Archive for the ‘ Latte Art ’ Category

Jay’s Strange Jam

The eagerly anticipated opening of Jay Caragay’s second Spro location in Hampden, Baltimore, was pre-heated with a dawn to dusk Barista Jam last Saturday. The day was the organizational brain child of Lindsay Wailes, one of Jay’s Baristas for the new location.  The basic outline of the day went like this

-Eat a catered pastry and yogurt breakfast

-Coffee brewing Demos

-Eva solo, Clever drip, Chemex, Syphon, Aeropress

-Free play

-Cupping

-Competition rules and judging workshop

-Latte art workshop

-Catered diner

-Throwdown

The crowd gathers early in the AM

Barista Joy "controls the moist" with a Clever Drip

It was a lot of stuff to pack into one day.  Jay’s Baristas had been put in charge of dialing in all the brewing parameters of all the methods using all the coffees they carry.  There were multiple roasters represented from Barefoot, Intelligentsia, Hines , Counter Culture, as well as local Baltimore roasters Bluebird and Zekes.  I like how Jay has delegated the brewing parameters to the staff.  Simultaneously empowering, instilling confidence, and raising skill levels, this ingenious training tactic has made the shop a better place before the doors are even open.  Each brewing method was demonstrated by the Barista who personally developed the shop’s technique for that particular method.  All the methods delivered extremely good presentations of the coffees specifically chosen for each brewing device.

Lindsay Wailes, event organizer, watches over a syphon brew

The space is located along a retail strip of old, narrow store fronts in an area where the architecture is reminiscent a little bit of Washington DC.  There is comfortable church pew (rarely do the two go together) and handful of two topper tables and chairs.  The bar area is designed with the Barista in mind.  An island of counter houses the brew bar, with a large hot water tower and it’s own sink, a single halogen burner for the syphons, a two bay stainless steel pour over station, and spare room for scales and things.  The old LaMarzocco Linea, developed and built as a prototype for Starbucks many years ago (but never placed in green apron service) now features bright halogen lamps that illuminate only when the group is activated.  The white light created by these babies is soooo much nicer than the blue shift of LEDs.

The white halogen shines on Hines

There was a cupping lead by Devlin, formerly a roaster from New Harvest in Providence, Rhode Island.  Scott Conary, USBC big time judge talked about rules and judges, and various interpretations of rules.  I lead a latte art workshop.  It was my goal to have a very informative workshop while keeping to a minimum of demonstration.  The only latte art I poured for the workshop was a single Monk’s Head design, which is something I like for people to practice.  It is a great “back to basics” skill drill.

Edit:  It has just occurred to me that Scott Conary is a big time WBC judge, not USBC.

Keep the glow alive

You can read about the latte art throwdown in the previous post, which I won.  It is the first latte art throwdown I have ever won.  I won a bag of people’s stuff, which was kind of cool.

Update Nibblets

A long and grueling weekend of Coffee Fest in Atlanta has left me depleted of the energy to write up something long-winded and socially insightful at the moment. You can use these nibblets to snack down and be satisfied, (I say that as though I have a reading public clambering for more material, but you know what they say, built it and they will come).

Octane Coffee Bar & Lounge is pulling off the balancing act of being coffee bar, liquor bar, Internet bar, art hub, haven of house music, social gathering point, shining star of coffee excellence, and high crime location all at the same time. Nice Job.

-Laptop and camera stolen, life is meaningless when disconnected from the outside world. We are accused of creating a “Crime of Opportunity” by parking a locked vehicle on the street, under the street light, next to a busy location, while “security guards” patrol the area.

-Creating a big atrium inside of a hotel with a restaurant, reception hall, and liquor bar is a bad and noisy idea.

Intelligentsia‘s Sarah and Alex are lovely and dynamic, Jay Cunningham’s hair is very curly, and the rest of the crew are great folks (sorry for forgetting the other names) and made me some great coffee. Ellie was also nice and hospitable.

-Phillip Search is a cornucopia of technical knowledge, and works a fine looking copper clad lever machine. Dan Griffin was also working the 49th Parallel booth; I thought he was from NYC.??

– The coffee consuming public wants to participate in cuppings, but they just need a little tug in the right direction.

Chemically Imbalanced‘s Ben Szobody is surprisingly calm in person.

-Dan Griffin wins $157 dollars on the spot in the spontaneous Latte Art smack down at the Dirty Dirty South CCC party.

-Most of  Peter Giuliano’s stories about sourcing coffee in remote locations of the world go something like this:

-I was cupping many coffees in ______________, and it turned out that all the coffees I liked came from the same place, the village of _____________.

-I asked them to take me there, and we began our long and arduous journey crossing the __________ in a makeshift ___________,  and were in real danger of being _________ by the __________.

-All the villagers knew we were coming, so when we got there all the people were in the street to greet us with their hands in the air, cheering and signing while someone wearing a _____________ began the ______________, which is the local custom.

-That night they served roasted ______________ which I ate anyway, and it was delicious.  Then they poured me some _____________, which is a fermented ale made from ______________.

-They threw the big party because it was the first time since the ___________ that they now have the ability to sell their crop for good price, and now they can afford to feed their children.

Atlanta II

For some mysterious technological reason I am unable to upload photos today. So imagin a thick and densly packed tangle of wires and tubes and stainless steel sheet metal. Imagine a close up of a circular micro screen and a neoprene covered boiler tank. That is the inside of the Franke superautomatic expresso machine, and it is brilliantly more simple than the Astoria superautos. The engineering was simple and elegant, the footprint was sleek and slender. The shots were, well, lets just say that I was polite enough not to spit in the sink. But that was not entirelly the fault of the machine, but mainly the blend.

After a grulling day of espresso extractor deconstruction, I was picked up by my mystery host, who took me to visit Octane, and to meet Tony, the owner. Tony was tall and slender with a cropped salt and pepper beard, and he prepared us each a shot of a mystery blend with supple agillity that apeared natural and unforced. For whatever reason, he was not even sure himself which blend it was. We all agreed upon CCC Tuscoano, which I am not sure about, but I know it was not Afficionado. Octane has a very nice atmosphere with exposed brick walls, Georgia Tech students, and “Indy alt” staff. They had no brew extractor, but offered French press which they stored in Lexus thurmoses. It was delicious.

My host and I began disscussing our coffee passions, cafe business models, and roaster business models before heading out ot his office for a quick tour. More disscussion of business ensued, ending with a quick milk texturing tip he offered me. His office just happend to be equiped with a LaMarzocco FB80. Now imagine his beautifully formed rosetta and tulip, and my electrostatic wonky rosetta. At least the milk texture came out the way I wanted it, even if the pattern did not.

I got a good look at Atlanta, as he did not seem to know his way around very well, and after a quick pass of the federal penitentiary and some housing projects, we finally found an open restaurant. A huge “Earl Burger” kicked the wiener’s ass that I had last night, though I don’t remember the name of this place.

It will be back to the grind stone tomorrow as we tackle traditional machines. Hopefully my pictures will make it up next time.

The 2nd Place Soy Latte

Justin Teisle, winner of both 1st and 2nd place in the Soy Challenge, is a former Barista of Alterra Coffee Roasters. Here is a photo of the his 2nd place double rosetta. Nice shape, nice flow, nice background.

second place

And the Winner Is……..

1st place-#5   Justin Teisl,  student at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, with the Tipple Rosetta

2nd place-#4  also Justin Teisl.

An overwhelming majority of votes went for the flash and level of difficulty displayed by the multiple rosettas.

The Champ had this to say about his winning work of art.

“This was poured with Pacific Soy Select, stretched to about 95, final temp 150.
Poured the right leaf first, then the left, then the center, while tilting cup
in hand.”

Justin Teisl

I’ll have more details about the different soys used when I get the chance to write more.  I did not know there were so many brands, and that I have only ever used the worst one for all these years. soy winner

Many thanks to our Soy Challenge Sponsors:

sponsor

Vote for the (2) Two Best Soy Designs

Please take a moment to honor the work and talent that went into creating these works of Latte Art. This in no ordinary free pour, but the product of soy based liquids that present a unique set of variables over which the Barista must gain supreme control in order to pour a free flowing design with definition and contrast.

Please send and e-mail with the subject title “Soy Vote”, and indicate (2) two numbers corresponding to your choice for 1st and 2nd place to: philproteau@gmail.com

I will be collecting votes through the Holiday Season and announce the winner and runner-up during the first week of January.

Click on the photo to get a closer look.

soy vote

Soy latte art

Today, 12/08/06, is the last day get in your submition for the Soy Challenge. Get all the details at the old Onion-Bean Blog.

Here are the prizes for the two best free pours:

1st place
=====
1 Espresso 101 VHS tape
1 Espresso thermometer
1 Measured shot glass
1 Frothing spoon
1# Midnight Lotus Espresso
1 Stockton Graham & Co. Coffee mug
3 Stockton Graham & Co. Luggage tags
1 Cupping spoon
1 Coffee scoop

2nd Place
=======
1# Midnight Lotus Espresso
1 Stockton Graham & Co. Coffee mug
3 Stockton Graham & Co. Luggage tags
1 Cupping spoon
1 Coffee scoop

Good luck!