Friday, August 25, 2006

   from Nick

mattriddle.com

Just thought I'd let everyone know that mattriddle.com is up and running.

(CONGRATS Matt and Melissa!!!!!)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

   from Nick

Podcast #50 - The John Hornall Show

From Chestnut Hill Coffee, 8620 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA, 19118, USA.

A couple of words regarding Nick's rant on the last podcast, followed by a lovely chat with Mr. John Hornall, of Chestnut Hill Coffee, Philadelphia, PA (formerly of Hines Public Market Coffee, Seattle, WA), about his take on Seattle coffee history, barista competitions, baby strollers, the barista craft, advances in espresso, and buy-ten-get-one-free. An amazingly insightful chat with one of Seattle's coffee legends.

2 hours 17 minutes and 1 second
MP3 format, 62.8 MB

See the sidebar to the right for more information and how to subscribe or download.

Remember... we've consolidated the podcast RSS feeds... there will be no new updates to the old MP3 feed... the new "normal" feed at http://www.portafilter.org/podcast.xml is the one, new, consolidated MP3 feed.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

   from Nick

Podcast 49... "Due Diligence"

From Hunt Valley, Maryland, USA, Stately Caragay Manor.

Discussion topics: News & calendar, other coffee podcasts, email bag, "The Cup of Excellence and the NCA" article by Susie Spindler on the front page of CoffeeGeek.com, Mark Prince = Rush Limbaugh, and coffeeshops that are so expensive that they're not supposed to make money.

1 hour 57 minutes and 51 seconds
MP3 format, 54 MB

See the sidebar to the right for more information and how to subscribe or download.

Friday, August 11, 2006

   from Nick

My new car

Just a fleeting thought that I thought I'd make public...

Just bought a new car... a Honda Fit. Known as the Honda Jazz in the rest of the world, it's a sub-compact 5-door hatchback from Honda, and smaller and cheaper (it's around $15K) than the Civic.

Totally nothing particularly profound, but I noticed something about this car... when you first get into it, your first reaction is, "Wow... this is really nice for such a cheap car!"

You sit in it and the seats are really supportive and firm. The steering wheel (on my Fit Sport-model) is leather-wrapped and luxurious. The illuminated dials and gauges look like they belong in an Acura costing twice the price. The overall lines of the exterior are really slick... not the type of econobox design that you wonder if they purposely dumbed-down to make their more mid-priced models look better.

But then, after I owned it for a few hours, I started to look deeper. The little dial that diverts the air vents... is made of really cheap-looking plastic. I'm still waiting for the floormats to come in, and the floor-carpet material looks barely better than cardboard. Stuff like that.

The moral of the story? What you touch and feel... what a customer is most intimate with, is vitally important. When we first started murky coffee, I had six different plastic hot-cup lids laid out in front of me, and my wife and I took turns putting each one up to our mouths. How the lid feels against a customer's lips is a much more important element than many might think. If you need to skimp a little, skimp on the toilet... not on the toilet seat. Buy cheap tables, but never cheap chairs. Spend on nice lighting, and don't stress so much about how beat up your hardwood floor is.

However, next to lovemaking, the most intimate human interaction is through food and drink. What you offer becomes physically ingested... absorbed... it becomes part of their body. Never skimp on quality of the coffee itself.

I hear retailers tell me all the time, "I can't afford to go all-out on the coffee," or "People around here don't care that much about coffee." That's all bullshit. Someone probably said, "You can't have a leather-wrapped sport steering wheel and ABS and alloy wheels AND a V-TEC engine on a $15K econobox," too. See? A little creativity and ingenuity and you can make it work.

FYI, introduced in the US this past spring, every Honda dealership in the country still has waiting lists for over two months for this little car. You can drive off-the-lot a Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, Hyundai Accent, or Chevrolet Aveo (the other cars in its segment) whenever you want.

You wouldn't make love with/to a dirty sweat-sock, would you? Don't serve coffee that tastes like one either.

Monday, August 07, 2006

   from Nick

Podcast 48 - "Donuts"

From Timonium, Maryland, USA, Jay's Shave Ice International Headquarters.

Discussion topics: Tribute to Ward Barbee (1938-2006), publisher and founder of Fresh Cup Magazine, including a phone call with Julie Beals, Fresh Cup's editor. Also, news and notes, mailbag, Billy Wilson's podcast, What's Peter Giuliano Thinking About Today? a conversation about porn, restaurant coffee roasters, and the etiquette for visiting coffeeshops. Also, a special appendix at the end of the show.

2 hours 18 minutes and 34 seconds
MP3 format, 51.1 MB

See the sidebar to the right for more information and how to subscribe or download.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

   from Nick

In memoriam...

From Freshcup.com :
Ward Barbee : 1938-2006

It is with our deepest sadness that we give the news that Ward passed away on August 5. We will miss him for countless reasons, not the least of which were his generosity of spirit and raucous laughter. We will never forget all he had to teach, share and give to us.

A celebration of life party will be held soon. Details will be posted here once final arrangements are made.

Fresh Cup co-owner Jan Weigel and Fresh Cup's staff ask that in lieu of flowers, that donations be made to the AIDS charity of your choice in honor of his brother, Stanford.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

   from Nick

PEARL Project update...

... courtesy the New York Times: "Coffee, and Hope, Grow in Rwanda." (If it asks for a name and password, use bugmenot.com)
After reading this, I'm left with one burning question: What does the "D." stand for?!?


New podcast coming soon.