Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Off to a odd start

This is repost of my old blog, to carry forth the flow of things......

This is how I got my start in the coffee racket, about 15 years ago....

Having Denny’s be your first impressions of coffee aren’t the kind of lasting impression a person looks for when trying to actually LIKE coffee. Here’s the situation, I’m 14 years old and I’m the new guy, and all my new friends like hanging out at night drinking coffee until the wee hours of the morning, so of course, needing friends more than I need sleep, I go out with them. Here I am, sitting with these new friends, being initiated in this new thing called ‘table-hopping,’ and I’m a bit sketchy on why I’m doing this, or more importantly, why anybody does this. I must be crazy. To learn better what table-hopping is, all you need to do is go to a Denny’s, or like minded establishment, and watch anybody under 20 years of age after 8:00 at night. They come in as groups, waitresses seating them knowingly, reminding them to behave, and giving them all her best stare-down. Then another group arrives, and another, some more couples, and now its party time. First the table-hopper checks to see if the waitress or staff are looking, then they examine where they want to sit next, making sure there’s room (there’s always room), then they half sit, half run to their target destination. Mission accomplished! They now have the privilege of talk to a whole new table of friends. Now a few more people muster enough bravery to make a run of it, and then the inevitable happens. POW! One gets caught, and then the waitress has it out with them, their intended table, the table that they came from, and anybody within earshot. That’s how it works, and of course there is the addition of sitting around talking, smoking, and drinking pots and pots and pots of coffee.

I’ll get back to the coffee, I’ve digressed too much. The wonderful staff at these establishments has been so kind to thoughtfully and carefully prepare my exquisite brewed-to-order cup of coffee. Two creamers and two sugars in their brew, same now as it was then, their coffee hasn’t improved, but my taste buds have. Nothing screams quality like bags of roasted beans that don’t expire for 9 months, coats of oil on the bean dispensers so thick that you can squeegee it off. Coffee brewed fresh every 2 to 4 hours? Calcium deposits on the brewer an inch thick? Coffee so astringent that it makes you wince like you took a shot of cheap vodka? Yep, they got it all. Of course, I’ve been to cafes in worse shape than this, and luckily most of those have closed. Now, with this kind of introduction to coffee, one would have to wonder, why did I ever really get into it? No matter how I had it, or how bad it was, I was hooked, and that is how I got into the coffee arena, and I still don’t know why, I guess I’m just a glutton for punishment.


Monday, February 26, 2007

A great experience in denver, people I met, and a jam I enjoyed

Thursday was a blast, if you’ve never been to a ‘Third Thursday’ in Denver before, you are missing out. I meet some great people, had some amazing drinks, played with a ton of coffee, and actually felt a sense of community for the first time since moving to Denver. We actually had some honest-to-goodness fun playing with coffee, albeit with a theme in mind. This month was ‘signature drinks,’ a little bit of practice for the rusty (me mostly), and a great experience for the uninitiated.

For those of you not in the know, ‘Third Thursday’ is a gathering, event, and unofficial barista jam, for like-minded individuals interested in the pursuit of unadulterated coffee bliss. All you will find here is a sincere appreciation for coffee, in its most artful forms. This event is open to anyone with high expectations in their coffee, and it’s highly encouraged that coffee professionals attend, as these events will help with your skills and knowledgebase.

This is also a chance for getting to know each company and what role each plays in the community, a time to shake off the ’but their our competition’ complaints and just get down to what really matters, what’s in the cup. But enough about that stuff, and more about the people, like these people who I would like to point out and thank personally.

Herb Brodsky, the people relations person at Novo Coffee, an upstanding, passionate, caring gentleman, who’s company exemplifies the qualities of a excellent roaster, in both the human element, and the careful selection and roasting of coffee.

Stephen Carey, from Calder’s Coffee, who I went out and visited early the next morning, is a driving force behind getting better and better coffee’s in Colorado. He is a kind hearted fellow who would give you the shirt of his back to help you out.

Mike Strumpf, with Allegro Coffee, an extremely knowledgeable and honest gentleman, who helped with organizing the event, and judging the quality of the signature drinks. He helped educate many, many people that night.

Shawna and Jennifer, at Heirloom Café, for hosting the event and letting everyone beat up on your machines, use your milk, and messing up your counters.

Everyone at Novo for the coffee, ideas, and inviting me to come along and experience this wonderful event. (p.s. the adado espresso was wonderful, thanks!)

While I still haven’t found the café to call home yet, I have definitely found some great people, some great companies, and some amazing coffee. I really didn’t expect this level of commitment in a community not known for its coffee, but you know, they could be well on their way. So, to some up my little wandering blurb here, the Denver coffee scene has come around, even though it’s a little green (pun intended), its has excellent potential with its current crop (pun #2) of purveyors, and that you should come by, on the third Thursday of the month and experience your coffee for once.

The website for ‘Third Thursday’ is: www.thirdthursdaybaristajams.blogspot.com

Blog reboot

This will be the marking point for me rebooting my blog, and bringing it to a place where everyone can read it. My last space wasn't so user friendly, and this will hopefully be easier, please feel free to contact me with idea's.

I will be reposting a couple of blogs from the old site, as they where some of my last, and sadly nobody got to read them because of site difficulties.