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Saturday, January 03, 2004


coffee & anarchy

well, when i talk about the world-price depression known as the coffee crisis, i normally get some wacky mail from lawd knows who accusing me of being a pinko stooge or something.

so today, i thought i would post an amusing editorial that is actually mostly correct factually, but is so wrong in other ways. . . the slacker anarchists' take on the coffee crisis in colombia. this makes me practically look like edmund burke.

but i do not condemn the anarchists, in fairness. they are obviously coffee lovers and care about coffee quality. they should become scaa consumer members, and we could move forward with them over a nice espresso. they would probably get along with former scaa prez paul katzeff just fine.

today's gray weather -- otherwise unseasonably warm -- got me down so i had a nice cappuccino at my hair salon and came home to discover a wonderful email from scaa prez david griswold of sustainable harvest. this is how coffee can change your life at any moment.

it mentioned the same mexican pluma that was in the blend i cupped with peter g. of counterculture! small small world.

in fact, i'm changing my habit and making pizza today, not tomorrow. must express joy now!

posted by fortune elkins | 3:07 PM | top | link to this |


Friday, January 02, 2004


who can blame them?

i'd dump it over the border too; much of that frozen pizza is frankly inedible.

which is why i make my own every single week. you can too.

lunch was tremendous, and it ended up just being fun with little serious coffee talk at all. i got to meet cate's lucky husband mark and some of her fabulous friends. thank goodness cate is coming back to town in a a few weeks and we can just rinse and repeat. . .a big bccy thanks to green mountain.

i know i've talked about coffee author ken davids here before and i link to his review site coffee review. he also now has an e-commerce site, great coffee. it's interesting what he's offering over there. . .

notice some of his highest rated coffees come from long-time bccy pal and scaa consumer member supporter, doug zell of intelligentsia.

posted by fortune elkins | 1:15 PM | top | link to this |


Thursday, January 01, 2004


ted lingle lays it out for you

and here's another great article on the world-price depression known as the coffee crisis.

it explains how some of my coffee rants come together to help us out of the problem. using the example of mexico, it also mentions the importance of the u.s.a. rejoining the i.c.o.

mostly i love my pal scaa chief ted lingle's quote at the end as to the cause of the coffee crisis -- thoughtlessness!

i hope all of you are having a terrific new year's day. may the rest of 2004 turn out so well.

as for yoga, i might take a shower and do some yoga nidra later today . . .

i'm looking forward to tomorrow because i'm going to get together with one of my favorite people on the planet, cate baril of green mountain; as well as i hope andrea, a yogini, goldsmith, and lawyer; and sabrina vigilante, a yogini and marketing person for the rainforest alliance, which certifies sustainable coffees.

maybe we'll end up shocking the french culinary institute staff by doing headstand after coffee! or maybe we'll just all go shopping. on the other hand, maybe we'll devise our own market-oriented solution to the coffee situation. . .

posted by fortune elkins | 11:33 AM | top | link to this |


Wednesday, December 31, 2003


a new year's inspiration

not just doing yoga, but teaching yoga when you're over 70!

as the year ends, let me take this moment to offer my gratitude to everyone who's helped me this year, not only in coffee, but in all other endeavors. you know who you are! and that includes you, dear readers. i'm thankful to you for stopping by. a toast to you all.

i hope long-time readers know bccy isn't particularly political -- well, ok, maybe it is, if charity is a political stance -- but when i saw this, i just laughed out loud.

i have so much chocolate left over from the holidays that dinner this evening will probably be an elegant seafood risotto with champagne and too much dessert. that much chocolate means i'll be drinking more banyuls than bubbly, actually.

i'm sure you all will have excellent celebrations of your own. . . i fully intend to keep bccy'ing in 2004! don't overindulge, and i hope i'll see you all in yoga class tomorrow!

posted by fortune elkins | 10:35 AM | top | link to this |


Tuesday, December 30, 2003


regional coffee culture, part xii; selling specialty coffee like fine wine

to copy the example of the california wine industry has long been the advice of those who wish to increase coffee quality and aprreciation in the u.s.a. and today it seems as if peets is taking this concept seriously.

as of jan. 1, the former head of a fine winery is set to become chairman of their board.

i love the spit & whittle club. i've written about groups like this before: classic small-town u.s.a. coffee culture.

while everyone knows now that the current free-lance culture means people use starbucks and other coffeeshops with wireless internet connections as their offices, what's new is how these working hang-abouts are now integrating themselves into the shop staff itself, going so far to help employees carry and deliver.

this creates not only a new public space, a new marketplace, but perhaps a new social structure as well?

however, not everyone is as open to new and fluid constructions of social space and coffee tradition. people have asked me about this: and i think the problem here is the waitresses don't want to see a self-service pastry bar in place.

they see their café as an authentic social ritual where they preside as a living link to vienna's storied literary and artistic past. this the new owner doesn't seem to appreciate.

he wants to attract young people with modern self-service to make the place less intimidating, and to reconnect it to the trend for "authentic" italian style -- a café with a bar. his idea of authenticity is clashing with that of the waitresses. . .

posted by fortune elkins | 9:06 AM | top | link to this |


Monday, December 29, 2003


a barista to watch?

we here at bccy believe that the barista is a crucial part of the new coffee cuisine. we strongly believe in encouraging and supporting the talented and dedicated barista.

we hope in the future this position will evolve into the same career level, and carry the same respect and status, as it now has in italy's best shops.

with this in mind, we are looking at washington state's phuong tran as an up-and-coming barista. i'll be watching her compete in atlanta myself. . .

today a friend of mine gave me 3 pounds of fresh coffee he had roasted himself and sealed in ziplock. i immediately slammed them to my nose. one, even thru the plastic, smelled strongly of vanilla; another, of caramel and dry toast; the third, of nuts, maybe roasted hazelnut.

but the plastic does make it hard to say clearly. however what was easy to smell was the chocolate soap tucked in among the coffee! this wonderful soap is made by nuns in missouri and is so deliciously scented i briefly considered gnawing on the bar. . .

the charming victorian-style fragrance is partly, i think, that very sweet jasmine-like thing known as coffee flower. my hunch maybe borne out by the fact that they call it "mayan gold."

posted by fortune elkins | 10:59 AM | top | link to this |


Sunday, December 28, 2003


of italics & coffee blogs

long time readers know that one of my favorite stores in all of nyc is the famed aedes de venusta. but few may know that another big fave is the fountain pen hospital.

since i almost never actually have the chance to write anymore, when i can, it's become more precious than ever.

so i cling to my parker duo-fold and italic nibs in hopes i'll have an excuse to whip out the gorgeous clairefontaine 96 page cahier.

and thus every now and then i bring out my copy of fred eager's "the italic way to beautiful handwriting" to practice my hand. i mean, if you have great paper and a lovely pen filled with perfect ink, it's a waste to dispense illegible chicken scratchs, yes?

especially since you can acquire a stunningly lovely hand in about 6-8 weeks by practicing just 15 minutes a day with either eager's classic or any of the several italic books by barbara getty and inga dubay.

naturally, writing is a preocupation that meshes perfectly with coffee. whenever your hand tires of holding the edged pen at 45, 15, 30 degrees, it's a relief to reach out for your favorite cup.

and that's what i did today: practiced my italic hand and sipped some of don schoenholt's gillies sumatra lintong kuda mas, triple pick, grade one, japanese preparation.

if you think you love sumatra coffee, if you can't get enough of the intense, thick bodied, sweet, syrupy, low brightness indonesian coffees -- wait until you try this kuda mas. amazing.

i've looked around at various coffee blogs from time to time to see if anyone else has reviewed this incredible coffee. but no. it appears to be my secret.

speaking of coffee blogs, if you search for them, there appear to be many with coffee, java, joe, espresso, caffeine, etc. in the title.

but few are actually about coffee in any serious way. this surprises me a lot!

why aren't these bloggers scaa consumer members yet? don't they really love coffee? i'm mystified. . .

alas, i can think of only 5 that seem to truly focus on the world's greatest intellectual and social beverage.

why is that? another mystery of the internet to ponder!

in the meantime, i did my daily alphabet, and waited for the pizza to rise.

speaking of pizza, i've made a discovery: better than pepperoni, the san daniele prosciutto salami.

costs less than perfect prosciutto, easy to use on the pizza, but 100% great san daniele taste. try it. a winner!

posted by fortune elkins | 7:04 PM | top | link to this |

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