Friday, April 14, 2006

Finally home from SCAA (Part 2)

So, where was I? Day three. That's right.

My main reason for wanting to go to SCAA, other than to be a part of the Gimme! team, was community. I wanted to be a part of the community of baristas and other passionate coffee professionals out there. I feel a little isolated out here on the east coast. So, after I went to my first Coffee Fest, I realized I wanted to be a part of that pool passion and drive. Since I am not planning to move to the Pacific Northwest anytime soon, these shows are the only way. Well, the only way that isn't on-line. Anyway...

Day three was also the first round of the USBC. So, I took a break from booth set-up to go watch my friend Jeremy Summer compete.

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I know the picture is blurry. But, I like the pose and you can still see the chops.

Jeremy works at Hotwire Coffee & Roasting company in Shoreline, WA. with his friend Karl. Hotwire is where Dimsas Smith is hanging his hat these day. Those three make a great crew. I spent most of my "off" time hanging out with Jeremy and his crew. Oh, and by the way, Hotwire's master roaster is none other than Tim McCormack. Wow, some heavy talent over there. I can't wait to visit.

Day Four was my turn to take an educational seminar. Mine was "Total Quality Obsessed: How To Turn Your Shop Into A Coffee Mecca" hosted by Nick Cho of Murky Coffee and Alistair owner of The Elesian Room. I really enjoyed it. Although I felt it was just reinforcing what Gimme! is already doing.

After the seminar it was my turn to pull shots at the Gimme! booth. It ended up being a repeat of the night before, with coffee dignitaries wandering in from all over. I even ended up briefly on a Nick Cho Portafilter.net podcast. I was a little caught off guard and nervous, so I'm kind of a jack ass on tape. Sorry Nick.

Day five was my day "off". So, it was my time to wander the floor. As far as the show floor is concerned I was most interested in the machines. Not, so much with what new flavor of vanilla someone is peddling. What better place to start than Paul Pratt's Just Java booth where he had his awesome original one group La Marzocco GS with the famed Paddle Group. Which he was nice enough to let me pull shots on!

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If you look close, in the bottom right, you can see the PID he installed.

The next logical stop for me was the La Marzocco booth to check out the production model GS3. I was able to play with the prototype at the Barista Guild party at Coffee Fest D.C.. They have made a few changes. Better buttons and things like that. But, the one thing I am most excited about is that soon there will be a paddle group version!!

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I wandered by the Dallis Coffee Roasters booth to visit my fellow NYC coffee warriors Ken Nye owner of Ninth Street Espresso and Espressocraft and his man Bob. Espressocraft makes some awesome tampers. You should get one.

Speaking of tampers, I also was fortunate enough to my Reg Barber. Then I ran into Tonx and Kyle from, well...I'm sure you already know that story. Man, there were people everywhere. Although, I must have just kept missing Mike Love from Coffee Labs Roaster Inc.. I did catch him briefly at the Roasters Guild party Monday night.

Monday night. I moved ahead a little bit.

Day five we pretty much just let Andy run the booth and watched the USBC finals. The competitors were all highly skilled to be sure. I will not name names but, my favorite didn't win and It didn't go to who I thought it would. It goes to show you, as the audience we don't know what the judges are looking for and we can't taste the drinks. But, props to them for having the skill and guts to compete at that level. Intense. After the awards ceremony it was time to break down the booth. Like magic, in the middle of hundreds of vendors, our pallet of empty boxes shows up first. We got it all boxed up and then let the forklift do the hard part. I think we were the first ones out of there.

Day six was the 11 hour drive home. Again, I took the wheel. I wanted to make sure our new machine made it home ok. What's that you say? New machine? That's right. Gimme! Brooklyn is getting a three group La Marzocco GB/5. Not just any GB/5. We took home the one Matt Riddle did his USBC winning performance on. Very cool.

Day seven...remember that five hour bus ride? Man it's good to be home.

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