Tamp This

Slow Food to CoffeeFest
September 9, 2008, 8:39 pm
Filed under: coffee nonsense | Tags: , , , , , ,

I’ve worked at several New York slow food restaurants, so I was familiar with the values and concepts of the organization.  I was very also very excited to be a part of the 1st giant event to be held in the States, but I had no idea what I was in store for.  We heard about the event months ago since it was held in our new city, just a few blocks from our apartment in the Marina.  It was more than I could have imagined!  The other tasting pavilions were great, but nothing compared with the coffee tasting, tea came close with their 10 minute educational tea services, but coffee… wow.  Andrew, Tonx, and Eileen did a fantastic job, and Brent… wow, Brent was in charge of wrangling the volunteers, the all star cast was there, barista champions, green buyers, roasters, producers, equipment specialists, working together! There are other posts about the event, and many, many pictures, so I just wanted to say it was such a privilege to be a part of this, and if it ever happens again I’m volunteering now.  Thank you.

Also, slow food left Ritual a little short staffed so, it was a pleasure working with several out of towners.. so a big shout out and thanks to Ben Kaminsky, Nick Griffith (who just came in for coffee and saw us floundering and jumped on bar!), Danger Dan Griffin, and Jenni Bryant!  You guys are my heroes!

This post is helping me procrastinate on preparing for a weekend trip I’m leaving on tomorrow.  Chris Owens, Chris Baca and I will be renting a car and making our way north, potentially into Canada.  We’ll be stopping in the usual haunts, Portland, Seattle for CoffeeFest and Vancouver!  I’m very excited, but I have no idea what to pack….

I cut Ben Kaminsky’s hair out back… photos by Owens

check my flickr for some hopefully amusing photos


times they are a changin’
August 20, 2008, 9:32 pm
Filed under: coffee nonsense

I was just looking over the changes in the WBC rules and regulations…  I like them I think… Drinks don’t have to be served at the same time.  There is also no more under the table storage.

What do you guys think?

a return..
August 18, 2008, 6:21 pm
Filed under: coffee nonsense

Yes, Yes, it’s been a while… so sorry. I’m going to blame it on acclimating to the weather here in San Francisco.

A news update..

San Francisco is about to be the gathering place of large group of the talented coffee professionals next weekend, and no one is even competing! Slow Food Nation will be happening over the Labor Day weekend.  It’s an event to celebrate well crafted foods and beverages. Besides there being a giant coffee tasting pavilion, there will be beer, bread, cheese, chocolate, honey, fish, olive oil, pickles, tea, and wine tasting pavilions. The amazing and talented Tonx, Andrew Barnett, and my boss, Eileen Hassi are curating the coffee tasting. There will be coffees from some of the best roasters from across the States, as well as some of the most amazing baristas from all over leading people through eye opening coffee experiences. But, maybe the most exciting part will be all the producers that will be there, rumor has it that Marysabel from Finca El Puente in Honduras, Abdullah Bagersh of Misty Valley and other Ethiopian coffee fame, Jacques Pereira from Carmo do Minas in Brazil, as well many others will also be attending! It’s going to be an all star cast, for sure!

My talented co-worker, Chris Baca, and I have started working on a new training program.  It’s turning into a monster, but a monster program that will produce well-rounded, skilled and confident  coffee professionals.  Watch out guys, we’re forging elite baristas out here on the west coast.

ps… Ritual has many many new coffees, as well as a new espresso blend! Espresso Lifesaver is pretty much rockin my world lately… there’s Misty Valley in it so how could it not be..

Coffee Across the Country: Part 3, the South West
June 20, 2008, 4:14 pm
Filed under: coffee nonsense, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Sorry, one more traveling post and then I can move on. Leaving New Orleans was sad but we felt energized for the days to come. Following I-10 across Louisiana, crossing the longest bridge over swamp/marsh lands and half way through Texas to stop at Chris’ mom’s house in Bandera. No joke, Bandera is the cowboy capital of the world. The next day we made a small day trip with his mom to Austin, TX. Although we didn’t see much of the city, Austin was pretty rad. Of course, we visited Caffe Medici, home of the 1st and 2nd place South Central Regional Barista Champions, . They proudly serve coffees roasted by Cuvee Coffee. I was feeling a little bad for the baristas there though, it was already so hot and humid, I’m sure they were struggling to keep the shots consistent, but they did a stellar job!

Before we could get out of Texas we were stopped by the State Patrol and given a ticket for speeding. As my dad would say, “Damn, the bad luck.” Our drive continued west through New Mexico and into Arizona, where we stayed with Chris’ grandparents in Tucson.

We visited the Safehouse. They brew coffee roasted by Roaster X. Their espresso blends were called Dada and Firecracker, and pulled through a 3 group Astoria lever machine. Next up was a new shop in Tucson, Crave. It’s comfortable with an alternative, retro edge. And they have an amazing bar to sit at. We spoke with the owner, Kim and barista, Logan, for quite a while. Kim really wants to push coffee quality in AZ, she’s going to start leading cuppings and tastings there soon. Plus, they make all of their pastries in house, and they were great!

We took a day trip down to Tombstone and Bisbee. Mostly because I really wanted to see the shoot-out at the OK Corral, but also there’s some great coffee down in Bisbee. After seeing the dramatic reenactment of the gunfight betweent the Earps and Doc Holliday vs. the cowboys, we headed to Bisbee, another small mining town. Bisbee Coffe Co. has a small shop in the historic streets. They’re rockin a Linea/ Super Jolly set-up, and served us one of the best shots we’d had in days, the baristas even knew what their blend consisted of and was pleased to share with us. The roaster is upstairs so we went up and chatted with Justin, who’d just finished roasting all the wholesale coffees for the day. Justin was pretty stoked, he had just returned from his first SCAA conference in Minneapolis and ready to get down to business on the company’s 12 kilo Diedrich roaster.

We continued our travels along the US/Mexico border into California. We stopped in San Diego for fish tacos, but continued on to Los Angeles. Visiting many friends and shops that weren’t opened the year before when we were in town. Thanks again to Tonx and his lovely lady for being our excellent hosts! Of course we visited Intelli.l.a., Choke, and LA Mill. We had fantastic meals with many friends. Basically, everyone should visit.

shot at Choke, pulled by new friend Jules

this is Lilly, the cutest chic in LA, daughter of Nick & Shar Griffith

From L.A. we headed north on the 101. We took a couple of detours to visit the new shop, Verve, in Santa Cruz. It’s a cool beach city and a super cool shop. Placed on the extremely low cement counter is their GB5 that’s pulling super tight ristrettos of both their Street Level and Sermon Espresso blends that they roast right next door. Verve put a big smile on my face, and they gave us plenty of coffee to take with us. Thanks guys!

As we neared San Francisco, we headed to Barefoot Coffee Roasters. They shop was dimly lit and crowded, as it was a Sunday afternoon. They have barista profiles and pictures hanging on the wall so all the customers can know the people behind the bar. They pulled us shots of their Big Foot Espresso blend as well as a single origin shot from El Salvador, the CoE #10, San José.

We arrived in San Francisco just in time for our first staff meeting, at RITUAL COFFEE ROASTERS!! We are stoked to be a part of this team, and excited to continue our coffee education.

Thanks for reading, everyone!

Blog Discovery
June 20, 2008, 1:45 pm
Filed under: coffee nonsense | Tags:

I just found this blog the other day, it’s written by a couple of baristas in Brisbane..  Check it out.

Coffee+Food+Musica and Love

Coffee Across the Country: Part 2, the deep South
June 17, 2008, 3:17 pm
Filed under: coffee nonsense

We have arrived at our stopping point, San Francisco! But first, how did we get here.

my car… it’s very small and very full…

Picking the story back up in Gainesville. Volta was fantastic. Their opening party blew me out of the water, I have a feeling they will be quite successful, they’ve hired a great staff who don’t need much pushing to become super baristas. Plus, I had my first Bumper Crop microcosm espresso experience there. YAY, thanks! Before leaving Florida we had to see some gators, not too far from true’s house there is some sort of crazy nature reserve where the gators live, in the wild. It is also gator mating season.

A few hours later we arrived in New Orleans, LA. I think NOLA is magical. There is an energy (or ghosts) there like no other. We stayed the night in style at the W Hotel French Quarter. Whenever you get sad that you’re not a famous movie star, rocker, or politician of sorts, stay in a W hotel. They make you feel like you own the world, seriously.

Coffee-wise, New Orleans has a lot of chicory to offer. We indulged at Cafe Du Monde for historical purposes, and for beignets. We also checked out Royal Coffee House and La Boucherie. The only espresso we saw being served without any syrups was at nola, Emeril’s restaurant, but even there it was pods.

I loved NO, it made me want to get dressed up, listen to ragtime and jazz and sit on a stoop.

We continued west on I-10, and into Texas.

Sad News…
May 30, 2008, 5:10 pm
Filed under: coffee nonsense

This year’s Nordic Barista Cup has been cancelled.  I’m so down.  Thank you Jens and Björg for all the work you put into this event, it really is great place to meet and talk with and challenge all the coffee folk in Scandanavia.

It’s all about next year in Iceland!  Start planning now to go the beautiful country in September-ish 2009!  I know I am!