blog from the ceo & superbarista of phoenix coffee, home of the best baristas in cleveland, ohio

Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Coffee Universe just Shifted... did you feel it?

Yesterday, Dennis Skitzki, Phoenix's espresso technician extraordinaire, told me that the New York Times published the winner of the US Barista Competition on THE FRONT PAGE. I didn't see it on the front page with my own eyes, but I did read the article and look at the pictures online. Do you coffee nuts out there realize what this means???? This is a big deal!!! The US Barista Championship was on the front page of the NEW YORK TIMES! Should I write that again? Did you catch that? The front page! The Coffee Universe has shifted.

Her name is Phuong Tran, she's 35 years old, and her signature drink is called the Crimson Sage. It contains espresso (did I need to tell you that?) sweet sugar cane juice, white pepper powder and sage leaves and she serves it in a crimson shot glass. Doesn't that sound mysterious? In order to access the above article, you'll have to give the New York Times some of your vital statistics and your first born, but don't worry, it's worth it.

The WORLD Barista competition, which doesn't look like it got much coverage from the Times, was won by a Dutch barista, Troels Overal Poulsen, with another interesting sounding drink that contained melted pepper. Is this pepper thing a new trend in espresso? Time for Phoenix baristas to start inventing our own signature pepper drink. Another interesting thing to note is that Poulsen used a straight Brazil as his espresso, roasted Northern Italian style, which means that it was roasted probably about to the depth of our Blonde Espresso. It's unusual for espresso to be brewed with a single origin. Although we recently added Brazil back into both our Espresso blends, since it is great for crema volume and also the mellow-ness of the blend. And just this past Monday Carl (our master blender) and I developed a new custom blend for a customer and it was the Brazil in it that saved the day. We were trying to combine two disparate taste characteristics into one blend, and we had failed with seven previous combinations, but on the eighth try, using the Brazil, we came up with a winner.

And Sergio Abramof, talented Cleveland chef and owner of Sergio's University Circle and soon to be Sergio's Shaker Square, has sworn by the Brazilian coffee that he has served in French Presses for years. So, yes, Brazil is an unadorned and unsung hero of the coffee world. It is the country that produces the most coffee, so I guess we oughta pay attention to their beans and use them to their fullest!

Here's the article about the World Barista Competition.

You didn't know the coffee world could be so glamorous did you?


Anonymous steveg said...

Excellent post, Sarah! We may need to start making a NEO-Barista competition a regular thing as a qualifier to the nationals!

5:33 AM, April 22, 2005  
Blogger Christine said...

hi sarah-
you can use to get around those mandatory registrations that some news sites have.

also - i'm introducing coffee back into my diet - i'm limiting myself to one single serving french press a week, although my friend told me about Vietnamese coffee and i'm going to have to give it a whirl soon....

ps - the first reference question i ever had at my first library job was "what's the pH of coffee?"

5:04 PM, April 22, 2005  

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