Saturday, March 12, 2005
wine of the barista competition
and with the usbc continuing, i was so happy to receive the 2001 vintage syrah from the roshambo winery that mark inman of taylor maid put together for the western regional barista championship in feb. isn't the label elegant?
long ago i used to keep a wine book of labels, but then a bunch of people made fun of me, so i don't do it anymore. but if i still had it, i would definitely add this label, for its simplicity and funky style.
the wine itself is well-reviewed. i know the laws in the u.s.a. are all crazy about ordering wine on the 'net, but i hope some of you, dear readers, can manage it!
i intend to open this wine tonight or tomorrow, depending on what's up with the current bottle we need to finish here at bccy. maybe today, since i'm not so sure this is a wine to drink with our regular sunday pizza!
it's just a blueberry week here, since this wine is said to have blue notes, and of course i'm still drinking americanos made with the fabulous doma delight, ruby blue. i defrosted a loaf of my own boule made from st. hamelman's recipe, cut two pleasant slices, spread 'em with a little rabbit rillette, and called that a fine lunch.
maybe i should have duck with prunes this evening, and try the syrah with that. . .? hmm, seems to be acceptable. . .even classic. . .
Friday, March 11, 2005
hip hip harrar
and so i began my morning with yet another nice cafetiére (that's a french press to you!) of terry's doma ethiopian organic harrar. i'm convinced this is the same harrar that appears in the ruby blue, which should tell you how lovely it has been.
it began with a solid, juicy blueberry aroma and a great chocolate flavor. . .at 10 days old, this harrar's blue sensation is now fading, fading, fading. but the chocolate stays strong in this beautiful coffee.
and then what came in the mail but a care package from mark inman at taylor maid. it enclosed not only a bottle of the barista competition wine, the 2001 syrah, but also those cute yellow cans of his espresso a-go-go and his occidental blend.
everyone knows how i feel about the a-go-go. i feel passionately about the a-go-go; i adore it. . .
also as the usbc continues, the news stories are racking up! such as this one here, that features long-time bccy pals chris deferio and kevin cuddeback from gimme coffee.
(what's my favorite gimme blend? the leftist! highly recommended!)
finally -- i hope tim fleming of caffé d'arte really means this -- as you can see in the very final comments here -- tim is kindly offering to let all bccy readers call him for free coffee samples of d'arte's famous roasted espresso blends. he asked for it. . .
all you guys have to do is make his phone ring off the hook!
Thursday, March 10, 2005
the usbc, the meetup, the nytimes & the mystery address
first, the u.s.b.c is underway in seattle. who will emerge as the u.s.a. barista champion? we'll find out this coming sunday!
second, the meetup was much better than i had feared. i rehearsed the little "espresso 101" theory thing, and thought i could do it in 30 mins; but of course with questions, etc. it took double that time.
yikes! i should have served coffee first. but now i know -- and hopefully now the poor meetup attendees also know that when i ask "what do you want to hear? do you really want the entire in-depth presentation?" they will have the wits to scream "no!"
i think overall the talk is good, but i need to serve coffee first, do half the presentation, break for 10 mins., do the hands-on, and then finish the spiel. and i can't fool myself that it can be done in less than 2-1/2 hours.
the main door prizes, kindly donated by whole latte love, went to brandy h. of new jersey and jacob p. of bklyn.
i also have to thank gillies for the uganda bugisu aa, dallis for steve schulman's "new york espresso," and of course, jonathan of joe the art of coffee for his own coffee and the locale, and the baristi, and. . .and. . .and!
further, a giant bccy "congrats!" to long-time altie and bccy pal richard reynolds for scoring a great espresso article in the nytimes yesterday (use bugmenot).
finally, i keep hearing everywhere that david schomer's new shop in soho here in nyc is to open very soon, even next week! who out there has the exact addresss?
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
why we like it
"much like caviar, foie gras and fine champagne, the best chocolate boasts an elegant and impressive mouthfeel that lets your taste buds know that something special is going on."
and then this article continues on to recommend charbonnel & walker, which long-time readers may recall that we've been drinking off-n-on here at bccy since, oh, 2002. . .very very fine stuff!
speaking of very fine stuff, all the goodies for tonight's scaa consumer nyc coffee meetup have arrived. if you want a shot at winning the main door prize for newbies, or even going home with some roasted coffee, run on over there and r.s.v.p. pronto!
not to mention the sheer joy of the hands-on espresso tutorial and run-through of espresso 101 theory. but mindful of scaa consumer member jim schulman's advice, and our experience with a similar workshop in atlanta last year, i'll begin by asking the group just what they want to know.
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
i don't want to start by saying "i had to tear myself away from the ruby blue" -- but this morning i had to tear myself away from the ruby blue to check out terry's doma "primo's organic espresso."
this espresso seemed a little oilier than the others, and so perhaps a tad beyond the full-city+ situation of the vito's and the ruby blue. or this could be perhaps be due to the fact that the coffee's a little older, now 7 days.
as always, the great linglese, and the scaa flavor wheel. . .
the primo's has some similarities to the vito's, in that the dry grounds share a green-spicy fragrance, but i would say the primo is more coriander-scented.
it also seems more caramel-y, even maple-syrupy, and has a stronger bitter cocoa powder aftertaste, with a dry finish that leaves you feeling like you'd like to have a glass of water with it.
as a result, i think it works very well in a cappuccino, because it can clearly sound through the milk and even a little of the da vinci simple splenda syrup.
if you're the kind of person who feels illy would be an good cup if it were both fresh and a little bolder, then i think you might like the primo's quite a bit!
Monday, March 07, 2005
48 hrs. and countin'
that's right, dear readers, it's just 48 hours to the next scaa consumer nyc coffee meetup. yesterday i finished retouching the "espresso 101" presentation, first put together for the 2004 atlanta conference by awesome altie and c-member jim schulman.
i do have some gaggia equipment to give away to newbies, sweetly donated by whole latte love, and some roasted coffee for everyone else, also sweetly donated by a vareity of roasters.
i'll have some kind coffee pros -- 3 or 4 pro baristi and at least 1 pro roaster -- to help everyone out as we play with the la marzocco 2-group espresso machine at this hands-on espresso workshop.
time is always too short, but i hope with these many tampers to aid us everyone who wants to will get at least once chance to pull a proper shot. and drink it!
naturally i finished my little tasks while drinking an americano of the ruby blue and listening to low's newest disc, which is quite interesting -- much better than pitchfork thinks. or maybe it's just because i'm from kansas and have survived a couple of tornadoes that i can relate to the giant thunderhead on the cover.
then i made a practice cappuccino just for the heck of it, to practice that basic swirl-type etching another time before the meetup.
tomorrow i really must get to terry's doma "primo's organic espresso." but oh am i loathe to leave that ruby!
Sunday, March 06, 2005
hello ruby blue
i know, i know. it sounds like it could be a rolling stones song, right?
but actually it's terry's incredible espresso that i just fell in love with this morning.
so before i made up a batch of pizza sauce for this evening, i naturally had to play with the doma "ruby's organic espresso."
as terry says, "you can rejoice about helping the environment without wearing hemp," which is a good thing, since i'm a blumarine girl, personally!
it's the usual great linglese and scaa flavor wheel again. . .
i believe this is actually a mélange, the different coffees roasted separately and then blended together; some of the beans are 1/4 covered in oil, the rest are dry and seem about the same full-city-ish color as yesterday's vito.
i have to say that to my mind this coffee is just in a category by itself -- so different than the vito. whereas the vito had a tea-rose fragrance, this has more a softer and yet just as vivid floral feeling -- if it were a perfume, i'd say "white flowers."
terry describes this coffee as having a "subtle blueberry note." let me say it's about as subtle as a brick in a sock; it has a big, bold juicy blueberry aroma that i immediately found completely addictive.
i wanted to sprinkle it on my oatmeal, that's how strongly blue-fruited it was. and a powerful vanilla-syrup scent too.
i had it as an espresso, which was good; as a cappuccino, the milk reduced the blueberry sensation, which is a waste to my mind.
in fact, i prefer this as an americano, because i believe it's the espresso drink that most strongly capitalizes on the blueberry.
however i suppose if i were a purist, i might say that to use what's obviously such gorgeous blue accent in espresso is a waste, and it would be best to drink an elegant blue-singing coffee like this as a single-origin in a vac pot.
i am a purist! and yet, i still adore the "ruby blue" espresso. i'm making americanos with this baby until the bag runs out.
and no, you can't have any.
i must have hit the sweet spot, because at 5 days old, ms. ruby blue came bursting out of my single-spout in large honey-colored spheres to puddle in a dream liquid with a creamy supple body.
order your own pound. terry says it's good at 196 degrees f, and "solid" at 201-202.