Tuesday, October 31, 2006

interesting

I'm just packing, and should be finishing an essay about interpretation of French music, but I found myself reading a news report on the flood in Ethipioa. In doing so, I saw a link to this article. night all

Trieste

Off to Trieste tomorrow for the apparently huge machine expo. I'll be working on the Espresso Warehouse Stand which I think is sharing with Elektra and Mahlkoning. I'm really looking forward to it for a number of reasons.

  1. I get to play on an Elektra which I've never done before
  2. I get to meet another hundred coffee people who I'm sure will all be lovely.
  3. I get to meet up with old friends.
  4. I get to go to Trieste and hopefully visit the Illy Concept bar.
  5. Hoping to taste some really frsh Illy.
  6. I'll hopefully get to fool around with the latest goodies Espresso Warehouse are offering.
  7. I get to eat these, which are really very good.
As always I'll probably fail to supply any good posts but I do feel I normally come through on the picture end of thing. Keep your eyes on my flickr. Other quick news:
  • Still not decided on whether I like aeropress
  • I feel standards are higher than ever in the cafe at the moment, however we can always get better. Trying to get grinder cleaning a bit more of a routine. It was always just Deaton and I who did it but I've been trying recently to expose all the baristas to more than just bar skills. I feel a broader coffee knowledge can only help create better pride in their work.
  • Bought a new Mac book, and have been importing all of my Vancouver photos. Miss that stupid city. The mac book is simply wonderful. Its black too, which makes me better than you.
Been thinking too about the perfect bar design recently, and if I've ever seen it. I keep seeming to think up or see new things that just make so much sense and aren't currently being employed. As is the case with many cafe's, people often get it 80% right. Its normally the coffee that screws it up, but even in quality focused bars, I always seem to find a few issues that really bug me. I'm terrified that when the day finally comes that I open my own bar (10 years away), that there'll be some external factor that I have no control over that will ultimately effect my flow, or bar layout, or something. Is it ever possible to get everything perfect in the planning stage or will you inevitably run into knots at some point?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Rosetta's in the early hours

rosetta's in the early hours This was taken early last summer in elysian. My good friend and fellow coffee blogger Matti Kolehmainen poured the first one and thats me pouring the second. The quality of the original video is much better and I'm quite annoyed with how much its diminished on you tube. If any of you know a better quality video posting sites, please inform me.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

European Team Challenge

It was the best coffee event I have ever attended. I have never had so much fun, learnt so much, or met so many cool people all at one time. It was so well organised that I swelled with pride to be Irish. I suddenly realise that I'm not yet an official member of the Irish Chapter of the SCAE and now feel quite strongly that this needs adressing. It was great to meet baristas from Russia, Germany, Iceland, Estonia and the UK. Some I had met before, and I only wish I had spent more time getting to know them all before they left. I think I probably met them all, but some of those encounters occurred under sever intoxiation and so I'll hold back from declaring any new bosom buddies. It was great to catch up with old aquaintences and friends such as Jim Hoffman, Simon Robertson, David Cooper, Se Gorman, Ben Townsend, Gary Mc Gann, and new friend, Steve Leighton. I am writing this with a head cold strong enough to knock out a small family, so please don't feel offended if I don't mention your name in this post. Needless to say though, these sort of events are nothing if they don't have great people involved. As regards competing, we were put through a considerable number of workshops and tests including roasting, green bean seminars, analysing the new and current wbc rules, cupping, machine maintenance and blind latte art. I will avoid going into too much detail as many of you will hopefully read about it in Barista Magazine in an issue or two. If you can't wait that long, Jim should have his account of the show posted in a matter of minutes. I was really quite happy with how well we did. If we hadn't come first in the Blind latte art we would have placed around 5th. Although we came last in it, amongst the Irish team we agreed we enjoyed the triangular cupping competition the most. Possibly because it pulled on our team spirit more than the others or possibly more because it was just so much fun. But if I had to pick the workshop I learnt most from, I would have to say it was the Filter Brewing Workshop. Paul Stack, who helped organise most of the competition, did a fantastic and thorough presentation. I apologise for the level of detail in this post, but I am still suffering from the considerable amount of drink consumed over the event. I will leave it to more adequate others to fill in my blanks. If I feel something wasn't covered enough I will cover it. The comp was quite tight in the end with Russia and the UK apparently neck and neck. Well done to the UK on a thoroughly deserved win. However, I would like to say I totally agree with what it says on the SCAE Irish site, 'The experience of competing is the prize. Winning the competition is a bonus'.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

European Team Challenge

So tomorrow sees the beginning of the first European Team Coffee Challenge in Dublin. The Irish team, myself included, spent a day out in Bewleys HQ recently to practice for the competition. We dabbled in blind latte art and received some advanced cupping advice from Bewley's master roaster Paul O'Toole. The other members of the Irish team are current Irish Barista Champion Karl Purdy, current 3rd place Irish Barista Champion Ruslan Mocharskyy and Barista trainer Julia Mc Fadden of Fallon & Byrne. You can find the whole schedule of events on the Irish SCAE website. One particularly interesting thing is that admittance to the various courses is all free, something I have not seen before at coffee events. I hope to update you all about the competition as it progresses, and will try avoid covering the same stuff as Jim and Steve Leighton. I'm really looking forward to meeting a whole new bunch of coffee persona and catching up with old acquaintances. I'm a little nervous about the competition, not because my barista skills and general coffee knowledge will be put on test, but more because each time is required to do a 5 minute routine as a display of team spirit. Now its quite a while since I have been on stage and I have no intention of putting my vocal talents back in action. However, time is running out, and the only possibility that seems plausible now is a possible shaving of beards,....... Those of you who read my blog, are almost definitely also readers of James Hoffmannnn's blog. I look forward to catching up with Jim for lunch tomorrow and flailing him for his poor spelling of Irish Stouts........(just one more 'n') edit: Jim has since corrected the error, but I will leave this comment up regardless as such an insult to an Irish institution requires just criticism. On another point, Jim and I shall be exchanging gifts today from our different coffee travels; his trip being the Nordic, mine being Vancouver. Both presents are inexpensive but coffee related and shall be revealed in a matter of hours. So exciting. On another quick note, along with my good friend Deaton Pigot, the roaster in the cafe, we have set up a new blog to help showcase the coffee personalities and artists in our cafe. Please add it to your feeds and comment away. more soon