Year in review20/12/2008
The comments by volta on my In Season Coffee 2 post has got me thinking about the year gone by in all things coffee, so I thought that I would come up with my own best of list for the year.
1. Coaching Kyle Glanville through to the World Barista Championships in Copenhagen. This was an emotionally charged build up from the western regional, USBC and to the worlds, we poured so much time and effort into this event it was absolutely exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time. I also want thank Mr Doug Zell for his relentless support during this time as well.
2. Training and development by Mr Geoff Watts and Mr K.C. O’Keefe with out these two in my life my palate would still be back in the stone age. Mr Watts introduced me to the Intelligentsia way of cupping then Mr K.C. O’ Keefe relentlessly drilled it into me! Thanks guys!
3. Learning to roast on our 40kg Gothot, although we were sitting in construction dust for a better part of 5 months twiddling our thumbs. Once we fired her up on April 1st the learning curve was steep, we burnt through thousands of dollars dialing her in (and us) before we opened the doors. Once the doors opened we scrambled to get our systems in place, I laugh at the thought that we were only roasting at best 2 to 2 and half batches per hour. Now we roast an average of 4 batches per hour and have roasted over 3500 batches of what I hope is delicious coffee.
4. Roasting Kyle’s Santa Teresa from Panama competition coffee for the WBC, this coffee was so heavy in the drum it roasted unlike anything I had experienced. It came into our warehouse extremely close to the competition time we barely had time to dial it in I think I got to roast a hand full of times before we had to, due to time constraints roast it for the competition. I roasted 6 batches in total for competition (3 on one day then another 3 the day after) and every time I had goose bumps from head to toe, full of adrenalin.
5. Being part of the purchasing team for the Black Cat Project and developing the Black Cat Classic along side of Kyle Glanville and Steven Lee its an been an honor gents!
6. Becoming a USBC certified judge, unfortunately I missed out on the WBC accreditation just gone by but to be certified in Europe and the United States is very satisfactory indeed.
7. seeing my good friend Stephen Morrissey, whom I worked with for years back in Dublin, Ireland, take out the World Barista Championships. When he won, it was such an amazing lift from the sinking feeling of not having Kyle in the finals. Copenhagen was so intense, so emotional, so good I ain’t afraid to say that I cried like baby for that kooky guy.
8. Seeing my coffee world get even smaller. I feel very fortunate that I have made many friends through out my time in coffee and I am seeing them/ us all develop fantastic careers within our industry. When I left Europe I thought that I would not see anyone from that neck of the woods ever again it has not been the case at all.
9. To hear the success of Mr Klaus Thomsen and the kids at the Coffee Collective is inspiring.
10. Judging at the Western Regional in Berkley and finally meeting all the personalities that I had been reading about for so long.
11. I guess all the traveling could be put into one list as well, even though some of it was not especially for coffee I always, somehow ended up sneaking in some coffee time. Places I have traveled this year, Berkley, San Fran (twice), Copenhagen, Los Vegas (not for coffee), Minneapolis, Montreal, Long Beach and New York.
12. Working with all at Intelligentsia, not having any old friends or family here in LA, the kids at Intelli have been a great substitute, thanks! Also all the other coffee friends that I have made along the way there are to many to mention but you know who you are as well.
Best Coffees not in any order as they were all winners!
Santa Teresa from Panama, Kyle’s competition coffee for the worlds was a beautiful coffee with an even better story. It sat on our cupping table and divided a company with its supreme fruits that had some believe it could have slight ferment. It didn’t we bought it and it, was, GOOOOOD!
Matalapa, El Salvodor, used for the competitions building up to the WBC for our barista team. Such a stellar coffee to work with full of fruit sweetness that was so forgiving in the roaster.
Haicenda La Esmerelda, Geisha Jaramillo Especial. Man oh man the richest sweetest coffee I have ever had Jasmin, Jasmin, Jasmin need I say more.
Kurimi, Ethiopia, I love this coffee it is really challenging to roast this bad boy but when we nail it there is a small victory dance performed every time. With this one, we have to have it out of the roaster and in the cooling tray in around twelve minuets making it the fastest roast that we do and I have ever done.
Ndaroini, Kenya great plum sweetness fantastic savory notes as well and once again really forgiving in the roaster. The sweeter the coffee the easier and more forgiving it is to roast. We can can so much out of this coffee its fantastic.
Tres Santos, Colombia, this to my mind is our sleeper coffee it just does everything that a good solid coffee should do. This coffee is so easy to drink I can sip on it all day, great cherry notes with a body that is plump and lush, good, good, good!
San Jose, Nicaragua, yet another good solid coffee that can be drank all day without getting overloaded by overt sweetness or acidity, like some of the other coffees that I have mentioned. One to have in on a cold day, not that I get them in LA. Oh and Steve is a great guy who went well out of his way during our stay in New York recently.
I am starting to realize that I could go on and on about our coffees and coffees I have been in touch with, how lucky am I to be in contact with such stellar beverages!
Other coffees I have had and are worthy of a mention are The Coffee Collectives espresso blend, Stephen Morrissey’s competition blend, Ritual had a fantastic Colombian that they show cased at the Slow Foods, I just can’t remember the name for the life of me. I am sure that I am forgetting some coffees here but there are just way to many!
I hope everyone has a great new year, thanks for taking the time to read!