Thursday, November 16, 2006

Gettin Crazy

So tonight I got a little trigger happy and ended up recreating our entire blog over here. This means that the page you're currently looking at will no longer be updated. Yikes. You'll have to update your bookmarks and blog readers accordingly. Sorry about that. All our archives still exist, but they're no longer categorized by date. We also seem to have lost access to most of our pictures. Obviously there's a few kinks to work out yet, but hey, everyone else is doing it so we are too.

Chelsea Treats

I took the time to wander over to West 20th Street today to say hello to the staff of Cafe Grumpy on their inaugural day of soft opening sales. While still completing some minor construction on the space (standing bar, art rail, etc) the store is definitely ready to rock. Chelsea is now home to one of the best espresso bars in the city. These guys have worked hard bringing this to fruition and a hearty congratulations is in order. If you're in the hood, do yourself a favor and go say hi.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Dirty Dirty

It would be a slight understatement to say that there are big changes happening very soon. I'm nervous, a little sad, but over all very very excited.

You see, I'm moving. Not to a new apartment, in a new neighborhood. Nope. To a whole new city. In a whole new state. Atlanta, GA.

I'm sad because this means my time with Gimme! Coffee is coming to an end. Gimme!, in many ways, has been my salvation. I'll save you from the details. Except to say that it is extremely special to me and always will be.

First and foremost, I owe a huge debt to Mike White. He is responsible for inviting me into the Gimme! family and with that providing my entrance into this world of coffee. A community I am truly awed at being a part of. He decided to take a risk on the oddly quiet, intense, slightly scary kid sipping his espresso alone in the back booth. For this I will never be able to repay him.

Thank you Mike.

Enormous thanks also go out Kevin Cuddeback. He did START Gimme Coffee! after all. More important than that is the fact that he recognized my passion for coffee and did everything he could to support and foster that. Even if it meant spending ten days in Norway.

What will I do in Atlanta you ask?

Well, I'm very excited to announce that I am accepting the Customer Relations (trainer) position at the new Counter Culture Coffee training lab in downtown Atlanta.

I have a few weeks left on the bar at Gimme! Brooklyn. So, come down and say bye... or good riddance. Either way, come and see us. Oh yeah, and you can get some coffee too.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Grumpy's Groovin

Cafe Grumpy has kept us busy this week hosting two separate cuppings with industry titans Andrew Barnett and Peter Guliano respectively. Excited about the imminent grand opening of their new space Grumpy has flooded the west side of Manhattan with coffee buzz. Crowding the new space coffee fanatics from near and far gathered around to sniff slurp and spit with each other, listening in awe to stories from their numerous travels to Origin. Afterwards the crowds migrated towards the two Clovers (yes I said two) installed in the first cafe on the East Coast to offer brewed coffee strictly made to order via the Clover. No Bunn. No Fetco. No joke. Chris and Caroline worked overtime this week to host these two action packed evenings, and I for one appreciate it greatly. While simply excited to see friends put the finishing touches on their new baby, it's always great to pack a room with people who understand the trials and tribulations involved in what we all do. Add Andrew and Peter and you've got a world class coffee party. Of course warming up all the equipment in a brand new cafe is never without it's bugs and as the last few of us slowly finished wiping down counters and backflushing, Owens noticed a smell that anyone who has ever fried electrical equipment is well familiar with. Uh oh. We quickly traced it to the
right side of the Synesso and started taking it apart. While we didn't discover anything we decided to just unplug it and deal with it in the morning. The shop isn't open yet anyway, no need to leave it on all night. Hopefully it all works out for the best.

Thank you once again to Grumpy, Andrew, and Peter. This week was a special treat for the NY coffee scene.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

We're Back

So, Mike and I have been a little weak with the posting lately. Sorry about that.

Mike is sick and I'm tired.

Mike has had some sort of super flu and has been all but completely out of commission for weeks.

The store has been crazy busy as of late. We had been on a pretty rapid upward trajectory anyway and then the NYT article hit. Boom. It has been crazy ever since. We have set the company wide single day sales record as well as the company wide single hour sales record.

It has been a constant battle to keep up with the flow and still maintain quality. The only way we can do it is to run a two person bar as well as a cashier. Weekends we add a fourth person to the mix, if we could squeeze them in we might even run the three person bar. Our space is pretty tight, so needless to say it becomes a hectic ebb and flow of bodies and coffee.

By the time it's all done and 8 hours on bar is over, I'm spent.

I know every one reads here and here right? Knowing that I understand this now old news but I'll recount it anyway. The very friendly Ian and Becky from The Martha Stewart Show came by with cameras in hand. They brought some very bright lights. I get really nervous in the spotlight and Mike being sick, bowed out of the interview. So that left me to fly solo. That certainly didn't help to calm my nerves.

With cameras rolling I just went for it. Nerves and all, it seemed to go well. My hands did have a mind of their own, but my pours came out OK though. When it came time for the "beauty shot" (read this if you aren't sure what that is) of my latte, I went for a tulip/rosetta pour.

(This one was poured by our friend Nick B. from Dwelltime)

It wasn't my best but they didn't seem too excited about letting me pour another. We were last on the day's list and it had been a long day for them so I let it stand. Besides, they went to five different cafes and interviewed at least ten different people. Who knows what will actually survive the cutting room? In the end it will probably look as if Bob is pulling shots at Cafe Grumpy. If this episode helps people realize that coffee is not just a caffeine delivery system and can be a truly culinary experience, screw the continuity issues of a TV show. That's a tiny sacrifice. If the high quality cafes keep getting this kind of coverage maybe we can raise the bar a little more.

Time for bed.