Saturday, August 30, 2003
so today i had another coffee party. once again, i have to thank todd of whole latte love for sending fresh coffee and a new steam tip for carlos the expobar.
you can't help but love todd. he's a sweetie! and i finally got to meet art photographer bill thompson, a west village resident, owner of a vintage pavoni europiccolo, which he purchased in florence many years ago.
never met him, but i knew he had to be cool. because he's an espresso fanatic, a lover of the ultimate ristretto, and coffee people are just the most awesome, friendly, hip people. also julia, a nice girl from my yoga class, came.
we sampled don schoenholt's gillies deluxe dark 2, doug zell's intelligentsia black cat, and dr. john's josuma malabar gold. famed "cult" coffees all.
and because julia is originally from hawaii, we made some kona in a vac pot. neither julia nor bill had ever seen a vac pot in action before, and that's always a good time.
we had all the equipment out -- the bathroom scale for the 30-lb. tamp, the mazzer mini grinder for espresso, the rancilio silvia, carlos, the bodum chambord, the reg barber tamper, the saeco 2002 burr grinder for drip, the davinci caramel syrup for a flavored latte. . .the whole 9 yards.
we also sampled chocolate, starting with dagoba organic bars. we tried the 37% milk chocolate brasilia with coconut and brazil nuts.
i think we all preferred the dagoba 59% roseberry with dark chocolate, rose hips, and raspberries. organic chocolates always seem a little waxy to me, but of all the organics, the dagoba is certainly the best.
naturally we also enjoyed the michel cluizel 67% "los ancones" santo domingo single origin bar, the bernard castelain macaibo 70%, and some italian chocolate nougat that we really didn't care for at all.
these coffee parties are so much fun, i just wish i could have them every single day!
Friday, August 29, 2003
our kind of girl
"rumour has it that she actually talks to her beans and listens to them talking to her, such is her passion for the perfect coffee."
australian artisan roaster celestica nagai is the chick in question and i love her love her love her. this article makes clear why she's a bccy kinda skirt.
let's not forget it's time for the neapolitan coffee festival.
and finally, another tale of the world-price depression known as the coffee crisis -- coffee and cardomom both are letting down the peasant farmers of guatemala.
don't despair: coffeekids does good work in guatemala.
Thursday, August 28, 2003
coffee to heal cancer, depressed neighborhoods
since we here at bccy are fervently intent in creating a global culture of coffee connoisseurs, i have to note that the annual u.k. coffee fundraiser for macmillan cancer relief is nearly upon us.
long-time readers may recall that i've talked about the famous u.k. coffee morning before.
this year it's sept. 26 (and here).
i encourage all my u.k. readers to drink an extra cup on that date at a participating establishment!
also, while flavored coffee isn't my personal thing, i'm well aware that 25% of coffee drinkers love it. so in this inclusive spirit, this recipe for making your own maple-flavored indonesian cup seems great.
the brewing tips at the end of article are good too. and in other coffee recipe news, this recipe (log your own bad self in: bccy, password) for a café frappé au lait is right up our alley these last days of august.
loyal readers know i'm going to be happy with anyone writing an article that begins "i love coffee." here's to you, annie dessens!
finally, i've written here several times about towns that have opened new coffeehouses to help revitalize their neighborhoods and ailing main streets. (for example, here.)
so today i'm pleased to find an article that suggests the coffeehouse as a foundation for urban planning. coffee is the most intellectual and social beverage.
it's no wonder that a new coffeehouse only adds to the local culture and increases the overall quality of life for all.
Wednesday, August 27, 2003
one of the most interesting people in new york coffee
his name is dom chieco, of liemco. i'm used to stumping professionals with my technical espresso machine talk and boundless enthusiam, but dom matched me step for step.
an intense, stocky scilian kick-boxer with eyes like lignum vitae, there's nothing dom can't tell you about pro espresso from the machine side. from his shaved head to his pierced ear, dom is all about coffee in way that's rare, very rare.
he drinks americanos and cares only about quality. reputation and market power mean nothing to him -- how good is your damn coffee?
in short, he's frank about what right and what's wrong with espresso in new york. he views the job of the machine and the machine tech to be the interpreter of the coffee.
the roaster chose beans, blended them, roasted them to an end. but how to get that artistic intention in the cup? that's where the machine comes in. . .
i must say, not only is he funny but he's spot on to boot.
and he's installed and set up the la marzocco machines here in new york for a lot of my favorite cafes, like jonathan's joe in the west village, patrick's the victory in brooklyn, halycon in brooklyn, and robert's stylish in the black on varick.
i won't gush on and on. but i could. dom's the man with the goods -- incredible. thinking about opening a coffeeshop? need a commercial machine?
i'd go with dom in a heartbeat -- no, half a heartbeat. his passion, idealism, and commitment to good coffee is what makes him a bccy kinda guy.
and speaking about passion and idealism, dear readers, those of you who haven't yet joined the scaa's consumer program can download the updated membership form right here (adobe acrobat required). best use of US$18 i can think of!
Tuesday, August 26, 2003
bluestockings afraid of headstand
it's a big bccy thank you to the long-time reader who sent a link to this little bit on the history of yoga in the u.s.a.
i think many people are aware that yoga was floating around the u.s.a. well before the 1960s, thanks to swami vivekananda, among others who came at various times to educate americans about the benefits of yoga.
however, as an orthodox teacher of vedanta, vivekananda did not approve of asana.
traditionally, yoga poses or asanas, are often associated with a set of ideas known as tantra. real tantra -- not the junk stuff you hear about from popular books -- is a huge subject that occupies a large chunk of the britannica, and so i'll leave you to head out to your local library to read up.
however, we might say in general that while traditional vedanta or raja yoga such as vivekananda taught can be quite abstruse, tantra was known more as a yoga for normal people or the so-called householder.
one of tantra's important teachings is that the body is not an obstacle to understanding, but an aid.
after all, most people can do some form of asana practice, even if it's only in a chair; whereas few can read sanskrit or puzzle through the scholarly vendantic texts!
as for the history of yoga in brooklyn, it is said -- although i'm not sure if it is actually factual -- that noted anti-slavery advocate henry ward beecher of the plymouth church was exposed to yoga through a lecture of vivekananda's.
Monday, August 25, 2003
heaven in oz
i'm talking about a great new chocolate and coffee bar, chocolate genie.
this place is run by noted coffee guru ian bersten -- the author, who also invented a novel way to package coffee for freshness, as well as his own fluid-bed roaster.
perhaps the best known of his books is "coffee floats tea sinks." it's just awesome even if i don't always agree with it, for those few of you who may not have read it yet. . .
bersten's quite a character, but so what? that's one of the most charming things about the coffee industry: it's filled with these incredible, amazing, larger-than-life people.
what's important is that they are passionately devoted to coffee and better quality coffee. his coffee and chocolate store are a bccy dream come true!
let others debate the "tamp like this" or "roast like that." everyone is always learning; i certainly am!
tamp however you like -- as long as the coffee's great and the chocolate's dark, i'm there!
Sunday, August 24, 2003
long-time readers know that sunday is pizza day here at bccy. i make my neapolitan-style pizza dough in the usual process. . . with unique yellow tomato sauce, etc.
of course other kinds of pizza exist. goat cheese pizza has been unremarkable since the 80s.
the spago peking-duck pizza was once popular. the diamond-shaped white pizza with grilled fiddlehead ferns i admired from afar but never ate remains in my memory. . .
there is much room for different pizzas in this world, my friends -- i say this with the love of the classic margherita enshrined in my heart -- and yet knowing this, somehow i am still struck speechless by this.