Tuesday, February 12, 2008

murky graduates

as i continue to look through some old flickr pictures that were unlocked once i paid to renew my account, i find a lot of pictures of former murky coffee coworkers that have gone on to success at other cafes. a lot of these pics are quite old, so i hope we are all comfortable with the past.

first, we have ryan goodrow, now at ninth street espresso

this one is a two-fer, with nick kirby, also now at NSE, and daniel stearns, now proud owner of stearns coffee in huntsville, alabama.

also, there is charrow, now working for octane in the atl. (sorry about the pic, char-char)

on the left-hand side of this picture of us finally painting over the horrid mural at the capitol hill store is mandy catron, still part-time barista at elysian coffee in vancouver.

yes, folks. they just keep coming...
i found a couple pics from the summer 06 murky beach trip, first of katie carguilo, now working for counter culture up in nyc.

and here's one from the party bus, with zachary carlsen of NSE next to nick.

and then, there is aaron ultimo, shown here with wife elizabeth, who in about six weeks will be heading up to philadelphia to begin a new chapter and, eventually, a new shop.

phew. now that daniel has his own shop, we are going to have to begin filling out the family tree to see who went where and when and how they influenced this other person, etc. at some point, we'll change the world. for now, we are just a bunch of friends scattered all over the place.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

tecmo super bowl and old news

after being sidetracked by video games as the free-time eater for the past couple of weeks, i found myself looking through some old photos. in the dead of winter and seeing jon buried in snow, i thought i'd throw this picture up from our visit to that part of the country in summer 06 to rekindle the hope for a market soon returning.

jill and i have been trying to determine where we will vacation this year--after traveling to france, italy and costa rica in 07, we are thinking of staying stateside--and we are thinking of maybe heading west again to those mountains.

i don't think we probably need much convincing...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

my week with quince

A quince is a fruit related to apples and pears native to southwest Asia. While it seems that nearly all the worldwide quince production is inside China, Toigo Orchards out of south-central Pennsylvania grows some here in the states. A few weeks ago, I noticed my friend Robb Duncan, owner of Dolcezza Gelato, had made some Spiced Quince gelato. Up to that moment, I had never recalled hearing of such a fruit. The next Saturday, Jill came home from the market with two of them.

The picture above is a bit more bumpy than the fruit that we got from Toigo. Jill was told to pick up some lamb and cook the quince till it softens (it is pretty tart and a bit fibrous when raw). With the first quince, we peeled it and chopped it into cubes, then boiling the pieces in sugar water for over half an hour. We pulled out the fruit and used part of the remaining quince sugar water to scrape out the pan we did the chops in for a sauce. We made a bulgur wheat salad with almonds and dried apricots to accompany and enjoyed a very delicious dinner last Sunday.

With the second, we again peeled and chopped it, but this time we combined the quince with cubed sweet potato, maple syrup and salt, roasting it all for about forty minutes. This provided a great side last night with lentil soup and fresh baked bread.

Quince, you are my friend.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

private cupping

all i know is that today i had the distinct pleasure of cupping with this guy.

pretty rad.

the chef from my favorite restaurant in dc makes a fine guest at my cupping table any day. oh, go here, too.

Friday, November 16, 2007

costa rica, long overdue

So, I went to Costa Rica for a week about a month ago. It was a whirlwind tour of some farms that we (CCC) work with in Tarrazu, many different locations in San Jose, two different television shows and a latte art demonstration in a shopping mall. The story likely isn't as interesting as the pictures and a few videos.

Shade-grown coffee is supremely neato. Counter Culture buys coffee from AFAORCA, an organic coop of farmers in Tarrazu. Kim and I were able to visit four of the farms as well as a beneficio and were impressed with the biodiversity and shade. I saw bananas, lemon and orange trees, hocote, avocados and much more. I just wanted to eat all the fruit all the time.

This swingset was outside the house we stayed in one night.

We did manage to find some ripes even though we were probably six weeks or so from the main harvest. These were at a lower elevation than most of the coffee in that area. I was grateful, though, as I was able to eat my first coffee cherry.

And we went to see these ruinas in the orosi valley. We had a day where we did more tourist-type things, like visit a couple of historic churches and rent bikes to ride around near the coffee plantations in the orosi valley.

This was my class for the latte art workshop, one of the primary reasons for the visit. iCafe, the Costa Rican Coffee Institute, flew me down to spend a couple days teaching latte art to some of their certified baristas and give a demonstration at a shopping mall where they had a number of displays to increase awareness of Costa Rican coffee in the country as well as increase specialty consumption.

And this was part of my appearance on "buen dia" a live morning show in San Jose. I had the pleasure of making an espresso-based cocktail, an espresso mojito--better than it sounds--and also poured a very satisfactory rosetta on live TV. The next day, we did a taped segment for another show, Cocina Alternativa, with some famous model, but I won't know for a while if my segment will be used.

All in all, an amazing trip for which I am indebted to iCAFE and the farmers of the AFAORCA coop.

Hooray, coffee.

Monday, October 15, 2007

my niece is great

I was recently in Minneapolis for work meetings but was able to see family, as well. My niece and god-daughter, Linnea, is now 2.5 years old and is quite amusing to be around. I took a number of videos of her singing such hits as "The ABC's", "Twinkle, Twinkle" and "The Wheels on the Bus".

Here is one of her smiling for the camera:

Friday, September 07, 2007

a visit to waterpenny

Jill and I are CSA shareholders with Waterpenny Farm and had the distint pleasure of heading out to the farm this past Monday for a tomato tasting. They invited friends and CSA members for tables full of 23 large tomatoes and 6 cherry tomatoes.

Seeing as how I didn't particularly enjoy tomatoes until a couple years, I was a bit overwhelmed by the experience and couldn't distinguish flavor characteristics with the same confidence that I have with coffee. I must say that I was impressed with the variety of flavors that we picked out, with notes including melon, pumpkin, citrus, stone fruit and various mild spices.

After the tasting, we were able to tour the farm and see some of the tricks they're using to control bugs, weeds and animals without herbicides and pesticides. They also made us hold chickens. I can't say that I've ever held a chicken and wasn't really excited about it, but now I'm pretty proud of it.

We are really grateful for the hard work that Eric and Rachel--as well as the interns from Peru, who are here to learn sustainable farming practices--put into the farm in order to make amazing produce for their shareholders and the local farmers markets.