blogging coffeefest atlanta 2007

barista competitions, trade shows, jams, tastings

blogging coffeefest atlanta 2007

Postby 58mm on Sun Jun 03, 2007 7:56 am

There are now six Youtube videos of the event (and traveling to the event with stops at 3 Cups and Octane).

http://www.zacharyzachary.com
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Postby mandy on Sun Jun 03, 2007 8:28 am

wow! this is my favorite new blog. Not only are there cool coffee videos, but there's also sweet artwork and animation--just the kind of creative entertainment I expect from genuine coffee professionals.





drink one for me
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Postby terry on Sun Jun 03, 2007 9:13 am

Very Nice. The boys at PF.net should check this out. I actualy watched all the videos, read the blog, and I still have the entire day to enjoy!

I must say, I miss the action of being at CF but it sure is a great weekend in the PNW!

Very nice blog, I hope there is more to come>
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Postby mandy on Sun Jun 03, 2007 10:05 am

Terry: These are all actually already posted on pf.net. (three of the baristas work at murky) Good luck trying to convince Nick and Jay they need editors. I've offered my services in the past, but got no interest!
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Postby bz on Sun Jun 03, 2007 5:00 pm

the vids are funny.

more bloggage at my place.

today's latte art winner is getting $21,000 for the feat, believe it or not.
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Postby scottlucey on Mon Jun 04, 2007 6:18 am

what's the deal with the $20,000? According to what i heard, L's boss was throwing down $20,000 if she won? Is that right? Wha?!?!?! More details please, maybe a testimonial?
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Postby bz on Mon Jun 04, 2007 6:44 am

you got it, scott. was posted yesterday.

btw, i was somewhat stunned that your posse of three was shut out of the podium. both colin and teisl impressed. colin, at one point, threw his hands in the air like he knew he'd poured a baca good enough to take it.

seems like the four-way rosettas are awfully big crowd-pleasers (everyone in the audience gawked at justin's, thought it was the coolest thing they'd seen all day), but don't grab the fancy of the judges.
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Postby Ryan Willbur on Mon Jun 04, 2007 7:43 am

What can you say, it's another place in our community, like sig drinks, that creativity doesn't always win over a well-done classic. I've had a video of Justin pouring a quad from back in Chicago... I'll try to get that up on Youtube today... it's pretty bitch'n.
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Postby onocoffee on Mon Jun 04, 2007 8:08 am

mandy wrote:Good luck trying to convince Nick and Jay they need editors. I've offered my services in the past, but got no interest!


Don't loop me into your quote.

You many have spoken to your former boss about it, but you didn't speak to me.
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Postby Justin Teisl on Mon Jun 04, 2007 8:49 am

bz wrote:btw, i was somewhat stunned that your posse of three was shut out of the podium. both colin and teisl impressed. colin, at one point, threw his hands in the air like he knew he'd poured a baca good enough to take it.

seems like the four-way rosettas are awfully big crowd-pleasers (everyone in the audience gawked at justin's, thought it was the coolest thing they'd seen all day), but don't grab the fancy of the judges.


yes sir, I'll even admit to being surprised as well. I think many were surprised with the results of this comp actually. From Alterra it was Tasha who came closest, tying Matt Milletto for 3rd place and having to settle for 4th after the judges talked it out. I don't even know how close, or far, Colin and I were from placing, but it was reported that this was the tighest finals round ever, with only 14 points separating 1st place from 10th (270 possible points total).

Good to hear that the crowd was as involved and attentive as they were. I'll try to feel good about fueling that instead of winning. It certainly was an exciting one, it's quite true that these keep getting tighter and better.
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Postby scottlucey on Mon Jun 04, 2007 9:12 am

thank you ben, great coverage by the way. job well done.

it's great to hear positive feed back about the milwaukee posse. tasha had judged at the GLRBC in chi, so she's already got a taste for industry events, colin on the other hand, had his first taste at atlanta, and i can't really explain how pumped he was to be there.
it's one of the most satisfying things to have baristas want to take it to the next level get outside your company, and pit yourself against any and everyone. this kid wanted it so bad that he was prompted to invest on his own for this trip to atl. we had a mini throwdown before USBC, and during this there was a latte art competition... winner would get to go to ATL with teisl. well, tasha won that competition and colin "threw his hands in the air" b/c he knew he could have done better... him and tasha are constantly keeping each other on their toes...

oh the love...

but thanks again for noticing... so many of our baristas don't think they could ever be good enough for a competition that could very well pit you with the best... in practicing w/ colin, he was floored whenever i recommended "that pour would make it to the finals."

- this community is killer.
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Postby sarahdelilah on Mon Jun 04, 2007 9:22 am

From Willbur: "What can you say, it's another place in our community, like sig drinks, that creativity doesn't always win over a well-done classic."

Not true, pal. A new and unusual design that is well done will always win over a classic that is well done because it will get the creativity points that a classic is never in the running for. Layla's drink, for example, got bottom level creativity points because it was a heart -- a lovely heart, but just a heart. It was executed so beautifully and with such a high level of technical excellence, that she won the dealy-bob. Wait, did someone say technical excellence? We judges look for incredible CONTROL from the competitors -- perhaps this is the buzz word we focus on the most. Control translates to active color infusion and highly crisp definition. We didn't see that from those who didn't make the top three.

As for the $20,000 question... I gotta say, when I found out that's what she was playing for, it was a total turnoff. Not that my life wouldn'tt chaange dramatically with $20K in hand, but for a coffee contest, it seems obnoxious and not at all about what we -- community, at home and global -- are working for. In my perfect world, if her bosses had wanted to award her for a job well done and had $20K to play with, how's about giving her a nice chunk of cash -- $5K? -- plus a once-in-a-lifetime trip to source, and donate the rest to a coffee nonprofit in her name? Because isn't the goal to promote a sustainable community -- both at source and in your cafes -- where the baristas are, passionate, committed and most importantly AWARE that their coffee doesn't start and end with them?

P.S. Willbur, I can't wait to see you in Ptown this week!
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Postby sarahdelilah on Mon Jun 04, 2007 9:35 am

Dear Murkies,

After unsuccessful attempts to watch the blog reports from our ATL hotel room (stupid dial up), I finally just watched them all. Zachary, you're so amazing that I'm naming my next cat after you.

xo
Sarah
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Postby scottlucey on Mon Jun 04, 2007 9:47 am

yeah, 3 cheers for those videos. funny cats.
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Postby zak on Mon Jun 04, 2007 10:22 am

i totally agree with sarah. a 20k cash reward for winning a latte art comp is ridiculous. don't get me wrong, i would pour a rosetta with my butt cheeks for 20k, but what is this really saying to the community that Blenz is hoping to embrace? i get very mixed messages out of it. on one hand, they're rewarding baristas for hard work and giving the company a better name. on the other hand, all this money came from years of polluting the industry with mis-education, lousy drinks, and corner cutting. now they're using that $ not to re-invest in the community they want a part of, but to "encourage" they're baristas to win comps in order to make Blenz look good. this just seems like more corner cutting. it typically takes years of hard work and development to win comps, make a good name for your cafe, and win a little extra $ while doing it. i too would be far more impressed to see them invest in promoting sustainability, sending their staff to origin, huge public cuppings, etc... until then, i see this as nothing more than a marketing ploy and a misuse of funds that could be really helping the industry that i'm not quite sure Blenz fully understands yet.

on another note, the creativity thing always gets me with millrock. i've talked to a few judges and heard various feedback on that category. josh and i did a latte art comp at a restaurant trade show thing that was judged by usbc judges. all the competitors poured different styles of rosettas and i think a heart or two was in there. there were a lot of various styles poured from classic to neo but in the end, we were all told that if anyone would of poured a monkhead, that person would of won hands down. this because everyone poured rosettas and in that comp, a monkhead would of been more creative. so my question is, does creativity have to do with standing out from your competitors or just having the most tripped out design? i.e everyone pours crazy multi stuff and i pour a heart, isn't that more creative for that specific comp?
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Postby nick on Mon Jun 04, 2007 10:41 am

And I thought that we had a community where we support our fellow baristas, and where we want our fellow baristas to be successful and make money... I didn't know that you had to first be a member of the "cool kids club" first. I didn't know you had to work for a "cool kids club" company.

I thought that the mud-slinging during the Panama auction last week was a bit over-critical... but this takes the cake.

At the risk of sounding patriarchal and judgemental, I'm frankly a bit sad and ashamed right now. God knows, I've certainly made mis-steps in recent months in some of my commentary out there, but the outright public dissing here really, really sucks.

(fyi, I'm responding to this and the other related thread)
Last edited by nick on Mon Jun 04, 2007 10:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby sarahdelilah on Mon Jun 04, 2007 10:45 am

Nick, what are you talking about? How is this about a cool kids club?
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Postby zak on Mon Jun 04, 2007 11:23 am

nick,
i realize that i can't really state my opinion on this without sounding negative about Blenz so maybe i should of kept quiet. i do give them kudos on stepping up, paying their baristas NBA-ish salaries, hiring a wonderful trainer, and getting involved with things like millrock that do indeed raise consumer awareness etc... but i have a hard time believing that this is whole hearted. there are a lot of better things to spend such a large amount of money on. farmers who provide us with that much better of a product and make their farm lively hood worth that much more if they had access to these funds. that's the bottom line. the huge amounts of money spent on this year's BoP is helping growers, 20k spent for winning millrock helps Blenz. they invested in themselves, not the industry.
i most definitely see nothing wrong with having more respect for a company that earned their name (and money) on years of working hard and doing things up to and beyond the standard that we have set. this is an example of a company who has not done this and while it may not be "right" to knock them publicly, i don't see the point of sugar coating things on a forum that's sole purpose to provide a space for people who have lived up to those standards to communicate their thoughts on the industry. why feel ashamed of open discussion about a relatively notable event in our community? i really doubt that we're hurting the CEOs at Blenz's feelings and if anything, this is probably great promo for them.
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Postby onocoffee on Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:09 pm

So, it seems that it's "okay" for a company like Intelligentsia to spend $50,000 on a lot of Esmeralda, spend untold thousands to field a slate of USBC competitors - all just for the proverbial "promotion and marketing", but it's somehow an "affront" to "this thing of ours" because a company such as Blenz awards $20,000 to their Caffe Artigiano trained barista to win the Millrock Latte Art Competition???

Then there's the argument that the $50,000 spent on Esmeralda is "helping the farmers." Interesting to note that Price Peterson is ANYTHING BUT one of those "poor farmers" this Third Wave keeps espousing that it's helping. It's akin to lauding Starbucks to bash the mom and pop.

I'd like to know what "this standard" is all about and who's decided what that "standard" is? Not too long ago, there were people defending Intelligentsia's use of the bottle opener to level the coffee in the Portafilter. Is this "standardized" practice now merely because Intelligentsia (being one of the "in" companies) decided it so??? If anything is/was being "sugar coated" it was the defense of this "standard" practice.

Jeez, I'm sure glad these "standards" weren't in place when I got started. This 3W Thing gives so much lip service about being a community, raising the bar and making coffee better in the world that I'm glad John Sanders didn't judge me based on the fact that I ran a company with 97 flavors of syrup and a Bunn CWT Twin brewer, label me a "charlatan" and kick me to the curb - which is what this sounds like today.

If we are propositioning ourselves as the "leaders" in this "wave" then we need to remain open to all comers - even those Starbucks clone chains who deign to improve themselves.

And to preach that Blenz should have shorted their barista $15,000 - I just don't "get" that. Are baristas to forever remain poor?

PLEASE - someone tell us how this barista being awarded $20Gs is, somehow, "vulgar"?
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Postby bz on Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:24 pm

We judges look for incredible CONTROL from the competitors -- perhaps this is the buzz word we focus on the most. Control translates to active color infusion and highly crisp definition. We didn't see that from those who didn't make the top three.


makes sense. and it's true ... that heart was poured like she had ice in her veins.

i, for one, think the layla story is a great one. as stated in the esmeralda thread, it may NOT be perfectly "fair" or what many of you would spend your money on. but so what?

if you're going to spend your life raising the profile of good coffee, outsized expenditures will continue to happen. it's downright american to want a rock star coffee or a hugely paid latte art star (i'm not saying i LIKE that, but this is the country where we're trying to thrive, eh?).

i just don't see how micromanaging the market -- "X price is too low, Y price is acceptable, Z price is too much" -- helps anyone. it's about demand, hype, cachet, quality all those things, and the final results may be messy or exaggerated, but i think they'll help everyone in the long run.

i mean, we want the world to wake up to our wares, and, through the record-setting esmeralda auction and the insane winning purse for layla, more people will. and we're worried about that? huh?
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Postby bz on Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:26 pm

it's interesting. i was getting google hits on the blog this afternoon from people searching for "Layla Osberg coffee fest," and do know how many legit search results there already are -- a day later? i mean, shaysh.

yeah, it's a publicity stunt. no, it's not more money for the farmers. but the hype can be used to help that cause, if you know how to work in that direction.
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Postby Ryan Willbur on Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:44 pm

As far as the BoP thing goes, no one company spent anywhere close to $50,000 in this auction. I think the most any one company dropped was $13,000. I am not stoked about which farmer this money is going to. At all. But this is about latte art...

I'm happy for Layla. It's great to know there's a way for someone who makes coffee to get that kinda money, one way or another... I think it's sleazy business practice for someone to take something like a millrock competition and try to make it look epic...

From the outside eye... if you looked only at Millrock and the results, you could almost draw the conclusion that Blenz is the place to learn over a place like the ABC School... From what has been said, that seems way wrong...

I get what you are saying Sarah... it makes sense. Time to step up the game I guess...

Oh, and I'm very excited to see the "cool kids" of Portland this weekend too...
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Postby mandy on Mon Jun 04, 2007 2:03 pm

onocoffee wrote:
mandy wrote:Good luck trying to convince Nick and Jay they need editors. I've offered my services in the past, but got no interest!


Don't loop me into your quote.

You many have spoken to your former boss about it, but you didn't speak to me.


Well in that case, Jay, I'm officially offering you my freelance coffee writing and editing services! You can be my first client!
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Postby zak on Mon Jun 04, 2007 2:50 pm

wow, this has gotten out of hand.
i don't understand why both views on this topic can't be voiced without people attacking each other. no one said the reward was "vulgar", it was, however, a little ridiculous. i don't see the point in arguing it. 50k on a lot of greens is a little ridiculous too. Blenz has a bad history, this move to a more "enlightened" business seems like a great thing. the barista, no doubt, deserves acclaim for winning millrock and more power to her for the extra bank. Blenz paying her 20k was no different for them than spending 20k on a full page NY Times article for the week. she provided advertising for them, they paid her for it, great. they paid her with money made from years of doing things below average in the eyes of "specialty coffee", maybe not so great.

sure, 8 o clock is in the scaa, so is *$. does this change the fact that associations like scaa, bga, rga, usbc, wbc, and the companies who are a part of them have created a standard in coffee that has not been match by *$ clone franchises? no. does it mean specialty coffee shoud close their doors to companies like that? no. does it mean that we have the right to discuss the motives and actions of said companies. yes.
why do we have forums if not to discuss things like this? i thought the point was communication.
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Postby Troy Reynard on Mon Jun 04, 2007 5:24 pm

yeah, it's a publicity stunt. no, it's not more money for the farmers. but the hype can be used to help that cause, if you know how to work in that direction.


What about more money for the poor barista? A living wage?
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