Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I won the CBC!,...

....not seriously, but well done to Colter on what I hear was a great performance. So that was the first comp with new rules, interesting to see the lower scores. No more 800's for a while then I guess. I judged both Colter and Barrett in the Western Canadian regionals and was equally impressed by both. Fair play guys, I'll hopefully see you in Tokyo.

Monday, September 25, 2006

home

I have been home now for just over a week. Since setting back into my final year of college and catching up with friends, I have come to realise a number of things;

  • I do not blog enough
  • I do not upload enough pictures to flickr. (I have around 400 that need uloading)
  • I miss Vancouver and all my friends there terribly. (whether they miss me as much is questionable)
I would like to say a sincere thank you to all the people I met in Vancouver and Seattle. It has been a fantastic summer and I have come home even more passionate about coffee. I learnt an awful lot from all of you and I'm only sorry I didn't have more time to get to know you all better. Its really a matter of time before Jen and I make it back over to visit you all again. I am determined to get to Tokyo, even if I have to compete to do so.... I probablys houldn't do this as I know I will forget and offend certain people, but I'd just like to give a quick shout to all the people who help make the summer great. In no particular order; Alistair Durie Aaron DeLazzer Andrew and Linzhyee Friesen Robert Goble and Narrrrrr (spelling?) Brad Ford & Arthur Wynne Vince Piccolo Lindsey Parker Matt, Matti, Drew, Nathan, Sandra, Randy, Johnathan and Johnathan, Mandy and Justin, John, Claire, Arlo and Ella Mark Prince, Beata and Marzocco (the pet not the machine) the GS3 (the pet not the machine) Sean Barber Sam Jones Amadeus Pizza Lucas and Irene Frankie, Javier and Wayne Les Kuan Anji Loff Michael Yung Toshi's Spencer, Murray, Matt and Jaclyn John Sanders Phil Robertson Peter Van de Reep Noodle Box Reg Barber I am sure I've forgotten some really important people and if I do I shall add them to the list promtly. But in all seriousnesss, the above people and establishments are all wonderful and shall be sorely missed. I promise to blog some interesting stuff very shortly. I'm applying for a loan today to buy a laptop (macbook) and I shall be investing my loan in some fluke goodies too.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

last part ending on a tangent pondering

After our mini barista jam in Cafe D'Arte, most of our troup drove back up to Vancouver while Jen and I stayed for the night. (A quick thanks to Sarah for letting us stay at hers and for the fresh fish for breakfast). After a few hours sight seeing and checking out the shops, we headed over to Sitka and Spruce. I was hoping I might get a chance to meet Bronwen Serna who works there but unfortunately she wasn't working. Although I knew it was located across the road from the old Hines Public Market location, where I've been before, I was still surprised at the location of Sitka and Spruce. For those who don't know, its in a sort of strip mall. On walking in though, I found the space so charming it really didn't matter where it was located. I loved the design of this place. I pretty much adored every detail and I apologise for the poor quality of my pictures; I was playing around with the features on the camera. We'd a really really good lunch and then two capps for dessert. The capps were very traditional in their build with the foam spooned on. I'm not a huge fan of this, but whatever it was, it tasted really sweet and was a good dessert to our lunch. What I found really interesting is how Jen talked about her capp here as being the best of her whole trip. As a newbie's palette thats been exposed to some of the world's best cafe's and coffee's, she still doesn't get muddled up trying to nail the description and instead just calls what she likes; sweet, not sweet, bitter? Dirty? So in saying this, Jen rating this capp as her best of the summer says something in my book. It also makes me wonder which third wave techniques are singing back to the consumer. What is the impact of temperature stablilty, slower flow rates and new tamper design when the average consumer perhaps doesn't notice. This is not to say that a cafe will not succeed if their focus is on maintaining quality, but I wonder what factor in bar practice will carry through to the customer's palette the most? Machine cleanliness? Temperature stability? Level tamping? Fresh coffee? Good coffee? Or just the easy answer of a mix of them all? This leads me onto another topic, one more immeadietly associated to the present. (I've been back from Seattle nearly a month now.) I've been doing a fair bit of training for Brad over the summer and one thing that bothers me is that I never do the exact same training. Sure we can always expect variation depending on the alertness and skill of the trainees, but I'm more concerned with my own sequence in the session. Sometimes I start with the grinder, others with seed to cup and then others with basic machine technology. I suppose I adapt depending on the training context and the various factors inherent; How many people am I training? How long do I have? How good is their english? What sort of business are they? Swift or manual? How busy are they? I don't make any conscious decision from the outset with these questions but I think I probably alter my training each time accordingly. In saying this, I'm still not sure if its a bad thing to be varying. I generally find myself simultaneously seeking and avoiding absolutes in coffee. I wonder if I should have a number of documented training manuals with different levels if necessary. I know I always do a number of things in a training session especially with regards to cleaning but I find myself varying my level of detail I go into in distribution and extraction. My premise has always been to make sure the trainee understands why they take each step in the process, and I rarely stray from that in my training. The trainees all learn eventually what I want them to learn and I'm always satisfied with their progress in the end. I dunno. I'm really just thinking outloud here so I'm sorry if its a bit of a rambly post. I know I don't like the idea of have a regimental training guide and applying to everyone regardless. So maybe I'm ok. If I've ever trained you, and you now make nothing but shit coffee, please call me.