Sunday, January 27, 2008

   from chris baca

Blue Bottle

It's opening weekend for the new Blue Bottle cafe location! It's on the corner of Mint and Jessie (near 5th and Mission) and looks killer. I took my first trip over there yesterday to soak it all in...syphon bar, GB5, pour-over drip bar, cold brew "Japanese style" toddy, La San Marco lever, and little pieces of salty caramel with your coffee. This place is really sexy and was crazy packed! James took care of us and made sure we had a good experience, feeding us shots from the lever machine while we waited for our Syphon. The coolest part for me was waiting in line; I got to eavesdrop on two people chatting about the Clover and other brewing methods in front of us. They're also customers of ours and it was so dope to hear people that weren't baristas totally geeking out on coffee...well, coffee brewing methods. But if Clovers and Halogen bars can grab some initial attention that's all good; it's then the baristas job to direct the focus back to the coffee itself. This is the kind of specialty coffee buzz that the Bay Area has been lacking for a while and it's sweet to know that people truly appreciate what we're doing with and for coffee. Cheers to coffee.

Monday, January 21, 2008

   from Nick

Liz Zamorski

By popular demand.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

   from AndyS

Using what you got

I'm not very good at making coffee with it, but I finally found a use for that dang triple basket. [Hint] Look underneath the cup:

   from AndyS

It's also coming

Gonna be a good year in coffee for the written word. Scott says his new book will be back from the printer soon.

Friday, January 18, 2008

   from Nick

It's coming

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

   from AndyS

pet peeve

There is SO MUCH design talent in Italy. WHEN is someone going to design the keypad for an automatic espresso machine that doesn't look like a giant version of a chintzy TV remote?

Mark Prince published a set of photos of the competition for the next official WBC espresso machine. The auto models look so boring!

The LM with the paddles was cool, though. As was Bruce Lee....

Saturday, January 12, 2008

   from AndyS

Ninth Street Espresso, Chelsea Market

OK, I REALLY don't recommend driving your car to Ninth Street Espresso's Chelsea Market location. And I REALLY don't recommend double parking in a loading zone with your 4-way flashers going as you run in to to visit. But I DO recommend making the trip; the place is in a fantastic environment, has a unique rugged aesthetic and is just a lot of fun.

When I found the cafe there was a young woman hanging out by the bar talking to the baristas. I'd never met her, but she looked really familiar, so I said, "excuse me, are you Katie?" And sure enough it was Katie Carguilo, doing her gig as NYC customer service rep for Counter Culture Coffee.

Katie introduced me to the very personable Zachary (yes, THAT Zachary); his picture is at the top.

Katie also introduced me to Kim (above), who poured a delicious cappucino with some nifty latte art.

Go to Chelsea Market, you'll really like the vibe. Don't take your car, but if you do, maybe you'll get lucky like I did, and escape without a parking ticket!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

   from AndyS

And now for something a little different

Hehehe. Had a very unique experience. It highlighted how my daily obsession with really tasting the coffee has sharpened my senses and altered my outlook.

The other morning I bought some delicious rosemary-sourdough bread at a local market. It was so good I overdid it: ate half the loaf for breakfast.

An hour later I took the dog for a long walk in a deserted park near my home. Suddenly, out of nowhere, I felt nauseous,and then really nauseous. I realized that I wanted to puke, and I also realized that the park was a perfect place to do it. So, only a minute after first becoming aware of the nausea, I bent over and puked, twice, on the frozen ground.

OK, now why am I sharing this charming little story with you, dear reader?

As I puked, for the first time in my life, I marveled at how full of flavor it was! The aroma of fresh rosemary enveloped me as I retched, and it really was the best, most sensual puke ever. I even had a moment to note the character of the acidity of my stomach acid as it vented onto the ground (nippy, piquant, but not harsh).

I owe this surprising experience to my morning coffee ritual. Never would have happened otherwise. If ya gotta retch, I highly recommend rosemary!

Who knew? :-)

Saturday, January 05, 2008

   from AndyS

A humble wish for the year 20XX

The internet in 2008 gives us the ability to instantly share information about how we prepare our coffee with people around the world. As precision instrumentation becomes inexpensive and ubiquitous, this flow of information becomes more accurate and helpful.

Balances, for instance, help us measure how much dry coffee we use and how much liquid coffee ends up in our cup. Thermometers (or a Scace device) precisely measure our brew temperature. Digital timers allow us to record exactly how long the coffee and water are in contact. And water analyzers tell us our TDS and hardness.

Sharing this kind of data allows people on the other side of the globe to closely duplicate what we are doing. The give and take that results from this sharing encourages good techniques to spread and bad techniques to die out.

The one thing we DON'T have is a way to accurately communicate our grind fineness and particle distribution. Telling someone they can get a great Clover brew by grinding "halfway between presspot and drip" is better than nothing. But it's a lousy substitute for real measurement.

It won't happen in 2008, but I hope in the not-too-distant future we will have a $250 Laser Diffraction Particle Size Analyzer. Then folks in say, Seattle, will be able to tell folks in say, New Zealand exactly how fine they're grinding the Esmeralda to make the best cup on a Clover or Chemex or vacpot. And we'll be able to tell why the Robur tastes a little different from the Anfim. At that price I know I'll be buying one, and I bet James Hoffmann will be buying one, too!