Monday, April 27, 2009

USA Trip 09 - Days 9 Through Whatever ...

New York

So after Coffeelab I didn't do too much coffee stuff in New York. Apparently there's stuff there that you can do other than coffee.

I did make it down to Cafe Grumpy and 9th St Espresso. Grumpy delivered service true to its name and coffee true to its reputation. Everything seemed to be very driven by Ethiopian coffees; more stuff of the IMV Ilk. The espresso and clovers were pretty good, but I have to say that I found their in-your-face IMV type flavour to be rather unsatisfying after the balance of the espresso that Mane busted out on our last day at Coffeelab. Fantastic cappuccino at both Grumpy and 9th St, with Grumpy pulling off a rather amazing transmogrification as the berry flavour of their coffee gave way to dark choc in the last few sips. But what's with the milk? Coarse bubbles at both places.

SCAA + Atlanta

The Specialty Coffee Association of America Expo was always going to be jam packed ... add the World Barista Championships and it was a very, very, very packed few days ...


Team Australia in their run through time; Tim, Wolffy and JP. I really wanted to spend more time with team Aussie and more time watching the WBC, but had too much stuff to try to squeeze in at the expo. In fact, I only ended up watching one performance - Mike Philips from the USA (who I thought definitely had a winning performance). Tim's run through went well; his espresso tasted really sweet and I can't wait to stream his performance, already knowing full well that he will have done us proud.

Grinders provided by Espresso Parts. Tshirts provided by

The WBC espresso bar; fancy being able to get great coffee at a barista competition!


OK, so in a nutshell, I did four labs - two brewing labs and two farming labs. The farming labs were absolutely awesome, with some guys at the cutting edge taking us through all of the various processes and correlating the many goings on at the farm with the result in the cup. Money well spent.

Show Floor

Me using the new time machine. At least I think it was a time machine; every time I came near it I lost half an hour!

The machine that everyone was talking about. Utterly amazing. Brew pressure profiling via a new lever group. Critics correctly point out that brew pressure profiling via a lever is impractical in a busy bar operation. Except when you can record the pressure profile and play it back! There were also a bunch of other cool things, including SS portafilters and teflon coated steam wands. I'll go out on a limb and say that I reckon this prototype is the best machine on the planet at the moment.

You can get an idea of the front of the machine from the photos above.

LM are popular dudes. Every man and his dog gave them coffee.

So how did the coffee taste? Pretty amazing.

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

USA Trip 2009 - Day 5

Some images from Coffeelab for your viewing pleasure ...

Jen grading coffee before passing it through the screens

My coffee grading table

Aroma tests - note the red light; used during the aroma tests and triangle cuppings so that you can't tell the difference in the colours of the ground coffee, solutions, etc

Mane pushes forward the odd one out - I think he got this one right

Preparing for a regular cupping - an activity that takes place very quickly and efficiently with many people and Mane's awesome cupping lab

Today's Indonesian cupping featured a few pretty mindblowing coffees. Delicious.

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

USA Trip 2009 - Day 3

A picture's worth a thousand words ...

Mild, inoffensive. Surprisingly good, actually.

Gibraltar + Idido Misty Valley from the lever machine.

Pourover bar for Fleur.

Lever machine. Tasted like it burnt the coffee a bit, but, still, nice coffee.

Kyoto brewer + syphon bar.

Syphon of the IMV.

Right, so great coffee from Blue Bottle, but missed out on Ritual. I am currently writing from Waterbury, Vermont, taking the Coffeelab course with Ben and Jen from Five Senses. One of the questions that I'm hoping to answer is exactly how much Australian coffee in general sucks compared with what's possible. The first day has proved to be a great calibration with the SCAA calibration form ... and I'm pretty zonked ...

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