Monday, October 23, 2006

Tuesdays with Tim

As reported on the latest podcast from, the WBC Board of Directors converged on NYC for a couple days of meetings followed by a NY cafe crawl. Doug came by early to scope the scene, slyly ordering a shot before his brand new t-shirt gave him away. We chatted briefly before I called him a car to visit Grumpy up the street, where Owens happened to be. Meanwhile Tim Wendelboe was landing at JFK and caught up with Chris and Doug a little later. Since Tim and Chris had spent some QT together over yonder in Oslo, we all caught up again that night back here at gimme for shots. Doug took off and Tim, Chris, M'lissa, and I, took the opportunity to get Tim drunk. The agenda? Tequila. Apparently tequila isn't so big in Norway and Tim was interested in doing a "cupping" of different tequila's. Several shots later it was clear Tim had already found his passion in coffee. After a day and a half of meetings at the NYBOT, the crawl started. I was caught off guard with the timing, but was at Grumpy when they left Gimme and headed there. Caffeine fueled discussion ensued around Grumpy's big square table, and critique and compliments flowed. Since Nick came up to party with his fellow rock stars, we had a chance to reconnect over our shared passion in pda/smartphones. We both had the new MDA last time we met but he's since moved on. To what? The E-61 of course. Not the faema...The Nokia. Niiiice. I'm holding out for one of the 4 hot new ones that are being released this winter.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Monday in Malmö

After the Nordic Barista Cup, M'Lissa and I stayed in Copenhagen for a little vacation. Monday we decided to take a little day trip to Malmö, Sweden. It is just a 20 train ride over The Øresund Bridge.

We spent the day wondering this quaint little town (although I think it's Sweden's third largest). Of course we had to visit some coffee bars. First stop was Caffe Nesta. This is the home of Dan Stenqvist. I had contacted Dan a few weeks earlier to see if he would be willing to be our guide and he graciously agreed.

When we arrived at Nesta we found out that Dan was at university until 5 so we decided to mill about on our own. We were armed with a list of coffee bars that Dan had recommendeded but no real idea where they were.

By dumb luck we stumbled across Lilla Kafferosteriet. We walked in and, to my surprise, were recognized by the barista. Ulrika had seen us at the NBC and took excellent care of us. Not to mention giving me one of the better espressos of the trip. The cafe is in a beautiful 16th century restored home. The Probat is tucked in the corner of the main room right next to the bar. Man, I love to see a roaster in coffee bars! You can have your coffee in any of the rooms which are nicely appointed with antiques. Of course everything is for sale. This place is already good and I have a feeling they are on there way to great things.

It was time to meet up with Dan back at Nesta where he treated us to dinner. After dinner we set out for Solde Kaffebar.

If you care about coffee and find yourself in
Malmö, Solde Kaffebar is your spot. This place is only about coffee. No nonsense to get in the way. We met up with one of the owners, Johan Carlsrtom. He's a great guy and a talented barista. Just check out all his awards if you don't belive me. I had a lot of fun sitting around and talking coffee with other passionate people (Dan's friends Lars and Anna joined us as well). Then Dan and Johan asked me to step behind the machine and play. Johan has some of those fancy teflon coated portafilters (I REALLY want some of these). They just rinse clean with pure ease. Beautiful. As if that wasn't cool enough they also have a Teflon coated steam wand! I was honored to be allowed to work Johan's bar. I really must get back there soon.

I have to give a big thanks to both Dan and Johan for a great time.

Also, I finally uploaded some of the pictures from the Nordic Barista Cup to my Flickr if you're interested.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

How to miss half of the Nordic Barista Cup

NBC day 1

After collecting our bags and hitting the hostel, M'Lissa and I made our way to the Nordic Barista Cup location at 4pm. Just in time to catch the champagne boat tour of Copenhagen. But, we missed the registration. We had no badges. Sarah Allen (Barista Magazine) spots me and we explain the situation and she takes charge and finds Bjorg Brend (Europa) for us. We are well taken care of.

The Guides of the tour are Fritz Storm and Troels Poulsen, who spent the whole time making fun of everyone involved including themselves.

We are let off the boat at the "Longest bar in Denmark" to have drinks with Sarah, Kyle Larson (Stumptown), Sigga Dora (Photographer and Klaus Thomsen's girlfriend), and Njall (part of Team Iceland) before dinner.

The opening dinner was a banquet at Noma. The 33rd best restaurant in the world we were told. Tim Wendelboe decided to join us at our table. It was good to see Tim again.

Due to the fact that I worked my normal open shift and neither of us can sleep on planes, both M'Lissa and I are pretty much working on a 40 hour day and wrecked. So, after the announcements of the first days winners we bolt. We didn't even wait for dessert.

NBC Day 2

I awaken in the very early morning feeling as if my head is splitting open. I slowly move to the bathroom where, to my great disappointment, I realize that the contents of my stomach no longer wish to stay there. Come to find out that M'Lissa is having the same difficulties. We manage to clean ourselves up and drag to the NBC. We make it through the opening seminar of the day. Which is on the Clover. Neither one of us can keep it up so we head back to the hostel. Four hours later and feeling slightly better we go back. Choke down some bananas, coffee, and A LOT of water.

From a distance we listen to Morten Munchow's (Kontra Coffee) lecture on water and talk with Lizz Hudson (Stumptown). As, the lecture finished the national teams then had a water cupping competition. Over several "flights" they had to correctly identify waters from the tap, different filtering processes and waters from their different countries.

We managed to get some more food down at the dinner buffet but still were not feeling well so we left before the final competition of the day. Sleep won out again.

NBC Day 3

Feeling better but still walking a fine line of dehydration we head off to the final day of the NBC. This time the event is held outside in a public square of Copenhagen. Enjoying some yogurt and the morning air Tim approaches us and asks if we would like to judge in the final competition of the day. It turns out that all the teams have to make coffee using the Clover. The teams will be using coffee they roasted earlier in the day as part of another competition. Of course we agree. In the meantime, as the teams start the day's first competiton, to sell coffee for Libras de Amor, we head off on a cafe crawl of Copenhagen.

We make it back in time for the Noma signature drink competition. Let's just say these kids are lining cups with meat. While the judges are sipping from meat cups I chat with James Hoffman. We geek out on Molecular Gastronomy and our personal tastes in espresso.

Next up was the Clover competition and our time to judge. Even though it is all in fun I was still a little nervous. Since this was M'Lissa's first cupping ever she thought she was going into cardiac arrest. Given that it is hard to brew in the Clover using very fresh coffee, I feel that all the teams presented good cups. Two did stand out however. To my taste Iceland had the sweetest cup and Norway had the best overall extraction. That was a lot of fun to be a part of.

Ending the event was an auction. They sold pretty much everything except the rented tent. With all of the proceeds also going to Libras de Amor.

Then came the gala dinner. The theme: 80's. Lets just say that not only is it a great experience to be in a room with so many of the worlds best in coffee, but to see them in ridiculous outfits and incredibly wasted is great in it's own way too. Those Scandinavians can party and so can Kyle;)

Chris Owens (more tales of Copenhagen to come)

This is a heavily condensed version due to the fact that I cannot seem to find free internet. I mean no offense to all the great people I may have left out of this account. It was truly amazing and I am extremely happy to know you all.