I’ve been busy, but again I apologise for not posting. In my defense though, if I had posted, it would have been pure drivel and I’d rather not waste all your precious time; God knows a lot of us coffee bloggers talk a lot of nonsense you have to trudge through.
So anyway, last time I posted was in Toronto, which yes, was over a month ago. I remember I had some interesting musings from the competition at the time, but am struggling to remember them for you now. I do know it was well organised though, relatively well attended, and the right person won. I was impressed by the nuovo machines, and thought the stars for me were the volunteers like Ian Clarke, Robert Goble, Matthew Lee, Brad Ford, the gentlemen of Transcend Coffee and all the other competitors’ runners. Its easy to forget just how finicky running these things are, and how many people you need to keep it running smoothly. WBC 07, as I’ve said before, has set a template model for how to run it well, presuming you have the ample resources.
The other fun part of Toronto was getting to know some of the coffee crowd there, an interesting bunch, who like most other spots, seem to befriend and visit each other. Sadly I didn’t have any shots on my trip that excited enough to raise my number, although I must admit Amber Fox made me a shot of Kid O in Dark Horse Espresso Bar that was really very decent. People like her, Liz Clayton, Johnathan Aroundalot, Jay, Tracy Allen, Brent Fortune, Scott the great tech judge, and the crew of Manic Coffee, made the trip a lot of fun for me. Thanks, and I’m sorry to bore you all with this, but I have to say thanks especially must go to Les Kuan and Vida Radovanovic, who looked after me so well on the trip. Les gives such an incredible amount of time to these events and deserves a lot of appreciation and respect.
OK, so since then,.. well apart from catching up with things non coffee, putting off getting a driving license, cooking a lot ( see above), I’ve been doing some work for my friend Joe O Hara in the UK. Joe operates mobile coffee bars and crews that provide high quality coffee as an attraction for events, including breakfast with the Rolling Stones, backstage at Glastonbury, Live 8, and two weeks ago 21’000 beauticians at a beauty conference in Manchester-fierce busy.
Its not that they were ditsy customers, but there was an awful lot of difficulty with people thinking they could form their own que point, as opposed to the one three feet away 30 people deep. In addition, there were many cases of ladies forgetting and then changing their order from the pay point to collect point, assured we’d made the mistake despite having a receipt in their hands. Another favourite was the lady who complained about her Hot Chocolate being cold, immediately after we served it to her, arguing it was ‘just drinkable’. I had to struggle to hide the smirk, or my fury. All good fun though.
What makes these jobs particularly enjoyable, is that Joe is fairly particular about what he’s serving, and so hires, (all modesty out the window), only decent baristas and uses a high a very quality roaster, Steve Leighton. Hes fussy about standards and expects us to deliver quickly but withot any compromises. Personally I enoy this demand a lot as I’d hate to lose complete contact with the enviroment a high volume bar offers.
So for this event, it was myself, Joe, and two New Zealanders who work and did work in London’s best coffee spot Flat White, Matt and Jineen (spelling?). I love when I get the chance to work with new baristas in a high volume enviroment, who I suppose you could say come from a different school of brewing with espresso.
We were working off Spaziale s5′s, which although not necessaryily the darling of our current wave, I must say I’ve come to grow very fond of the little workhorses. They can run off very little power, and as long as you make sure your water barrels are full, they never give any trouble. I suspect its not the most stable machine out there, but as the smallest drink we really sold, (we did offer espresso and macchiato, however beauticians seemed to like their milk) was 8 oz to go cappuccinos or lattes, I didn’t lose too much sleep over what I might be losing or conceivably gaining, in each shot.
OK, I’m off to pop into town to see if anywhere new in Dublin is serving decent coffee. I know Google is having an in house barista competition, and I think Buzz Fendall, the self titled bald barista,has opened a new cafe so theres a slight chance of another post coming soon. Oh yeah, and I booked flights last night for Jenny and I to come out to New York on the 31st of December till the 5th of January, so hopefully I’ll get to catch up with some the community while there. Right thats all, consider my blog updated. Leave me alone.
oh and my chemex broke,theres no nice coffee in my house and its my birthday tomorrow. you have your hints,….
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