Wednesday, November 5, 2008

So Long...

Not to this blog. Don't worry, though you've probably stopped by now seeing as how I haven't updated in a seriously long time. As well as (much like you), I forgot that I even had a blog. But I'm back, and I've started using appropriate capitalization.

Here's the skinny (barista joke!):

In September, I quit Kaffe Blue in search of bigger and better things. Mostly, I wanted to find a job that was less routine, less early in the morning (yeah, I'm one of those night owls that drinks espresso after 8p.m.), less (in terms of coffee) intellectually disappointing. Not to say that the people I met there were not smart or stimulating or funny or witty, just to say that as much as I tried to push artisan coffee, educate the public in regards to "best practices," and develop Kingsport as one of the few and far between pockets of great coffee culture in the mountain south, it wasn't working. Only so many times can I explain why I won't make iced espresso or why the swill they bought at the gas station isn't a cappuccino before I either automate the process through pamphlets of questions you should get answered before coming into my shop or start getting tired of it. Don't get me wrong, I'll hold my tongue while adding as much flavor to a great latte as you want; I'll also make you your one and a half shot frappe without asking you for a physician-signed note saying you can't take 2 but need more than 1. But it does get old when the net effect of hard work, education, and practice equals yelling made-up words to a deaf audience with their eyes closed and backs towards you.

I had great customers, too, of course. I will miss all of my regulars, like the guy who gave me riddles, the old (may or may not be) homeless gentleman who would dance to the radio outside while i was opening and tell me about his 5th wife 30 years his junior, Miss Dawn and her posse that was ever-growing, the librarian crew or Erica's young daughter who called me "Mister Scott" and cried when she learned I was no longer part of her mornings. And if customers and their coffee were my sole job responsibility, I would still be there. But, a full service lunch gets crazy when you're short-staffed, making drinks, bussing tables, seating people, delivering food, and trying to keep everyone including co-workers happy.

However, here's what went down since the last post:
Two summer-special drinks.
1. The Cape Town Iced Tea: A tea made from rooibos red tea, shot of pomegranate juice, and a splash of blueberry syrup and made to order. Pink/orange in color, the flavor of those fruits with some vanilla notes from the rooibos somehow combined to cleanse the pallate. Seriously, you know that weird feeling when you eat something like garlic that sticks to your taste buds no matter how much you brush your tongue? Exactly the opposite sensation. I thought it was amazing, but apparently it's an acquired taste: over half were sent back with the note "disgusting."

2. The Mexican Mocha: Obviously (hopefully), a latte. We used a very slight amount of cayenne pepper on top of a rich chocolate made by Ghirardelli and pulled the shots on top of that. Milk (obviously), stir, and sprinkle on some cinnamon and you've got it. Amazing, and I don't even like chocolate. At all.

Also, I developed my own signature espresso blend using single-origins from our roaster. Our roaster wasn't happy, and said because we were no longer using his espresso blend, he "no longer recommend us to potential customers." Ridiculous, because he would still be our source for coffee. For my tastes, after drinking his espresso, I was left with this sensation of phlem lingering at the back of my throat like a loogie. I heard the mark of great espresso was that after drinking it, one wouldn't need a glass of water; it's supposed to clean your pallate, not give you pseudo-sinus drainage. So I set out to develop "The Beast" blend, which performed beautifully and better in all categories, as espresso, in lattes, cappuccinos, and americanos. It was smooth, clean, and a little earthy on the finish without all that acidity and crazy citrus running around all over your tongue. Now, when I left, I didn't give the recipe to Kaffe Blue. I did, however, give it to Jesse (the barista there who brought me into the Kaffe Blue Coffee Club). Very shortly thereafter, she left, and I haven't been back since. Therefore, I can't say with any certainty that the espresso blend is the one I developed, but I am doubtful it is. Still, if you want the blend recipe, tell me and I'll see what I can do for you.

Enough of that. So it's time to pursue a job in a field that suits the degree I'm paying for. Currently, I haven't snagged that job. Still, I'd love to fix your computer for you. Give me 5 bucks for the materials and talk to me about coffee and technology and we're set.

By this weekend (I promise), I will have another opinion up, this time on a cafe/roasterie in Chattanooga called Greyfriar's Coffee and Tea.

Thanks and love,



Jesse said...

Long time no see.
Nope, KB does NOT have your blend recipe. Chris did ask for it, but it's still under lock & key.

That's crazy what John said...I can't even believe that. Coming from someone who claims to appreciate coffee, roasting, blending, knowledge about such things, etc...

Sorry you haven't found a job yet. I haven't either. :/

And I'm still bummed I didn't get to see you before I left. I'm road tripping out there when the weather warms up though, so I'll catch up with you then.

vincent said...

Scott. Let's make our own cafe. Fuck these losers.

I'm getting back into the game, via starbucks. I hate myself. Give me a better medium?