Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Chestnut Hill and Milkboy Pictures

Mike called me out so here they are. I only took a couple and they aren't very exciting really but, if you want to seem them look here.

In other news, I leave for the Nordic Barista Cup tonight. I'll do my best to blog while there. Also, unlike Philly there will be MANY photos. I promise.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Visitors from ESI

We ended up rallying for the day trip to Philly yesterday, hitting up Chestnut Hill Coffee Co and Milkboy. Both shops were impressive in terms of design and execution, and it was fun tracking down John Hornall. Unfortunately Hornall was in the Pacific Northwest at the time, but it was still cool to check out the new digs. The space is really beautiful, with two floors of spacious hardwood and leather surrounding a modest and clean bar equipped with a 3 group Linea. The neighborhood Chestnut Hill is a really interesting mix of 19th century buildings and homes, interspersed between high end retail shops and specialty restaurants. It's a high end hood, and Chestnut Hill Coffee Co fits right in. Unfortunately I couldn't be bothered to return to the car for my camera, so if you're interested in visuals, e-mail Owens.

On another note I had the pleasure of spending time with Kent Bakke of ESI, who arrived in our shop today with his (our) Northeast Regional Sales Manager Michael Del Gatto. Both of whom are top notch industry specialists. Though excited to simply get decent espresso here in the city, Kent was particularly interested in our feedback on the GB5. "Your feedback?" you ask? Yes, my feedback. My humble opinion was respectfully acknowledged today and I was happy to tell him what a workhorse the GB5 has been. I also made a point of informing him of our two gripes with the machine, the shallow (and sharp) drip tray, and the wiring harness on the power to the groups that slowly dislodges itself after 3-4 weeks of use. Kent dutifully made notes of my issues, and the conversation moved on to grinder technology.

I have a feeling that Kent's arrival in NY was simply a layover on his way to the NBC, but I hope we get the pleasure of having him again. It was a joy talking to the man personally responsible for La Marzocco's in the U.S.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Busy Weekend

Shoutouts today are in order to our new buddy Scott Lucey over at Alterra Coffee Roasters in Milwaukee Wisconsin. Scott was kind enough to send along a few of their "Barista Throwdown" t-shirts in a package that included a pound of their pride and joy Espresso Blend. While we haven't played with the coffee yet (probably tomorrow night) I gotta say, the t-shirts rock! I was excited to receive mine and will wear it with pride. Thanks Scott!

On another note, there's a lot going on this weekend. Up in Vancouver the Coffee & Tea Expo is kicking off in their convention center (centre?), while here in the States the SouthEast Regionals are kicking into high gear, sponsored in part by the fine folks at Counter Culture Coffee. While Nick Cho tries not to drop his glass bottle of milk, the Gimme crew are planning a day trip to Philadelphia to check out Chestnut Hill Coffee Company, operated by the esteemed and legendary, John Hornall. I have a sneaking suspicion that the man and legend himself will actually be in North Carolina this weekend, but it's the best chance that us Brooklynites will have to visit his new space. Word on the street is that MilkBoy Coffee is doing great things with their Counter Culture down there as well, and we just might have an opportunity to check them out too.

Good luck to all the competitors down in NC this weekend. Maybe we'll finally get our acts together to put on a similar event in the NorthEast this spring.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Coffee Cake


Why not?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Surprise Package

Big shoutout to Gabe today for sending along a couple choice items from the PNW. Included in the box were two half pounds of their Ethiopian Wild Forest Limu, and the COE Guatemala Finca El Injerto. We cupped and pressed them both, enjoying the differences in the two. I picked up notes of apricot in the Limu, with a nice body a bit heavier than typical of Ethiopians. The Guatemalan scored notes of chocolate that were really off the charts, with a lighter and more delicate body. Yum. The Guat is currently on my kitchen counter. Now I have to figure out the best way to ship him some of NY's finest. On another note, we need new burrs for the R2D2. Better get on that.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Cupping some Terroir

Just before the tornado that is the New York Times hit, I met up with Jaime during his quick visit to NYC. We talked coffee for a good hour. Maybe more. Which I was very happy to do.

To get right to the point, Jaime brought me a gift of a couple of Terroir coffees for me to cup.

A couple of days later, Mike and I cupped the Yirgacheffe.

Dry aroma: Black tea and peppercorns

Wet aroma: Black tea all the way

Taste: Darjeeling Tea and a soft lemon like citrus.

And when I say tea, that does not mean "Oh, yeah, I guess I can see tea in there." No, no, this tastes exactly like tea. Oh, and I think it is an amazing coffee by the way.

Mike's cupping notes: "OH - and tea too"

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Holy Crap

That NY Times article blew up our spot yesterday and today. All hands were on deck for a powerhouse of hard-earned weekend sales records. I felt like we were in San Francisco working at Ritual. Show me "paint the fence" Daniel-san, it was back to basics for us. And you better believe all those extra lattes we made looked "just like the picture". The award for Longest Distance Traveled goes to a nice group from DC, in town to see us. I said "what? You've never heard of Murky?" Then I made them promise to visit our friends at Grumpy. I think it's time to authorize the company picnic to Balthazar. Sorry Peter, the side of spinach at Luger's just ain't enough for me. Gimme! Brooklyn has the best team i've ever worked with, and I give all the credit to them.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Gimme Love

Though I previously made allusions to our next featured guest in the "guest espresso" program, an old friend has stopped me in my tracks with a text message promising me a surprise Monday delivery. He and I started this coffee journey together more than a few years ago and he's since moved westward and northward, working his way through some of the finest coffeeshops in North America. When I posted earlier about the "unsung hero's" in the industry, he was one of the hero's I had in mind. Always selfless in his devotion to his coffee and colleagues, Gabe's quiet professionalism has surprised me yet again with a little gift. I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Espresso’s New Wave Hits Town - New York Times

Hot off the presses...check it out...(and don't forget the multimedia...)

Espresso’s New Wave Hits Town - New York Times

Terroir Finale

We were lucky enough to have the company of Scott Lucey tonight, who is visiting from Alterra in Wisconsin. He joined us for our last in depth look at the roaster that's commonly agreed to be wildly different from our own. Scott showed up with his friend Elicia to take part in our experiment, hopping on the bar and pulling standard sized 30 second, 2 ounce shots at 194 degrees. We also passed around a french press of Georges North Daterra. Because we were playing on a live bar tonight our customers were unknowing participants in our games, and I must admit that we had our share of positive feedback from them. Some commented on the obvious brightness of their shots, while others simply complimented the smoothness of their cappucinos. There were also a couple girls who came back to the bar to point out that their lattes weren't as strong as usual. All valid points, and clearly relevant to their respective drinks.

All in all I've got to give it to George. He clearly has a deep understanding for his own objectives and is executing it well. For such a different approach to what we're used to here in Brooklyn, he's definitely impressed me. As for Scott, I hope he shows up tomorrow during the morning rush and offers to work my shift for me. Elicia (who lives in Brooklyn) can fill out the paperwork and work fulltime.

Thanks George! I hear eccos of a future Guest Espresso bouncing down the streets...

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Tiki Barber is a Good Example

You probably think I'm crazy but hear me out. It may just be because I happen to be watching him play right now, and I'm from NY, but I think Tiki Barber is a good role model for baristas. He's a superstar in the football world but you'd never know it from his attitude. He goes out there as a team player and never trys to steal the spotlight. Not only that but when Tiki is running down the field doing his thing and gets drilled by the opposition, he pops right back up, congratulates the opponent who took him down, and then helps him up. When he scores a touchdown Tiki thanks his offensive line that made the key blocks, opening the lanes, giving him the opportunity. How many times have you seen that kind of sportsmanship at a barista competition? What's my point? There are many unsung heros that make a champion great. You can't score a touchdown on your own. Hearing barista gossip just makes me think more about this type of thing. Think you just wasted time reading this post? Sorry, you clicked on it, not me.

Terroir Invitational

For all you naysayers out there that thought the Terroir might rock our minds here at Gimme Coffee in Brooklyn, um, you were right. Its been hard for us to wrap our portafilters around. But after a decent amount of huffing and puffing on a live bar, we're ready to open up our experiences to the general public. Does this mean I'm going to spout prolific on what's hot or not about Georges baby? Not a chance. I was born at night but it wasn't last night. I will instead however invite anyone who wants to revisit (or meet) this blend at our shop for our grand Terroir finale Tuesday night at 6pm. Come and see how well YOU can pull shots of it...

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Crossing Borders

Nick Brown of Artigiano and Dwell Time fame came by our shop today. He sent Chris and I an e-mail a couple days ago alerting us of his upcoming presence here south of the Canadian border, and requesting a small get together to alleviate some of the withdrawal symptoms he's experienced since moving to the coffee-culture lacking city of Toronto. Since we had the pleasure of meeting him during his whirlwind trip a couple months ago, both Chris and I were excited to reconnect with someone as enthusiastic as Nick. After letting him get his hands dirty on the GB5 we happily took him to check out Grumpy, a spot he didn't have the pleasure of visiting last time he came to the States. We made the introductions all around and quickly enjoyed a french press of Ecco's COE Bolivian that Grumpy had in stock. A few hours later we walked out sated from hours of coffee chatter and promises to raise demitasses together again tomorrow. Since I just returned from his old stomping grounds of Vancouver it was fun to hear his perspective on the sites and sips I experienced on my first trip to BC. Thanks for coming Nick B, you're welcome any time.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

An Obsessive's Guide to Coffee | Food & Wine

An Obsessive's Guide to Coffee | Food & Wine

Terroir is on the Way

I'm happy to report that my new friend in Massachusetts Jerry O'Hare has packed a 10lb bag of George's finest in a box with my name on it. We discussed their brewing specifications and I've ordered baskets that will help us dial in the shots. With our GB5, setting the boiler to the desired temp will be a piece of cake. Now all we have to do is wait for it. If you're in town this weekend and want to play, or just taste, now would be a good time. 10lbs won't last too long since we'll be using it on a live bar, but we don't have a separate space to do this kind of stuff in private. At least this way it gives our customers a chance to witness our commitment to coffee, as well as our motivation to appreciate others. On a personal note I'm excited to work in depth with someone else's coffee since I've worked almost exclusively with ours since we started roasting in 2001. I don't think I've pulled ten pounds worth of shots with anything else since, though i've certainly tasted a batch or two.

Monday, September 04, 2006

First Day Home, First in Sales

My first jet-lagged day home and we broke our sales record on this holiday morning. Not only that but we were a barista short during the busy morning shift. Chris actually stopped by to drink some coffee I brought back from John Sanders but we never had a chance. We were dead in the water this morning and Chris spent a good hour of his day off lending a hand. So...congrats to our staff on another record broken, and a big shoutout to Carie, Emily, and our newbie John who persevered on this record setting Monday. Talk about labor day.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Home from Vancouver

Wow what a trip. My head is still spinning. Thankfully I have to get up at o'dark thirty tomorrow to force me back into reality here in NYC. I managed to take 253 pictures in six days plus three videos. Here's a few shots...

The waterfront in downtown Vancouver...

Wicked Cafe in South Granville. There's Brad talking shop on his phone...

The Elysian Room, also in South Granville. We found a lot of baristas from other shops hiding in here.

Aritigiano's new roasting facility where we caught up with Sanders and Vince. Sanders is getting ready to move out of his temporary digs here to open his new spot closer to Downtown.

And of course a latte art pic, poured by a barista at Artigiano on Hastings.