Monday, June 30, 2008

   from Nick

Fill in the blank

From today's Washington Post...

In Tokyo and Paris, you can now spend $5 a glass on _____ selected by a professional _____.

Nothing surprising there, except the beverages being served are ____ -- with various "flavors" supposedly matched to different foods.

_____ from Hawaii, meanwhile, is being sold as "_____" -- at $33.50 for a two-ounce _____.

The push to turn _____ into the new wine is a marketing phenomenon: The _____ industry is engaged in an intense effort to convince Americans that _____ is substantially different from the stuff out of _____.

What are they talking about? Check it out!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

   from Nick

Doug, don't let me EVER hear you complain that people think Intelly is bigger than it is!!!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

   from AndyS

Somewhat Pretentious Coffee Prediction for 2011

I thought James's coffee predictions for 2008 were very well done. Of course I'm not in James's league, but I do have a coffee prediction to make for oh, about the year 2011.

I find it surprising that many specialty roasters are ultra particular in the way they select coffees, and they're extremely meticulous in the way they roast. But after that...they throw the finest coffees in the world into a valve bag, send them out the door, and simply hope for the best. Sometimes the coffee tastes best on the fourth day, sometimes on the fourteenth. Sometimes, never.

My somewhat pretentious prediction is that cutting-edge roasters, (especially those who run their own local cafes) will soon begin to do better. Starting around 2011, freshly-roasted beans will be transferred into reusable canisters within seconds of leaving the cooling tray. The canisters will be hooked up to a gas-flush system that will promptly remove oxygen and replace it with nitrogen or CO2. The canisters will have one-way valves that may or may not be set up to maintain the contents at slightly elevated pressures (like Illy's 0.5 bar).

Canisters will be stored in inventory areas that are temperature controlled. Considering the high capital costs of setting up a roastery or cafe, having a properly controlled storage area (perhaps the size of a walk-in closet) is a relatively small additional expense.

Cuppers and baristas will be exacting in the way they specify how long and at what pressure their coffees are aged. Each origin and each blend may have its own specification. Some may age for 4-5 days, some for 12-15. Cuppers will argue about this passionately. :-)

At the store level, staff obsessed with serving the best possible coffee will be able to rely on consistent, delicious and optimized flavor profiles. Discerning customers will rave about the beverages. It will all be good. :-)

BTW, if this happens sooner, like in 2009 or 2010, I won't be miffed!

(Perhaps someone can clue me in, I believe 49th Parallel is pursuing at least some of these strategies already. Is there anyone else?)

Friday, June 13, 2008

   from Nick

Exquisitely Fine Coffees

LinkA lot of folks have already seen it, but for those who haven't, there's a new coffee website in the spotlight:

It's a satirical take on Third Wave coffee and the people involved, and I've gotta say that it's pretty damn hilarious, as well as being a bit of commentary on how "out there" we coffee-people can get sometimes.

To be clear, though a lot of folks see it completely as a parody of our buddy R. Miguel Meza's project, it's not, though it's certainly one of its "targets." (Oh, and FYI, I had nothing to do with it.) Consider it an opportunity to laugh at ourselves, our obsession with exclusivity, cutting-edge tools and techniques, and how strangely esoteric we can get when it comes to coffee.

I'm just hoping that my Rod Lazar t-shirt arrives here in time for me to be able to wear it in Copenhagen during the World Barista Championship week! I'm looking forward to seeing folks in Denmark, and be sure to check out the official WBC Live Video feed that will appear on Congrats to all the national barista champions, and can't wait to meet the new WBC Champ!