Saturday, March 26, 2005
pity the pod people, part ii
"industry watchers doubt that tassimo [a pod machine] will be able to reverse the coffeehouse trend or make up for kraft's losses in ground coffee."
aawwwhh. how my heart bleeds for those poor people at kraft, who can't seem to push their overpriced pod-water products on a new, more quality-savvy, coffee-drinking public.
the same public that is rejecting kraft's maxwell house, a brown, bitter liquid "good to the last drop" only if your aim is to poison houseplants.
when are these large companies going to figure out that selling expensive machines that work only with these also expensive, pre-ground (and thus stale) coffee pods/capsules is a loser? that the specialty coffee lover is the one driving this market?
and the consumers in the high-growth specialty sector want only fresh, high-quality coffees?
"this is not a good time to be in ground coffee," [an industry analyst] warns. "and it's hard to see better times ahead."
long-time readers can understand why this news piece just pre-heats my espresso cup.
so let's talk about the espresso i drank outta that nice warm cup: mark inman's taylor maid espresso occidental. it makes a mighty fine cappuccino for those of you who love dark-roasted, full-oil coffees.
even i, who am not generally fond of coffee as dark as mark's, find it enjoyable.
and of course tomorrow is one of the largest chocolate holidays, easter! it's hard for me to get excited about it sadly, since most of the chocolate aimed for this time is of such low quality.
there's still time to run out and buy gift boxes of fine artisanal chocolate from places like richart, you know!
i myself have been celebrating the clutch of holidays -- purim, easter, passover -- with a bar of scharffen berger 62% mocha given to me by mr. right. the scharf isn't my favorite eating chocolate by far, but hey! i'm not complaining!
never look a bar of gift chocolate in the mouth, or however you wanna say that. . .
Friday, March 25, 2005
in which i escape. . .
and return to my small island off the coast of the united states. never has a gray day at j.f.k. filled with traffic looked so pleasant.
i could have hugged my sikh driver hard enough to dislodge his turban. we crawled down the highway, past engine 324, past lefrak city, through red hook, up atlantic avenue past the promenade. . .
heaven was making it home in time to whip up a batch of killer brownies before it was time for the avengers on bbc america, the only network worth watching lately!
and at last, real coffee tomorrow -- buongiorno, ms. silvia! como sta, carlos expobar!
how in heaven's name will i survive going to seattle for conference? all you fellow coffee lovers from da ci-tay had better meet me there or else i just might die for lack of a solid and sympathetic noo yawk posse. . .
Thursday, March 24, 2005
and as nick of murky coffee pointed out in the comments on yesterday's post, long-time bccy pal jonathan of joe has a nice little mention in the ny times (use bugmenot).
devoted readers will recall that i held my last march 9 coffee meetup there, the famed hands-on espresso workshop.
then i also gave a quick run-thru of some basics of scaa chief ted lingle's flavor wheel and such with his staff, both of his current store and the new one that's about to open. . .jonathan was nice enough to call this boring little chat "the best event to ever happen" at his place.
i hope we can all go back and do more wheel, the nez du café and of course a formal cupping! ted claims that staff who get this training sell an extra pound of coffee every day for every 3 flavor wheel words they learn to experience.
so this staff training is of great use to all coffee shop owners and retailers!
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
last night all the people involved in this business event that has sent me to boston decided to go to the famed legal seafood. once there, we decided to share a bottle of wine.
dread moment! it turned out several of the people wanted a white wine. meanwhile, two others insisted the only whites they liked were rieslings and gewurtztraminers. oh oh oh no.
but there i was, trying to be a good citizen and play nice in the sand box. thus i suggested everyone go with the fairly reliable trimbach, which makes both types.
"sweet or buttery?" i asked -- to say "dry" i think confuses people sometimes, because dry doesn't sound appetizing. "plain sauce or are you going to choose a spicy sauce for your fish?" (because i think that sweeter wines might go a tad better with a spicier sauce. . .mostly.)
the choice was buttery/dry. so the trimbach gewurtztraminer was the choice. i have to say, i was afraid to have the coffee there, since all the coffee i've had in boston that i haven't made myself has been, as expected, too weak. . .
but on that coffee note, the coffee masters blend i've brought with me to boston is holding up nicely. there's a fair bloom and a nice chocolate-y aftertaste.
bodum travel press, i love you. and this evening, i hope to make it back to the yoga mandala center.
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
anusara found; coffee situation stable
i must say that the yoga class last night with nicole, the owner of said yoga mandala outside boston, was very good. nicole seems at root an anusara teacher, with that emphasis on alignment and a standard anusara-type asana flow.
however, in the middle of the sun salutations, she did stop to teach nauli as a further heating mechanism for the body and then resumed the b series! she was filling in for regular teacher elliott, and i was glad to meet her as the studio owner.
not to mention that she gives very good adjustments.
i enjoyed the class, which i considerd a basic level, and will if possible return on wed. the center itself is very cute and friendly.
Monday, March 21, 2005
i think i found a fairly nearby yoga studio with an evening vinyasa class: yoga mandala.
if i can get there on time, well, i'll report on what boston yoga's like! i hope this elliot person is a good teacher!
this was a hard find, because it seems like most studios around here are bikram, which is not my cup of kheer. . .
however, i must say that mike ebert's coffee masters bag of mocha harrar/java in the bodum travel press made quite a decent cup this morning. it had a nice bloom today after opening, but let's see how it holds out tomorrow.
Sunday, March 20, 2005
missive from the mainland
this suburb of boston where i am ensconced for the week -- omigod, i'm trapped on the mainland far away from the nice pakistani men who ferry me about in lincoln town cars and where people are happy to deliver anything at anytime to your door -- doesn't even have a mermaid.
dunkin is the height of coffee here, to which i ride in the hotel shuttle, since, as long-time bccy readers know, i don't personally drive.
now i understand why the hotel clerk told me over the phone to bring my own coffee. which i of course did: scaa board member and roasters guild bigwig mike ebert's coffee masters ethiopian harrar/java blend, newly available in my local garden of eden.
of course, i support scaa pro members 100%. but i have to say that even without opening this nice package, i am a tad depressed as a consumer with this coffee.
there is no roast-dating! i have no idea when this coffee was roasted, altho' the package assures me that coffee masters has "midwestern family values" and is packed with "the latest 'stay-fresh' technology."
that's great to know, but honestly, honestly, i don't care if the sweet people at coffee masters are divorced, laudanum-addicted, libertine worshippers of astarte at this moment -- is your coffee fresh? that's the only thing i want to demand of the rather indiana-jones-looking guy on the label.
with all due respect, i expect more of a member of the guild. there is a mysterious white tag on the back of the bag reading "2 24 5," which i am pessimistically assuming is the date this coffee was shipped.
that would make it not quite a month old, which i freely confess means it is fresher than any illy i could get my hands on. it would be much worse for me if it was actually a "use by" date.
however, i'll never know. because they haven't seen fit to tell me.
i don't mean at all to be harsh on coffee masters here. they are part of the "good guys," i'm on their side.
but it's precisely because i know they are "one of us" that i have higher standards for them!
anyway, now all i have to do is figure out how to boil water around here. . .and see if the local gym offers yoga classes or something in the evening. . .