Archive for May, 2008


Signature drink…


Playing around with ideas

Sig drink?

Kyle has his own idea

in my hair

Now hear mine

get here!

Oh yeah!

Thats how it goes

Quick KC’s here!

Enter KC....

That’s all for tonight we have a meeting at Kyles house at 7.30pm.


Cabin Fever


Stir crazy is in the air… Kyle (the competitor) is raving mad, Nick (Griffith) is being coy about something, Nick (Barnett) has gone AWOL, and poor Sean (our warehouse guru from Chicago) is cowering in the corner, scared. Neither Sean nor the rest of us have any idea that Kyle is about to do the run-through that nightmares are made of!

Kyle has something to sayDon't play coy

he turns up in the darndest places



1) Kyle has to remake his second set of shots.


2) For some reason Kyle is not practicing with 6 cups, so he re-serves espresso in the dirty ones.


3) He falters during the introduction of his sig drink speech.


4) He forgets to tell the judges how to drink his espresso.




1) Disaster hits as his steam wand covers his bench in water.


2) The drinks have good definition but come out a little on the thin side.


3) A key ingredient in his sig drink is not dispensed correctly.


Signature Drink:


1) The second set of shots pours from one side of the spout, defying gravity for almost the whole time.


2) He doesn’t have not enough time to remake his espresso.


3) The device to help pour his sig drink ends up being more of a hindrance then an aid.


4) Kyle forgets to his spare cloth to wipe up drips from his “pouring aid”.


5) He runs out of time before he gets to add his final ingredient in his sig drink.



Maybe the good luck charm that I set on the end of the judges’ table is not so lucky after all. (No, it couldn’t be that.)

Head judge

So with all that said and done, we have learnt from his mistakes, and we have worked out: how to dispense his sig drink better and cleaner, how to get around the gravity-defying espresso, how to make sure that the ingredients in his sig drink will work for him, how to allow more time in case he needs to re-pull shots, and how to iron out some kinks in our grinder. All this while working on his speech and mannerisms.

Kyles tool

Now to do another run through!



Visitors, Proverbial Red Carpets, and What Makes Specialty Coffee Great


May 19, 2008


OK, I had every intention of posting every day of training but yesterday we had some very special visitors drop by which foiled my plans. So instead of writing, Kyle and I rolled out the red carpet for our friends Chris Owens and M’lissa Muckerman (who people might recognize from the cover of the latest Barista Magazine). I shouldn’t forget our friend Tonx and Intelligentsia’s Nick Griffith as well as Russell, a new mate from Australia who is running a cafe in Sydney.


TonxThe crew

M'lissaKyle and Chris Owens




This was a great opportunity to do a run-through in front of some very experienced people. As it happens, Chris actually judged Kyle in the semi-finals of the USBC, so what better person than him to give some sound advice?


Now Kyle still has some bits and pieces missing from his routine (like some of the wood work that he is getting hand-made), so I asked the crew to really think about overall impressions rather then anything technical. We set up our camcorder on the tripod and with an imaginary red button Kyle started his run-through. 15 minutes later we all ripped in to him… in a constructive manner, of course.


We got some fantastic feedback from everyone involved, so I really want to give a big “thanks” to all who joined in! I really believe that this is what competition is about: sharing ideas and innovation and the coming together over coffee. I like to think that most of us are in the Specialty Coffee industry because our passion drives us and this was really the case today.


Today (Sunday) we are here again writing out Kyle’s speech, waiting for our dishwasher to wash all the wares. (It did not turn on last night for some strange reason.) So to inspire ourselves, we are listening to the 2006 WBC podcast on Klaus Thomsen really nailed his performance with no hesitation, no um’s and er’s. I just wish I had of been there to witness it.


Thanks again to all who were here yesterday!




1st stumble through


After a long night of getting most of Kyle’s gear in some sort of recognizable order, we decided to have our first run-though. Now, it’s easy to think that this might just be a breeze as he is already well-rehearsed, but due to the fact that we are changing things up, we could more appropriately call this a “stumble-through”.

“Tonight judges, um, erm we will be tasting a coffee from, um erm, an area just out side of, um erm…” You get the picture. Now even though this was quite the run-through, it’s great to get it out and now have a place to move forward from. Kyle definitely needs to immerse himself in his coffee, geography, story and the whole meat and veggies without forgetting the taste. It’s our goal to know the coffee so well that we will both be dreaming about it.

What are the key points that we want the judges to get and how can he be assured they are getting them? Coming up with lists of descriptors, correcting posture and eye contact… the list really does go on and on. Kyle needs to be able to take, not only the judges, but the audience as well on a culinary journey just like, say, Jamie Oliver (the Naked Chef) does.

The week is over but our weekend has just started. With our day-to-day jobs put to rest for 48 hours, our competition work is just about to start.


Looking at the clock through tired eyes


Looking at the Clock through Tired Eyes

May 16, 2008


Well, here we are again in the training room at Intelli LA, and it feels
late already as Kyle and I both have been at work since 7am doing our
day-to-day jobs. What time is it now? 10:10pm? That feeling of being tired
to the very bone creeps back, but this time there is a different energy.
This must be what James Hoffman felt like preparing for the WBC last year,
and I am sure he and Stephen Morrissey are in the exact same boat again this


Today after some long logistical meetings we are really just doing a
re-grouping of sorts. Kyle has taken the all too familiar trip up to Crate &
Barrel after realizing that all of his equipment was damaged on the trip
home from Minneapolis. He has made some incredible purchases and has
definitely improved on his USBC performance equipment.

We are in talks with some old contacts of mine in Europe to see if and how
they could help us out in the next few weeks. I won’t go into too much
detail as nothing is confirmed, but if we can pull it off, the help will go
a long, long way! Distractingly, a constant buzzing in the background of our
1960’s Dolly Madison ice cream maker is only slightly drowned out by Kyle’s
search for a new sound track. The ice cream and music are only some of the
changes and a lot of people have already started to ask: “Why make any
changes to your performance?” To which Kyle replies: “I like to keep it
fresh and interesting.”

Well, I will keep it short as I now have to go and watch his run through and
we have a lot to improve on as the judges correctly pointed out in his score
sheets. I will try and do a running blog as we go further into our training.




Minneapolis to WBC!


Just wanted to say congratulations to my work mate and mate, Kyle Glanville for taking out the USBC with one of the highest scores to date. A lazy 803 saw the kid be crowned in front of a couple of hundred peaple and lord only knows how many online viewers.

So if you had of asked me only 5 weeks ago if I was going to go to Copenhagen I would of answered a deflated, no, I can’t afford it… At this point Kyle Glanville had asked me to be his coach for the WRBC and I have to be honest I am not really sure why, but still gladly accepted his invite. I guess after the WRBC in Berkley he realised not only did he have to step his routine up but he need someone to iron his shirts and table cloths while he slept…

All the Intellicrew from both sides of the country were fantastic and the support they showed for each other was just fantastic to be a part of. Nick was so polished in the finals that there were people betting on him to win and I will say I was really disappointed that he came in 5th but we can’t have them all I guess.

the semi'sNick in mid cap motion

Shar getting ready for her husband NickCleaning up after the comp

(Shar getting her hair done in the hotel room and back stage after all is said and done)

I can’t wait to see all my old buddies over in Europe it will just be fantastic after such a long time! We have so much to organise between now and then its just mind blowing and almost too full on to think about. I guess I will carry a note pad with me everywhere we go and just keep writing down ideas as they pop up!

We have bought some training tools to help in Kyles run up to the WBC a very use full tool that not only will help us criteque but also document Kyles progress. So in the near future keep an eye out for my updates and what nots, some of it should be interesting. 

On a personal note I also got to judge at the event, I was very excited and very nervous all at once as, unlike in Berkley all I had to do was sensory. I had some fantastic coffees come across my palate and out of the guys and girls that I judge I would have to say that Chris Deferio’s was the best. Even though he did not make into the finals I know that his sensory score would have been high.

The SCAA show that the comp was on was great I had the chance to meet for the first time Bridget and Justin from St Ali in Melbourne. They were telling me about the woes they are having with the importers there now that they are starting to bring in there own coffees. Also my old mate Reuben from Mecca web site guys, where’s that creative flare that I know you have;-) who have just installed a vintage probat in Sydney that looks fantastic.

I found it refreshing to have some younger Aussie’s around to hear what has been going on in Australia, these three are really going to be the movers and shakers. They are really wanting to develope and shake up the industry back home and they are already succeeding! I wish them the best and I will be leaning on them if I get kicked out of America.

Other then that we are up and roasting and we getting more and more work loaded onto us every week, its a great change to just sitting around talking about coffee. Though my poor girlfriend Julia is not happy with the new hours but she is a tough Kiwi and is standing by me through this transition.

That’s it for now have a look at the new Mystral that we have to play with…