Saturday, December 31, 2005
the yrg trio, or andrew's hama
long-time readers will remember willem boot's famed ethiopian internet coffee auction, which was a tipping point in how specialty coffee is sourced, how farmers who deliver high quality are paid, and how farmers and roasters can work together to create great new mutually sustainable business relationships. i crowed about it at the time.
but the question in everyone's mind was: how's the coffee? and the awesome andrew b. of ecco sealed the judgement when he sent me yesterday's batch, which included his offering from that auction, his northern-italian style roast of the hama co-op yrg.
the truly devoted reader will recall i've had the privilege of sampling 2 other coffees from this auction so far this autumn: oren's incredible finchwa and scott & jessica's batdorf "latitudes" kello. and they are eff-ing incredible coffees, beans that seem more like stellar harrars than a traditional yrgacheffe.
let me instantly report that andrew's coffee is in the same vein -- but even more so. or perhaps just because it's been awhile since i've had the others, my memory's been cracked by the intense australian sun.
andrew's coffee seems so blue even on simply opening the bag. really, it smells just like blueberry pancakes. gentle readers, you know i can't resist a strongly blueberry coffee. . .so andrew's hama yrg just swept up my heart.
chris at godshot also has written about this very bean. i made it today in the cafetiére (a.k.a. french press to you!) and just about fell over at how much blue made it into the cup.
i absolutely must brew this in the vac pot on new year's day to usher in 2006, at which point i'll give it a more proper description. and speaking of 2006, i wish all of you a most happy new year.
2006 should bring everyone new joy, better coffee, and great artisan chocolate! there's a lot to talk about still on the bccy front, so please stay tuned!
Friday, December 30, 2005
another surprise from andrew b!
and i arrived at my office today to find yet another fantastic surprise package from the amazing andrew b. of ecco. included were his prize-winning brazil, yrg, and reserve espresso.
all these coffees are noteworthy -- i can't wait to rush home and brew 'em all up. thanks again, andrew!
after my wonderful experiences in sydney, i just have to stop and reflect at the generosity, kindness, and cameraderie that marks the global specialty coffee community. you absolutely couldn't invent these people; only the passionate love of fine coffee itself could be responsible.
it was also quite helpful to get back to my regular yoga classes yesterday, because in my experience, nothing beats jet lag like yoga. i nearly kissed that blessed wooden floor.
by the end of my yoga classes in sydney -- the vast majority of which took place on concrete floors -- my right wrist and elbow had just had it. ouchie!
alas this prevented me from taking yoga at silky oaks or in port douglas on my trip to the great barrier reef. (which by the way is a place every single person should travel to if only to remind themselves of exactly how beautiful and miraculous nature is -- nothing beats hanging out with the fish, trust me.
it doesn't sound as amazing as it is until you do it yourself; there's just something miraculous about the coral sea. it will also cure any lingering doubts you may have about global warming -- you can see the result with your own 2 eyes.
in the past the reef has adjusted to the slow pace of natural climate change as the earth has incrementally moved from ice age to warm age, etc. it's the speed of the present unnatural, human-enhanced change that's stressing the reef to its limits, along with other human-made problems, such as over-development and poor agricultural practices.
but i digress. . .as i often say, politics is boring, while coffee is interesting. . .)
i think the reason so many yoga studios in sydney have these concrete floors is just a function of the fact that most buildings in sydney aren't old. most modern construction features concrete floors, after all.
unlike new york or san francisco, sydney just doesn't seem to have a strong stock of ancient former textile mills or other old factories of light industry that leave behind large loft spaces with gorgeous wide-planked wood floors and giant windows. these are the kinds of spaces in which most of the yoga studios with which i'm familiar exist.
Thursday, December 29, 2005
sydney coffee tour recap with paul haddon
having brought the tasmanian weather back with me to nyc, i just thought that for the record -- for those who missed it -- i'd link to the nice pix awesome aussie barista judge paul haddon took of our whirlwind 2-day sydney bccy experience (note: pix are large):
day 1 -
- brekkie at bill's with paul haddon
- roasting with the crowd at single origin
- sampling the fresh-roast wares at single-origin with paul haddon
- terrifying the poor clerk at herbie's aussie herbs in my search for wattleseed
- belle fleur chocolates
- joseph of kimberly chocolates discusses his art as chocolatier
- hazel de los reyes' secret barista lair
- pulling shots in her coffee hideout, hazel's a fluid blur of coffee motion
- hazel's shakerato with pan masala spice mix (no tobacco or betel of course!)
- more hazel's shakerato with pan masala
day 2 -
- hanging out at mecca cafe with paul, paul and alex
- famed barista alex k. of mecca doing his thang with david schomer's old mirage
- with rio's prize winning super-premium brazil at mecca with paul, paul, and alex
- tasting the geisha at mecca with paul, paul, and alex
- groovin' on the paul b. vibes from his machine at myers department store
- quizzically regarding a dragonfruit from david jones' foodhall with paul haddon by the x-mas tree in martin place
all i can say is thanks to all the fantastic coffee people in sydney! especially paul haddon, paul bassett, andrew gross, and hazel de los reyes!
sydney is truly the great coffee destination worldwide. . .