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Saturday, May 13, 2006

the inaugu-aural podcast

BCCY Odeo Podcast after much begging and pleading by you, gentle readers, and other well-meaning people, i have in fact made my first diy-style podcast, submitted it to itunes, and popped it in an odeo channel.

i have no idea what will become of it then. . .topics for today: my voyage to economy candy and of course, iced coffee with kevin's gimme el naranjal c.o.e. had to use it up somehow.

wish me luck. it may catch on, or it may sink like a stone! who knows?

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posted by fortune | 12:58 PM | top | link to this | links to this post | email this:   | 3 comments | leave a voicemail

so much to say today

so busy, so busy!

of course i've been remiss in discussing how kevin's wonderful gimme ethiopian fares in the chemex and in the cafetiére. you'd think from reading this that i had completely neglected peter g. (hi to you peter, are you still in nicaragua with oren?) and his counterculture rwanda.

also, the great syrup tasting is underway, as i put da vinci's white chocolate syrup head-to-head with routin's 1883 version of that flavor. not to mention discussing the other routin flavors i've been sampling: hazelnut, sugar-free chocolate, sugar-free vanilla.

when i have coffee parties the most requested drink is surely the white chocolate or vanilla latte. i will make these for guests, altho' i will politely hint that the right coffee needs no flavoring.

but! signature drinks do have a place in the coffee pantheon, as you can see from the originality pro baristis display in competition. of course, caffè del professore in naples -- a traditional temple of espresso -- has possibly the best flavored signature drink on the planet, which relies on hazelnut and chocolate.

so i'm not going to completely condemn the occasional, special use of flavors. they just shouldn't be habitual.

if you want some kind of berry-vanilla coffee concoction, my friend, you know from reading here that you can find a gorgeous, high-quality, single-origin varietal that offers such an experience to you naturally. and in a more intense, delicious and mind-blowing form that most syrups will ever give. . .

but let me catch up on the important business first. of course this morning i began the day with my usual delicious batdorf dancing goat cappucino.

but the last several days i've been tinkering with the best way to brew kevin's ethiopian longberry m.a.o. horse harrar. of course i've been pursuing the best way to get that tobey-maguire blue into the cup.

and after careful consideration and much grinding, i think pressing it makes the most of the blue and maximizes its heavy, velvety body. that vintage-port/spray-dried marsala aftertaste, that's its own thing. . .

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posted by fortune | 8:50 AM | top | link to this | links to this post | email this:   | 0 comments | leave a voicemail

Friday, May 12, 2006

a beautiful piece in the nytimes today

"the coffee industry is dominated by families like the coltens. [former scaa prez steve] and his father, justin, have more than 100 years of coffee tasting and trading experience.

both coltens are board of trade certified coffee graders - a highly sought credential. to be considered, an applicant must be recommended by members already certified by the board, have five years of experience in coffee tasting, and pass a comprehensive coffee exam that is given once every two years.

only 10 percent of the people who take the test pass. the coltens take coffee grading so seriously that they always use the same silver spoon.

justin colten has had his spoon for 50 years. steve was given his spoon in the will of justin's coffee mentor when he died in 1987.

'your cupping spoon becomes part of you,' steve colten said. 'like in any craft, like a glove for a baseball player, this is the tool of your craft.' "

what a beautiful article today in the times about the coffee exchange. the times understands the beautiful family traditions that make the professional cupping trade so special, and it also captures the passion coffeepeople have for the bean even on the commercial level.

of course, long-time readers know all about steve colten's cupping spoons -- i've written about them before (and here). and you will remember that i myself have a prized silver cupping spoon. . .

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posted by fortune | 8:09 AM | top | link to this | links to this post | email this:   | 0 comments | leave a voicemail

Thursday, May 11, 2006

mark whitwell in nyc

"truth is not something we have to seek out. it is not something that is absent and far away, requiring great effort to find."

long-time readers know me big mark whitwell fan. so it would be quite remiss of me not to highlight mark's upcoming workshops at the breathing project.

check it out. mind-blowing, maybe even uncomfortable, but highly recommended.

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posted by fortune | 7:10 PM | top | link to this | links to this post | email this:   | 0 comments | leave a voicemail

regional coffee culture, multi-part many, redux

"from scruffy roadside chai shops and government-run coffeehouses to swanky, air-conditioned, branded coffee bars and lounges, indians, especially those living in the north, are catching on to the worldwide passion for coffee.

coffee consumption has increased from 55,000 tons to 80,000 tons after decades of stagnation. industry sources say the niche coffee retail format is growing at 10-12% a year, with branded coffee accounting for 53% of sales, unbranded 40% and cafes 7%.

in keeping with the global coffee culture, purveyors in india offer the 'total experience' - a huge range of blends, snacks, ambience, wi-fi-enabled environments and jukeboxes. southern indians have loved their cup of filter coffee for a long time, but have the option of visiting the closest cafe as well.

india's per capita daily coffee consumption of 54 grams is mainly due to the southern region's per capita level of 240 grams

gentle readers, this is the true herald that the end of the coffee crisis is coming into sight. cappuccini for the residents of new delhi (with buffalo milk)!

indians, who reside in the world's largest democracy and who form the world's largest middle class, are tuned into global coffee trends now. now we in the specialty coffee family just need to work with india's new coffee lovers to educate them about quality.

lemme once again pretentiously quote myself: "one world under specialty coffee's passionate sway." i'll raise another cup of kevin's gimme horse harrar to that this morning!

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posted by fortune | 8:06 AM | top | link to this | links to this post | email this:   | 0 comments | leave a voicemail

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

a big bccy congrats

"whole wheat is looking a whole lot less wheaty these days. that's because food processors are selling more of a newly popular flour that merges whole-wheat health benefits with the color, taste and texture of white bread."

of course the nytimes ap section here is talking about long-time bccy pal, king arthur flour. i'm famous for using its white whole wheat flour myself.

my poor husband, who dislikes red whole wheat flour, has many times unknowingly devoured the white. a recent example of this is the famed irish shooting cake, whereby i faked traditional irish wholemeal flour with a mix that included white whole wheat.

also see my version of a white whole-wheat pizza crust. and i famously worship king arthur's big baker guy, j. hamelman.

at the same time, i have to ask the nyt and ap: where have you been? most of us have been using this flour for years now!

so congrats to you, king arthur! they are good people.

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posted by fortune | 7:37 PM | top | link to this | links to this post | email this:   | 2 comments | leave a voicemail

kevin's gimme mao horse harrar

the past 10 coffee days or so here at bccy have been rather andean: several types of colombia (and here), some bolivia. just a quick visit to rwanda.

but long-time readers know my heart lies closest with blue coffees (for example, here). thus i just can't tell you how thrilled i was yesterday to come home and discover that kevin c. of gimme had kindly sent me one of my most favorite coffees, the m.a.o. horse harrar from ethiopia.

mille grazie, k! the last time i saw this gorgeous coffee was from stumptown.

as is my wont with fine blue coffee, i whipped out my vac pot to maximize these fruity nuances. i brewed at my usual test 60 g. fresh ground coffee to 1 l. water.

kevin's package describes the roast level as medium-light, which it is for him, since he tends a little darkish. i'd call it full-city, because many of the beans showed a dot or two of oil.

the second i opened the package, i could smell the blue and the dried apricot. didn't even have to grind it.

sniffing the fresh grounds -- ok, ok, i cop to completely stuffing my face into the hopper and practically snorting the wonderful blueberry-floral fragrance -- was just a delight. as the water hit the top globe, the dried apricot aroma came back strongly.

kevin's horse also offered dark vanilla syrup-y aromas and a very surprising aftertaste. normally, i'd be expecting a dark dutch cocoa aftertaste from a harrar.

but no! kevin's aftertaste is different -- he calls it "essence of port" and i agree there's something dried grape-y aged in wood. but there's something a little spicy in there too, i thought, maybe "dry marsala aged in wood?"

the taste was wine-y as expected, and the body medium. but of course the vac pot attentuates body; if i 'd pressed this in the cafetiére it would have a fantastic body.

of course, i love this coffee, even tho' the blue didn't come out into the cup as strongly as i might like. that's probably a grind issue.

will press this tomorrow at a slightly finer grind and report back. . .

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posted by fortune | 8:38 AM | top | link to this | links to this post | email this:   | 0 comments | leave a voicemail

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

peter g's counterculture rwanda karaba super lot, redux

what dougie said. heart

but seriously. . .what dougie said.

no, no, no. i found this now-5-day-old coffee to be roasted to a nice city.

that makes it a noticeably lighter roast color than the regular rwanda peter so sweetly sent me first.

this roast retains the rwanda's brightness and rich bouquet. in the chemex it's floral, nutty, vanilla-y, and with an aftertaste that's quite like black pepper.

i think the body's the same as peter's regular rwanda.

on the yoga front, long-time readers may recall that lately i've been less-than-thrilled with this current fad -- it's seems to me to have become common throughout many nyc yoga classes for nearly a year -- of omitting the opening rounds of sun salutations in vinyasa classes.

not only are they warming to the body, which is so helpful to us in the over-25 set, but they also add a wonderful lightness that carries through the rest of the practice and even afterwards. this is the one thing i do like about the classic ashtanga primary series -- you can practically float along the sidewalk as you walk home.

recently i went to the supposedly advanced class of a popular teacher. i asked him if he was teaching the sun salutations that day.

to which he reacted with horror. "oh no," he practically snapped, "you'll never hear me start with surya namaskar a or b."

well, forgive me. if you're teaching an iyengar-inspired class, just tell me so i know; don't cop the 'tude.

and please don't call it a vinyasa class -- these tend to have a certain classical structure that i find really helpful, not having been a teenage ballerina ever. i know this will shock many yoga teachers, but news bulletin: many of us, your regular adult yoga students, have never danced or performed in cirque du soleil and will injure ourselves without a proper warm-up!

yesterday i really needed to go to yoga, but when i saw this teacher was in charge of the class i was considering, i nearly opted for pilates. then the nice person at the desk informed me there was a last-minute sub, to a teacher who was a dharma mittra student.

ah! a classical flow. i leapt into in that class like a fish into a pure, deep lake.

it started with sun salutations. and guess what? i floated home. . .

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posted by fortune | 8:18 PM | top | link to this | links to this post | email this:   | 0 comments | leave a voicemail

Monday, May 08, 2006

peter g's counterculture rwanda super lot

ooh ooh -- what arrived today but a new coffee from long-time bccy pal and scaa board member, peter g. of counterculture! roast-dated may 4, this coffee's not his usual rwanda karaba, but a prized "super lot."

peter had the co-op put 2 separate lots together in hopes of creating a stellar cup. he was so pleased with the results that he paid the farmers more than twice the contract price of this fair-trade coffee.

yay peter! doing good business with the farmers is good coffee; this is one of the foundation goals of our specialty coffee family.

i'll be brewing this first thing tomorrow in the chemex, since that's how i best liked his regular rwanda last time. . .

also dear readers, since i've been adding the technorati tags, i have received a few requests to add a so-called tag cloud. of course, i might want to argue that the very name of this blog is tags, and lo! this blog has always been tagged, for those in the know.

but! i digress. i'm thinking about it, is all i'll say right now. i'm not sure what a cloud would do for you all, since my topics are really rather tightly constrained.

but i'm open to your comments. . .so please, comment!

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posted by fortune | 8:31 AM | top | link to this | links to this post | email this:   | 2 comments | leave a voicemail

Sunday, May 07, 2006

making da dough

long-time readers know i love living on my small island off the coast of the united states, but it does have its occasional drawbacks. for example, yesterday my boo-da-fal noo yawk nearly conspired against pizza.

it was a gorgeous day, and i had to run to union sq. to have my hair done at swank central. i'm the odd girl out there, as swank central is of course about 55% bobs-of-the-moment and 40% razored-in-sideways-brit-boy-rocker-shags-with-cowlick-of- the-moment-as-worn-by-girls.

but! i digress. emerging from the salon about 4 hours later, i ran into another weekend-war-protest-of-the-moment, which had completely paralyzed union sq., making it impossible to get into any of the nearby subway entrances.

well, i needed some king arthur organic artisan flour anyway, which they have started carrying at that yuppie emporium for vegetarian junk food, whole-ladda-hype foods.

(everytime i go in there i thank god that fairway opens in red hook on may 17. mark your calendars, people!)

but the crowd was so heavy i couldn't get in there either. so i wandered down the street to check out the newish trader joes. now, years ago, i had been to trader joes in california; i remembered it as a rather interesting place.

however, the noo yawk trader joes is just a tragedy. larger than yankee stadium, with a checkout line wrapped around the perimeter of the store(!), and yet mysteriously, there is nothing to buy.

it seemed shockingly soviet.

there's a tiny section of depressing produce (the organic produce was wrapped in plastic and constituted one small square island), two kinds of butter, and two kinds of eggs. the vaunted wine store had but one inferior brand of prosecco.

the majority of the place seems filled with frozen foods that young marketing interns snap up by the double cartload to microwave at home after work during the week. just acre after acre of this weird frozen food.

i found 4 sad shelves in the far back devoted to canned coffee. pitiful.

(and if those count as supposedly low prices, the trader joe people are laughing their way to the bank. mr. sahadi has 3 times as much stuff that you'd actually want to buy in 1% of the space and much, much lower prices.)

thus i fought my way back to whole-ladda-hype, and bought up all their artisan flour. then i tried to fight my way home on the subway, which was running on an altered schedule, meaning i found myself abandoned on the j platform at city hall in full realization that no trains were running to bklyn that afternoon.

none. i contemplated walking over the bklyn bridge carrying 20 lbs of flour, and decided to take a cab.

thus i arrived home years after leaving, but with flour for pizza! which is rising even as i type.

even with the prospect of fairways finally in sight here, i thought carefully about what i was doing. i consulted with various peeps, did some reading, and then i took the plunge: i joined my local csa.

which actually isn't so local, for me. but it does put my vegetables in the same situation as my coffee.

that is, just as i now know who the farmers are for 90% of the coffee i drink (and which you read about here), i also now know the farmers for my next 6 months of fruits and veggies.

i'll try it this year, even tho' it's a himalayan trek that may play havoc with my yoga schedule. what the csa doesn't have, i can supplement with fairway.

if i like it enough to do it again next year, i will definitely see if there are angles for decent, non-ultra-pasteurized milk (new york is a great dairy state! you should be able to get good milk in new york!), local wines, and of course, triple-cert locally roasted coffee.

when talking to the csa folks, they didn't seem to get the milk-wine-coffee gig. if the idea is local produce from local farmers, local food from local purveyors, then why not go the distance?

new york has fantastic artisan dairy and its wines are finally coming into their own. after all. . .

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posted by fortune | 8:57 AM | top | link to this | links to this post | email this:   | 2 comments | leave a voicemail

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