Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Bye Seattle.

One final adventure: Barry kindly offered to take Liz and me to the airport. So we head out, and Barry asks the valet to get his (rental) car. Valet returns after a while, announcing the car's battery is dead and he's going to go jump-start it using his own car. Okay. We wait. Barry's rental finally appears, but now features major facial scarring, thanks to the valet letting the dangling jumper cables short against each other. Yay.

To Serve and Protect... the mothership. (that's Starbucks #000001 there)

Don't forget to stop and... pet the vermin. Monday afternoon. The Jarrett clan led Liz and me down to Pike Place Market. On the way, we met this nice animal-rescue guy collecting donations with help from a squirrel that looked like it wouldn't mind being un-rescued any 'ol time.

Greg Fisher of Bunn Corportation has known Barry a long time, as shown by this astute analysis of Barry's mental state. The Bunn folks demoed their single-serving pod brewer, which, unlike most on the market, accepts pods from a number of different manufacturers.

These are the guys from Cirqua Customized Water. They had three airpots with the same coffee brewed with too-high, too-low, and just-right mineral content (?) water. The fellow at left is CEO Ian Knapp, and on the right is Phil Wagner doing a pretty good "clubbed seal" impression. The company will custom "dial-in" a Cirqua system to provide the exact water hardness etc. a business wants.

Tim Fleming at the Café D'Arte booth. Friendly folks, pulled lots of shots for all of us. D'Arte has espresso blends roasted over wood, which lends a particular flavor, which even my unsophisticated palate could detect. I quite liked it, and immediately wondered what it would taste like in a latte. (Yummy, I suspected.)

Terry Davis of Ambex roasters preaching to the converted -- the PID converted, that is. Here he's showing a datalogged roast in progress. I didn't (i.e. couldn't) follow all the techy stuff, but suffice it to say there's a hell of a lot of telemetry going from (and *to*) that roaster.

This is a photo of two guys holding some fudge with kernels of corn in it. That's all you need (or want) to know.

Scott Reed of Royal Coffee (wholesalers) talked to us about the challenges of sourcing and importing coffee. Apparently it can sometimes be a challenge just to get a container to use: "All the containers in the world are somewhere between Shanghai and Walmart..." He also talked about issues such as how long coffee can sometimes sit in the hold of a ship, the use of climate-controlled containers, what happens when he receives a shipment of coffee that has spoiled en route etc.

Mary Pettit talks to the group about the intricacies of Colombian coffee production.

Monday morning. Barry (red shirt) leads c-members on a tour of the exhibit floor. He took us to booths that reflected coffee's journey from tree to cup, and our first stop was Cea and Bob Smith's Smithfarms's booth. Bob (left) gave us a great little talk about Kona coffee farming, and answered all sorts of questions.

Monday, April 18, 2005

3:37 a.m. Monday. Liz is finishing her term paper. It's 6:37 a.m. in Montreal, and it's due at 9 a.m. We're going to email the paper to a friend who'll print it out and bring it to the school to hand it in.

Michael and Angelo. I really get the feeling these guys enjoy what they do.

Angelo made it! Here he is chatting with (L-R) PIDmeister General Andy Schecter, David Lewis and Michael Teahan.

Thwack! Fortune gives out prizes. This particular projectile was a pound of coffee that was donated, as Fortune announced, by Fieldheads Coffee Company (www.fieldheadscoffee.com). Apparently, the owner (?) is a lurker on alt.coffee. Thanks!!

Fortune addresses the assembled C-Members.

At the C-Members' reception, the SCAA's Mike Ferguson arrives with a crucial piece of door-prize distribution gear.

Meanwhile back at Versalab, Andy tries and fails to sell designer John Bicht his revolutionary "M3" razor for $325.

Oozing class.

I asked him how important he thought tamping was. He responded by going back to the machine, grinding, striking off and pulling a no-tamp shot. He put it in front of me and asked if I could tell the difference from the last (tamped) shot he had made.

... then along came Luigi Lupi, barista demigod. As I pestered both Italian guys with questions about their views on tamping, bean freshness etc. we all walked with Luigi over to the Elektra booth and he started pulling some shots.

... Ken Fox and I *strongly* encouraged Angelo to come to the C-member reception, which he did, along with his partner at Espresso Parts Source, Michael Teahan.

That's a thermocouple being inserted somewhere...

Angelo Minicozzi of Espresso Parts Source. I spent over an hour talking to this very nice (and slightly mad) guy. He's a fan of traditional Italian-style espresso, drunk with a bit of sugar, and zero thermocouples. These photos illustrate some hand gestures that accompanied Angelo's comments on a certain high-end double-boiler machine.

just can't keep some people outta Starbucks...

Ken looks reeeeely happy here. If I were two Cimbali Juniors I'd be two nervous Cimbali Juniors.

also purty.

Bill talks about the machine with Mark and Ken.

Ken Fox pulls a shot as Bill watches.

"Hey! What's four thousand times two?"


The prototype "consumer" Marzocco. That's Bill Crossland back there...

This is me, shot by Mark Prince. He, Ken Fox and I had a private viewing of this prototype machine in a hotel suite near the show. Earlier in the day a bunch of alties got to see it, but Ken and I missed it. Thanks entirely to Ken's chutzpah, we got our chance later. Mark was already going to see it at about the same time apparently, and we all went up together.

We got to play around a bit and pull a few shots. I don't think I'm supposed to publish photos of it, so I blurred it out. (I would *like* to say "I can't tell you any more about it" but I'm afraid Coffeegeek's lawyers would come after me for trademark violation.)

Update: well the photos are up on Coffeegeek, so I guess it's ok to unblur the machine. Pity to waste a perfectly good blur though...

Hot Fox to fox action! Ken Fox gets some gelato from a charming young woman who hails from my hometown, Montreal.

Result: 193.9 F and a cup of coffee. Sounds a tad on the cool side, but my cappuccino at least was damn tasty, and that's what matters.

Andy gets Intelligentsia folk to let him stick his thermocouple in the brew basket.

The leaf looked a lot prettier in real life - sloppy photography.

Out onto the floor! At the Intelligentsia booth, my usual excuse (non-ideal cup shape) for my sucking at latte art gets blown out of the water, as USBC #2 finisher Ellie Hudson-Matuszak makes flower after flower in paper take-out cups. Sigh. My Plan B: Blame my steam tip.

"Just what I needed!" For his trouble, Ken receives.... a cupping spoon.

Ken counts people's guesses as to which coffee was which. I effectively abstained by being deeply engrossed by the photo-taking process. (I would have got all three wrong, BTW)

Ken Davids' coffee tasting session was great. He brought three brewed coffees for us to taste: all three three from the exact same beans, but each processed differently. One was washed, one "natural" i.e. dry, and the third was "pulped natural", if memory serves. edit: ["repassed natural" was the term - Thanks, Fortune]

Sunday morning. Had to kill some time before Ken Davids' Coffee Tasting presentation, so I fired up the Ipaq, and did some work, using the too-fun bluetooth keyboard and mouse I got recently.


Andrew Gross from Australia catches Spatula Fever!

contractually obligatory Seattle image

Jarrett family portrait. L-R: Pepperoni, June, Barry, Maddie.

Andy Schecter stole my camera and took this shot. Maddie with phone, and me in the background, mercifully out of focus.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

The party hasn't really started until the kitchen implements come out...

The view at dusk from Barry and June's hotel room.