Archive for November, 2008

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In Season Coffee

26/11/2008

Now I am not going to say that I am one of these coffee people who troll through the internet looking at everyone’s blog to see what is being talked about. Its more like, on a rare occasion, when I am thinking of someone who I have met within the industry, I will look them up on line to see what they are up to. So my next statement is coming purely from the true, lazy coffee geek at heart that I am.

Is it just me or has there been no real commentary about Intelligentsia’s new incentive to bring to the people, fresh, in season coffees? For years growing up in Australia’s coffee industry I was told that we could use green coffee up to two years after it was picked and it would still be as fresh as the day it were picked. I see around the world, everywhere that I have traveled, that no matter what time of year it is I can buy, lets say a Kenyan, Sumatran or Costa Rican coffee, still being served “fresh” in your cup on demand.

I’m not going to get into the debate about packaging and storing greens all I will say to that point is why not just roast and sell your coffee quickly so you don’t have to? Ok, Ok, I know that some packaging can help maintain fresh greens whilst they are on the water, I am not trying to spark a knowledge contest, just bare with me…

Several months ago I was particularly, no, extremely  excited when Intelligentsia, the once darlings of the industry announced internally that we would be launching the In Season initiative. I thought, great, this will for sure have the Industry a buzz with excitement again! Like the hype of “Direct Trade” or “Micro Lot” coffees which brought Intelligentsia’s name to the furthest corners of the globe, trade magazines would have Intelligentsia’s name plastered throughout their publications. Intelligentsia would once again be the talk of the community, instead, at least from what I can tell, there is nothing.

Is Intelligentsia’s In Season initiative the industries best kept secret or am I just missing the hype?

If you have not heard what I am talking about please do yourself a favor and visit the web site.

http://www.inseasoncoffee.com

One more thing, there is someone else that I want to welcome, not to Intelligentsia but rather our Roasting and Quality Control department. You might know him as a barista from Intelli’s Silver lake espresso bar or you might of met this relatively new comer to the industry at the Slow Foods Festival whilst he pulled shots of espresso for the crowd. Can you put your hands together for our new apprentice, Jared Linzmeier!!!

Mr Nature himself, Jared one of our Baristas by you.

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Follow up of sorts

12/11/2008

This time I am not going to apologize for taking my sweet time to write about the Canadian barista championships…

Let me start by saying that Montreal won me over in the end, at first I was not to impressed but they have some great foody, beer and wine places that are well worth the visit! Of course it was great to catch up with all the usual suspects there plus meeting some new/ old coffee folk.

So by now, you all know that the Canadian champion was Sammy Piccolo which I send out a big congratulations. It was my first time as technical judge with the new rules, which, I would have to say the changes work for the better. Most notably is the new rule that the shots have to be pulled within 3 seconds of each other. Through out the whole competition only a few competitors got there shots within the time frame. I noticed that most people for some reason or another were struggling with their cappuccino shots, I think for most, having to steam milk in between shots was enough to loose there place and time. Its actually nice to have something challenge the baristas because the last few events I have been to it got a tad boring ticking yes to everything on the tech sheets.

On an equipment standpoint, with out a doubt the Anfim’s are producing the least amount of waste, there were a few 6’s thrown out there for them, so that has to result in a competitive advantage over the other grinders. Still with the grinders, most guys and gals were spilling very little waste but when next to the Anfim’s we could not give full marks, the Anthem’s are just so clean! It will not be long till we see even more mods on the top grinders just so they can catch up to the Anfim’s.

I should thank the organizers of the event who went well out of their way to help me and I would love the opportunity to judge at the Canadian nationals again. That being said there is always room for improvement at these events and I wish them all the best in the future. Oh, and please be sure to have me back;-)

In other news in my world, its time to get my visas sorted again and over the next few weeks I will be asking all sorts of favors from my peers. The type of visa that I am going for (just for those who are wanting to get into the States) is called and O-1 visa. Basically it is an outstanding talent visa, typically, actors, muso’s and the like go for them. Thats not to say that I am talented nor very musically inclined still there are some quantifiable points that I have met to qualify. You have to be able to check off 4 out of ten requirements to meet the expectations of the US immigration.

For those who are trying to get into the states there are easier options as long as you have a degree in said field, and will be working within that field, for the duration of your time in America. There are things like science, food science, chemistry, engineering that would all help you coffee people along the way, but as I have no degree I have to be able to meet the criteria below (not all points are stated).

1) Has alien been published in trade magazines or journals?

2) Has alien been involved in a panel and or judged others work?

3) Is there documentation of the alien’s membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought.

4) Is there evidence that the alien has been employed in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation

5) Have coached or been involved in training others.

All of the above points I can say yes to, so as my lawyer pointed out, with testimonials from my peers, people I have coached, proof of publications, along with being employed with a reputable company I am a shoe in. There is a catch though, we are still waiting to find out whether or not my wife Julia, can work under my visa, if not we would have to think long and hard about our next step. The lawyer should be back to me within the next few days so fingers crossed it will go our way.

For more information on visas go to http://www.uscis.gov and good luck!

One last thing, if you have actually read through all this dribble and have not fallen to sleep yet, I just want to take the opportunity to welcome David Latourell to Intelligentsia, you all know who he is!

David Latourell of Clover by Klaus Thomsen

Photo by Klaus Thomsen