Barista Competition Preparation Meeting

•November 11, 2009 • Leave a Comment

March may seem like a long way away for baristas planning on compete this year, but the complexity of the competition means the sooner you get familiar with the rules and start to practice, the better your performance will be. Plus, Ben Wilkinson is a pretty fun guy, and we’re planning on having a post-meeting cocktail hour somewhere in the neighborhood. Join us!

NE Barista Competitor Meeting

October TNT write-up

•October 25, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Just wanted to let everyone know we’ve made a post about last Thursday’s TNT at Everyman Espresso!

TampTamp Blog

Back in the Saddle: Coffee in NYC October 2009

•October 22, 2009 • 1 Comment

Just in case you thought we weren’t doing anything since we’re back in NYC, I am here with a little report to prove you wrong.

To start I (briefly) stopped by the Ace to see what they were up to, which of course were good things. I need to get back there for a full report, but there’s plenty to read about this cafe already, right? I recommend Man Seeking Coffee’s report if you are jonesing! And here’s my one lone, sort of not interesting photo:

Ace Hotel

This thing turns green coffee brown for Cafe Grumpy Anthony & Anne at Grumpy

hanging out with Anthony at grumpy.

A few weeks ago we finally made it out the to Greenpoint Grumpy as part of a Cafe Grumpy trifecta I achieved that week. Anthony Kurutz from Plowshares, Neil & I scoped out the place with the ever-courteous and photographically elusive Colleen Duhamel who has been doing all the sourcing for their roasting program. We tasted both their first batch guatemalan, and followed up with the Kenyan Coffee. I also tried to Flor Azul by Intelligentsia for the first time this year (and it’s no longer in season! October is going by quickly!). And guess what? It all tasted awesome. I’m looking forward to what will come from the Grumpy roasting program.

Cup Cup Greenpoint

While we were in Greenpoint we hit up a cute new cafe called Cup. The place had a pleasant simplicity to it and great layout for its small square footage. We were given a great treatment since Cup is a Plowshares-exclusive shop… and chatted a little bit about coffee packaging on the side. All in all, a great new addition to the neighborhood!

Joe + Ecco Brendan pulls a shot Brendan pulls a shot Brendan pulls a shot Aftermath

And just today, I got into Joe to check out the big switch from Barrington to Ecco Caffe. Brendan pulled me a lovely shot – as Ecco tends to be. I am excited to see Ecco show up more and more in NYC after a lot of work on Andrew’s part! So thanks, Joe, and Third Rail, and Kaffe, for making that coffee more available. Although if you’re still jonesing for Barrington Coffee, I believe it’s still available at Red Horse Cafe in Brooklyn! Why I used the word “jonesing” 2 (3 now) times in this post, I don’t know.

Ok, I’m off to go set up a throwdown now! You can watch it live tonight at 9pm EST:


TNT October: Top 10 Advance to City-to-City VS. DC

•October 13, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Thursday Night Throwdown NYC 10.22.09

Visiting Seattle and Olympia, September 2009

•October 11, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Insert obligatory apology for lack of blogging here. We were a bit preoccupied this month, and have some posts up at our company blog, an piece or two in Barista Magazine, and were, you know, working and stuff. But we still love writing about our coffee shop visits, so expect them to resume again regularly soon.

So long ago and far away, Neil and I were on vacation in Seattle. While we were there, we hit up some spots that we’ve yet to mention anywhere. And so, here we go.

The first thing we did when we visited Seattle was leave it. That was true the first time when we high-tailed it for Victoria, and once we got back we got right back in the road to Olympia. But there was a very special Michael Elvin there to visit!

Elvin makes coffee at Olympia Coffee Co
There he is! And I just noticed that the tamper he’s got there was on it’s way to the Nordic Cup.

And so visit we did, arriving just in time to slurp some new coffees on Olympia Coffee Roasting Company’s cupping table. Since we had managed to miss the visit to Espresso Parts during our trip across the country, Elvin was gracious enough to show us around the workshop, showroom, cafe and roastery. We also got to see the 5 group Darth Vader Linea getting souped up before it traveled to Japan. In the midst of such excess, we chatted about whether most cafes even needed a 3-group machine, really.

5 group matte black linea Imperial espresso preparation.

Elvin always manages to make espresso equipment modification and repair pretty interesting, so Neil was happy as a clam chatting about the ideal theoretical espresso grinder, wether complete pump pressure control is all it’s cracked up to be, and learning how to use an elvinator. We also got some delicious tacos out of the deal. Thanks again, Elvin & Terry!

Espresso Vivace, Seattle WA Espresso Vivace, Seattle WA

Then we headed back to Seattle and to the newest Espresso Vivace on Capitol hill. Lovely as always, I was happy to see that the original spirit of the roastery on Denny was alive and well at the new space, along with some added features – like glass lined garage doors that open to the street.

coffee lab, Visions Espresso
The Coffee Enhancement Lounge at Visions Espresso.

On our trip, we also met Sarah Dooley, the lady in charge of The Coffee Enhancement Lounge at Visions Espresso. She gave us a tour of her new state-of-the art facility and as usual when we’re in the same room as other trainers we fell into chatting about the challenges of our work. We ended up staying well past closing time, but I was glad to have met my new partner in training, since we are now both teaching Coffee Solutions courses in our respective regions.

We also spent a fair amount if time in Ballard and Greenwood, my true home turf. A great stop we made in the NW corner of Seattle was visiting Will at Home Espresso Repair on Phinney Ridge. Will is a true Seattleite, who took on home espresso machine repair in the early nineties when he was working at one of the original Starbucks’ (University Village). Independently, HER has been around for over a decade and is full of great stories and funky espresso gadgetry. Perhaps the vest part was seeing the backyard, where bad espresso machines go to die! I highly recommend a visit to the shop.

Home Espresso Repair Espresso Machine BBQ, anyone?

We did a few other things, like visit Neptune Coffee and get ridiculously cheap banh mi in the international district. Bronwen Serna made us some unbelievable steamed mussels at her house on Queen Anne. I took Neil across a floating bridge and to the Ballard locks – but wait, what am I talking about? This is a coffee blog. So I’ll defer to my next coffee adventure.

Neil at the Ballard LocksThis is Neil at the Locks, where he had a fun time watching water go up, water go down, and watching salmon jump.


•August 14, 2009 • 1 Comment

Thursday Night Throwdown NYC

The Cafe Circuit

•August 3, 2009 • 1 Comment

For those of you that missed our original premise for traveling the road to epiphany, some boys from the midwest are at it now – on motorcycles! Part Coffee Crawl, part “The Long Way Round” these guys are surely going to have a blast. Ah, memories. So go check it out – The Cafe Circuit.