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

Monday, February 13, 2006

And the winner is Stove Top Espresso with Diane DeRubba

Yum! She added sugar to a small amount of espresso and whipped it into a froth before adding back into the pot of espresso that was enjoyed by all the visitors to her table.

All the Phoenixers who helped with the presentations, set up and clean up for today's Brew Matters event at the Phoenix Roastery made great contributions. Diane really went above and beyond, with her homemade biscotti and polished presentation, and the sugar whip that made the espresso taste like Cuban coffee. So when we took a vote at the end for which coffee everyone preferred, Diane's stove top espresso got the most votes. Then came Dawn's Vacuum Pot; she toiled long and hard before hand, making batch after batch to get the dosage right and to season the brewer. Participants also enjoyed the rich chewy French Press brew, presented by Bobby and Julie from the Lakewood store.

It was great to know that all the folks who came found a brew that they really enjoyed. Tina and Heather made some great espresso shots; I tasted them myself!

Julie shared with us the nine aspects that the Rainforest Alliance certifiers examine when they certify a farm, from soil conservation to how workers are treated.

Steve struggled with the finicky Neapolitan brewer (I didn't know what a challenge I had given him) and managed to make a few successful brews. What a trooper.

Kiley entertained his groups back in the roastery near the automatic drip brewer, attempting to explain some of the chemistry of Golden Cup certification and proper coffee brewing techniques. He also ended up giving some impromptu roastery tours!

Brenden filmed the whole thing, so hopefully we'll have an edited version that we can use for training purposes soon.

Mike Hoffman pitched in greatly with clean up, washing all the espresso cups and the food platters. The food from Tastebuds was great, thank you Bridget.

Charlotte and Veronica did a great job checking everyone in, handing out espresso cups, programs, and bottled water. We ran out of programs (I had printed 44) and we got into our third case of bottled water (about 52 bottles) so it seems we had more than 50 people attend!

It was great to be able to stand in the middle of the whole thing and overhear the simultaneous presentations going on... to hear all the Phoenixers using their coffee tasting terminology and vocabulary to work the crowd, from all corners of the room. We have come such a long way in terms of coffee knowledge and ability to communicate information, and I know we will only continue to get better. I'm already thinking about the upcoming Indonesian Coffee Tasting and how we'll format that. There's no way we can accomodate 50+ for that, I don't think. Or can we? Smaller groups are better; it makes it easier to customize.

Way to go, Team Phoenix!

Now it's 10:30 PM and I'm still wired. Could be a long night.


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