So much news, it will make your eyes bulge
Posted December 2, 2001 4:00pm
It's been a while. There's so much news, so this is going to be a two parter. Part one today, and part two in five days (Dec 7), if you want to head back this way. Here's what will be covered, in one of the most detailed rants I've ever put online.
- New coffees in the house
- Some site news around these parts
- Wrapup for the Homeless Coffee Robot!
- Coffeekid.com in Business Week Magazine
- New cups in the house!!
- New machines on the horizon
- Toolin' around Vancouver's espresso(wannabe) shops with Aaron DeLazzer
- CoffeeGeek.com Launch imminent
- Sneak peak announcements for new contests, prizes and giveaways
- Could Livia be going bye bye?
Whew, as you can see a lot to cover. Let's get into it, but before I do, first a hearty thanks to the fella who recently became this websites FIRST EVER subscriber, with a $5 a month plan. I really appreciate it, dude! Donations to this site have slowed a bit, with only $35 coming in the last month, but hey, every tiny bit helps and I really appreciate it.
New Coffees in the House
I'm completely flooded with new coffees. At last count, I have over 30 different types of beans in the house, all in green. Here's some recent highlights.
Jacmel beans from Down East Coffee (they need a full blown website!).
Terry Montague (firstname.lastname@example.org ) recently sent me some simply amazing beans. The first batch I got were affectionately titled Mme Alix Jacmel, for serious reasons, but was a very limited stock and from Terry's own stock. They just got the new crop in on these beans, and while they aren't as blow away killer as the Alix crop was, they are still very superior beans, super taste notes throughout, and as an espresso bean, they are seriously complex all on their own, no blending required. At $8 a lb green (cdn prices, about $5usd per pound), I highly, seriously recommend them. Read this alt.coffee post (from the google archive) to find out why these beans are so good... and no, I'm not talking about the taste. I'm talking about the story behind them. Good for the soul.
SmithFarms Kona Peaberry.
I'm very fortunate that Cea Smith from Smithfarms likes me. Because she does, I get some of the super rare and fleeting peaberry from their yearly crop (this year their peaberry count was less than 20lbs). My precious little dense beans arrived just two days ago, and I haven't had a chance to roast them yet. If they're anything like last year's crop, I'll be in heaven. Not that their estate grade run is bad, it isn't. It's awesome as well. If you ever wanted to try Kona coffee, I highly recommend you do business with SmithFarms. Not only are they some of the least expensive Kona on the planet, but some of the tastiest as well. Canadians luck out her big time too - Cea can ship slightly less than 3 lbs to you via USPS Global Priority for $9 USD, which gets it to you in an average of 2 or 3 business days. Great if you're ordering roasted.
Cuban Extra Turquino
Something my American buddies can't have. Hey, I'm cool with that. :) Terry M. from Down East Coffee company (1-888-224-2233), mentioned above in the Jacmel story, also recently sold me 5lbs of coffee from Cuba. I've roasted up 454grams so far (two batches in the Alpenrost), and the short and sweet is, it has a very unique taste, but is a bit soft, mainly because they simply don't have the altitude in Cuba like they do in Haiti, Jamaica, etc etc. The Extra Turquino is probably the island's second best bean - there is a Crystale bean that is supposed to be WHAM! But it's priced higher than most Hawaiians, and is very hard to come by. The Turquino is not Jacmel, but it's an interesting bean that went really well when blended with some Kenya AA, and also tasted great on its own in the Hario vac pot. It sells for $14 a lb roasted, $7 a lb green. (Prices Cdn).
Costa Rican La Minita Tarrazu.
Geez, I almost forgot this one! Chuck from Coffee Wholesalers was VERY gracious to put up a LOT of green coffee on eBay's "Auction for America" thing to raise money for the victims and families of Sept 11, and I got in on it, winning the bid on 5 lbs of the best consistent coffee to come out of Central America. Chuck put up 5 or six batches of coffee, including some mega pack. My CR La Minita arrived several weeks ago, and I've roasted up only a small amount so far (3 HWP batches), and it is the usual CR La Minita estate coffee - awesome! La Minita makes the other "famous" CR coffee, La Pastora, weep with shame. Chuck's pricing on the La Minita is stellar too - $6.10 per pound if you buy 5lbs or more. This guy did a good thing, and he's a good vendor to boot, so give him some business if you are in the market for some green. (prices USD) To read more about La Minita, visit their website.
JJ Bean Beans...
I'm very fortunate that people pointed me to JJ Bean, a Vancouver area roastery that services all the Bread Gardens in Vancouver, as well as many hotels and restaurants. I'm equally fortunate that I've become friends with one of the main guys there - Aaron De Lazzer. One thing that JJ Bean will do "for those in the know" is sell any bean they have to you, in green, for half the price of the roasted posted price (JBM excepted). My bean stock was getting low about two months ago (can u believe that???) so I went down and shopped. After hours (which was cool), and ended up going home with about 25lbs worth of beans, INCLUDING 2 lbs of JBM Wallenford Estate, for under $160 Cdn (about $105USD). Not too shabby. I got a good variety, including some Colombian, some Brasil (rare for me), some Kenya AA (this year's crop kinda sucks. Kenya's going down again), some CR, some Java, and a nice mix of some centrals. If you're in Vancouver, head down to Powell and Victoria, check out their shop (and the luscious 4 group La Marzocco FB70 espresso machine they have), and buy some green!
Other Bean Samples.
Terry M (mentioned above) also sent me some beans I've never heard of before - Lintong Zamrud, Malawi Mapanga, Las Sambanas Maracatu, and a few other Haitian beans he's thinking about carrying. I haven't roasted any yet, I have so many beans to go through. Terry's the guy for you if you want some varied and tried and tested beans. His prices are awesome, and Americans especially benefit - with our crappy Cdn. Dollar, the $8 Jacmel is less than $5 a lb for Americans!
Site News and Events
Two new features went up recently, and both give sneak peaks at what the new CoffeeGeek site will look like. I'll talk more about the imminent launch of CoffeeGeek.com (we're in full beta now, with all the reviews ported over to the new site, training for the weekly columnists taking place, and some limited testing by third parties) but for now, I'll talk about the two new features.
Detailed Product Review is online!
I finally got around to doing a new product review. This time around, it's a 4 cup shootout for espresso cups, pitting Francis! Francis! cups against Illy Art Cups, against Saeco Art Cups, against Tognana cups. You can check it out to see who I pick as a winner. There's a lot of stuff written for what some consider an ambivalent subject (espresso cups) but it's a subject near and dear to me.
CoffeeKid(Geek) Holiday Wish Gift List Thing
The other big news around these parts is the VERY detailed Holiday gift list. I originally put this thing up as one giant page in the styling of this site, but then realized that my company's content management software, WIPS (Web Integrated Publishing System) would be ideal for doing it in a much more professional, complete manner. So we did the templates, we did the rewrite, and I added all the products and fotos. I think there's some 80 different products in the database, all with detailed notes and links to places that sell the items. It really was a labour of love, and I hope everyone likes it.
Homeless Coffee Robot No More!
The saga of the homeless coffee robot finally ended, and it is such a cool story. Jeff Morris was the third buyer of the vac pot, and his final bid brought the total to $875 raised for the victims of Sept 11.
For those who don't know the story, here's the deal. I wanted to help out the victims of that tragedy, and the eBay Auction for America thing seemed natural. I put up some items, people bid on them, and the funds go to the folks who need it (100% of the funds). The first auction was screwed up by some people who were only thinking about themselves, but that's history now and the leading bidder, Bearhair, bought it anyway, for $400 USD. Then she didn't want me to send it to her - she wanted me to keep it.
I wasn't having any of that. I sent it. She relisted it on eBay in the charity drive. Mike Gervais was the winning bidder, and he too didn't want it. In fact, he asked for it to be mailed back to me.
I wasn't having any of that. So it went to eBay again. And third time's the charm, the winning bidder, Jeff Morris, helped push the money raised by this vac pot to $875 US dollars. Freaking amazing. Amazing people. Kudos to all of you, it warms my heart. Jeff's the proud new owner, and he's happily displaying the pot. I just gotta (re) send the power cord to him ... I forgot to send it to Bearhair, and I did send it to Jeff but I fudged up the address, and it was returned to me.
Coffeekid.com in Business Week Magazine
This is the last bit for this rant. Just a short mention that I was interviewed over a month ago for a story in last week's Business Week Magazine. The journalist, Larry, really knew his stuff and was heavy into the research. The article was great, though short - originally it was going to be several pages. The Maestro grinder was mentioned (my suggestion) as was the Yama vac pot (mine again). I'm especially happy for Kyle and Kyra at Baratza for this good press. They really deserve it. Great folks.
That's it this time around. Come back on Dec 7 for part two of this long, long rant!