it has seriously been a long time.
i'm sittin' in a cafe in Bristol, TV/VA called Java J's. the State Street location is sort of lazy tonight. a pretty intense game of chess (yeah, with the punch clocks and everything) is goin' on right across from me. i like this place because they're the only establishment in the Tri-Cities at which i don't have to request a traditional cappuccino by using the term "esprrrresso macchiato" (and here's to all you David Schomer fans). humor aside, it's sort of disturbing. in the phone book for the tri-cities, there are 17 registered "cafes," or coffee shops, or coffee-specific food service establishments, excluding $tarbuck$. i've now been to all of them. and while they all have their diverse flavors of patrons, the skills maintained by the baristas all taste the same. burnt milk, improperly pulled espresso, cold cups, sloppy pours. am i a stickler? i guess. but i'm a professional barista - at least in the sense that my sole source of income is sourcing coffees - so i should be. again, i guess i'm just disappointed with all the money being spent on poorly served coffee. maybe i'm gettin' over-roasted on the espresso scene around here. maybe i'm just gettin' too big for my proverbial britches. is this an existential crisis? and who really believes that what is at its essence a commodity can do such things to a man? anyway, enough cerebral stuff!
hot topic for you to research/discuss:
starbucks acquired the rights to the clover machines. what sort of impact do you think this will have on the specialty coffee industry? what does this mean for the anti-theses of starbucks, like intelligensia who already own the $11,000 machines? is starbucks trivializing coffee again(!)?
my trip to cleveland was amazing. thank you to all at phoenix coffee, especially the ladies at flaggy's house who so graciously accepted my stinky feet on their couch (just for you, i wore socks as i slept). i loved the entire experience, hell, i even loved that there was 2 feet of snow on the ground. i can't say enough good things about these people or the coffee they're roasting/serving/talking about. were i a lesser fan of the south, i'd be applying for a job. note: packed into my things for the return trip were not only a french press and three pounds of amazing coffee, but at once a completely revitalizing inspiration for espresso work and a panic-inducing weight, the burden of bringing such inspiration to the coffee consumers of my home.
also, one day, a dream flaggy and i share is to open a coffee shop. an artisan coffee shop/(maybe) roasterie. little to no food. coffee brewed in every form. sort of a coffee lab, with a stove for moka pots and free home-made dinners for anyone to come and share around a big wooden table. music, friends, coffee, life. it's gonna be done. just you wait.
i'm signing off. hopefully in the next week i'll get to some specifics. but in the works is an iced drink with pomegranate and rooibos espresso. also, a dark chocolate and pepper "mexican mocha." kaffe blue still has the chocolate and roses latte, which is still being ordered in spite of its lack of presence on the menu. come by. let me make you a drink.