company - education - coffee

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Carlos and Edwin Garcia Martin Fund

Most of you have already heard about the tragedy but for more info please read the following. Online donations can be made here. Locally, this Saturday the 1st, we will be taking donations at Simon's Coffee Shop [where: 1736 Mass Ave, Cambridge]. We @ barismo have donated some roasts of Finca Vista Hermosa : Michicoy 07 lot roasted as espresso to be served all day at Simon's and Simon Yu has generously offered that all proceeds from the sale of the espresso will go to the fund.

A sincere thanks to those who take the time to donate.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


injectors, originally uploaded by coffeedirtdog.

One too big, one too small, another set just a bit smaller... just right happens to be maybe a 10th of a mm difference off in between that.... maybe.

It's like a bad case of Goldilocks and the three bears meets barismo and the sample roaster.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Goodbye Jolly~~ Heeeello Kony!

A devil named Simon made me do it...=p

This grinder is DEFINITELY not home friendly. Notable different cup profile (compared to the Jolly) with the limited test session we had tonight. Distinctly lack of bitters and reduced mid-tone. More test is needed.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Simon visits US

Photo Courtesy of Erwin ChukThe last two weeks have had a lot of interesting events. From a series of problems with different bits of equipment to getting to play chef for a night as an assistant at the culinary school.

Simon's visit this week continued that as we started with a set of mishaps. After struggling with the injectors to sensitive yet troublesome probes, there was a bit of tension that we were going to lack the time to get everything ready for events at weeks end. We eventually got everything worked out but it took a few days of struggling to get it tuned right.

The first event was to have a lineup of espresso done as close to our approach as possible. To show people the potential in espresso and why single origin shots don't have to be Harrar, wild dirty coffees, or generally unimpressive blends.

These shots were impressive. The lack of strong ferment note and the sweet thick jam notes with a gentle aroma in the Yirg Blend just blew me away. The Esmeralda was intense and showed the potential of roasting for aroma and how a direct flame setup can control a monster coffee.

Photo Courtesy of Erwin ChukThe sheer volume of people that came in for the espresso event and the amount that showed up in the first hour was not only unexpected, it was a reminder of the potential for espresso in this region. Sure vac pot is great, but the espresso is what emphasized the sweetness, the aroma, and the complexity with the intensity only espresso has.

The vac pot event was much lower key. I think fatigue from preparing the two events was catching up to me. Simon brewed what felt like a dozen vac pots one after another, sometimes multiple at once. It was interesting and I know I need more practice. The great thing about vac pot is the instant feedback it gives. A clarity in taste you can't get in paper filter. The other benefit is if you tune the roast right in Siphon, you can translate it to espresso easily.

I know there is fascination with vac pot and yet many of the industry elite profess it's 'too hard' or 'takes too much time to learn' which I really don't get. With all the blogs and forums, is it about finding shortcuts or better cups? Maybe it's all talk.

Overall, I can say the events went over well and the espresso event left me wanting to do more. Soon...

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Broadway Cafe and Jon Cates

I was just watching the NBC nightly news in a malaise preparing to clean floors and prepare for the big Siphon brewer event tomorrow. I saw Lester start into some Starbucks piece with clip shots and cliche use of coffee terms to describe the situation. Then up pops Jon Cates of Broadway Cafe out in Missouri about his business growth while competing directly against Starbucks.

Small world but it reminded me I owe that guy some coffees. When I was moaning about the Yirg situation, this guy just sends me some Yirg, a Kenya, and some Espresso to play with. The gesture was appreciated and I will surely send some coffee in response when I get settled, maybe as a congratulations for the recent press in the NY Times and on NBC!

It's a small community, don't you think?

As for Starbucks, I can think of few things less relevant to elite coffees so we will hardly ever chat about them here.

Feeding frenzy at the bar

At 9:45am, I dialed in. By 12:30, it was over as we had moved through more straight shots than I care to recount. There was still some Formosa and a few shots of Esmeralda left but I needed some time to breathe so I let Simon take the bar and went for lunch.

Anyone who thinks you cannot sell a double espresso that costs more than a latte better rethink that position.

At one point, I had six shots of Esmeralda in the queue and I was thinking, this is surreal.

I'm going to take that nap now.

Friday, February 01, 2008

If shots could talk...

This lineup would be a chorus.

I did a quick trial of the coffees for the espresso event and wow. I mean, I am not the guy who professes love and romance over the cup often but this was wow. Even the straight shot brazil was simply fantastic. I am so happy and maybe after all the intense work and suffering this week, the shots are that much more worth it.

We will run out of these coffees quick at the espresso event because they are simply fantastic. Though I was skeptical of the blends, they were amazing pairings. The Yirg blend pairing is so sweet and just jammy fruit with pleasant wine notes(lacks the tannins and sharp acidity though) and lavender aroma. I thought it would be a challenge to pull but they just lined up because they were all roasted for the same brew range... The Esmeralda was a monster of aroma that could even be felt in the aftertaste like drinking honeysuckle... Thankfully, there is a lot of the Brazil Moreninha Formosa so go nuts people, have a shot!