of other things to write about, but I'll save them for the next Café Talk. Thanks for stopping by!

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