company - education - coffee

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Boston coffee scene?

Lights dim... exit stage left.

That's about what it feels like. Ben(coffeemonkee) said it best as things are a little strange these days as I am in limbo but no longer in the shop. I wanted to try and arrange a few coffees for some of my friends and associates but we'll see how that goes. Likewise, I will take a little something down to NY for my trip tommorrow. being out of the shop is exhilerating. I can spend my time writing notes, clearing my head, and just organizing a lot of loose ends.

I don't get into other shops much but I was looking at what's going on in NY right now where Grumpies has become a bit of a hang out for some of the more passionate barista in town. No such thing exists in Boston... well not shop to shop yet. When @ Simon's, we used to get a lot of what you could call disgruntled kids hanging out lamenting the state of the shops they work in. Some were passionate enough about the coffee and that it led them into our cupping group or even catching on at Simon's.

This kid lil Ben is a good example. He worked for a little while over at a shop a little farther down mass ave. Yeah, the other two from Cambridge at the USBC last year were from there. He was working for them during that time and really was hoping for something more. The plastic tamper, dulled grinder blades, and general disrespect for anything beyond what they were serving seemed to get him down. He ended up leaving them a bit burnt out and frustrated. We caught onto him when he came in and took some photos of the shop and was hanging around the counter reading an issue of barista mag. Not something you often see...! Ben dropped Steve Ford's name a little later about his next trip to San Francisco. Gold in our book. He ended up getting training a bit with the guys at Ecco and is now getting used to working bar at Simon's. Lil' Ben is a unique and passionate person who really just needs to get enough cuppings under his belt to build a barista's palate. It is being able to diagnose by taste alone that takes a long time to teach. Knowing different bitters/sours and what the causes are is often a case of just doing it and tasting the garbage and the goodies.

I was just thinking though with Ben how different it would be if he had been at a shop that was rocking the espresso and good coffees. Then he would be coming over to share and relate rather than coming over looking for a new stage.

That would be cool. To have someone to compete with and some good play at trying to be the best in town. I think that would be cool.... but having them work with me is cool too.