Jan 21, 2006

I'm screwed

I put in an order from Sweet Maria's at the end of last week. Can't wait to get my hands on it as there are some fantastic green beans as you will see below. I am going to be roasting them using the i-roast 2 which Tom of Sweet Maria's says "the iRoast is still the most advanced air roaster on the market now and in any forseeable future. If I wanted to start roasting, it's the one I would choose" now who am I to argue with Tom. The price point is good comparative to the other offerings out there, though I must admit I did research the Diedrich, Probat and Ambex lines before sanity kicked in and I went with the i-roast 2. Besides when I am at the SCAA convention April 7-10 in Charlotte, N. Carolina, there may a deal I can't refuse on a "larger" roaster. Doreen will understand. ;-)

I suppose I didn't mention anywhere on the blog yet why I am going to the SCAA convention. Well last summer at the Second Cup national convention I was honoured with a new national award which recognized a cafe which distinguishes itself from other Second Cup cafe's and all its competition. Certainly an over the top moment, my massive head on a video screen directly behind me showing an interview I did on business plans and their relevance to the cafe owner, as I stand on stage blinded by the spotlights staring out into the dimly lit main hall, meanwhile hundreds of people clapping and cheering. Gulp, glad I wore clean underwear and a decent suit! Not sure if I deserved the award, but for the last 18 months I had been applying my voracious appetite for knowledge towards the coffee industry and had decided I wasn't satisfied with the current state of coffee previously offered. My main focus became espresso and I was fortunate to swap ideas early on in my search for knowledge with some passionate coffee lovers who are in the industry. They were a catalyst for my almost fanatical need to learn from the best. I gained a ton by paying attention to some key Internet sites which are purely focused on the new wave of coffee, or 3rd wave coffee (for those in the know). It was crazy how many man-hours I put into that initiative. Of course there was a lot of practical experience gained along the way, oh my did I blow a lot of shots trying a little of this and a little of that. Eventually I started to understand a little bit about the preparation of espresso. Then of course there was a moment when I realised by learning more I could see that I knew very little. That feeling eventually passed and I started to believe I had some technical and practical experience.

Injecting that into day to day operations and ensuring the staff accepted my madness was a challenge but they knew I was obsessed and probably just a little crazy so they humoured me. Flash forward a few more months and customers were starting to comment on how much better our drinks were than those around us. This momemtum started to build on itself and pretty soon that flowed out into the daily sales. Happy customers, increasing customer base, net sales increase = all good.

So I won an award, for my efforts I am priviliged to be going to the SCAA convention, all expenses paid. Nice! How funny that it is only through applying that much effort and passion and challenging myself to be better that it caused me to become a coffeegeek. Now I get excited about hanging out with other coffeegeeks. Hi, my name is Shaun, and I am a coffeegeek.

We are cross-country skiing in Canmore in the morning. I will get some photos and there might be a shot of my new melon. I gave myself a haircut and bleached my hair (never done that before), I call it my "The Jackal" look, you will only understand if you have seen the movie. I think it is outrageous, can't believe I did it, quite amusing. How does Doreen put up with me? ;-)

Hopefully on the way back we can stop in at Java Jamboree in Cochrane and grab some of Schomers blend for the Brewtus 2, that should tide us over until the green bean delivery hits the doorstep. Speaking of which here are the greens:

Kenya Auction Lot #54 Peaberry
Kenya Auction Lot 622 Peaberry
Nicaragua Cup of Excellence -La Esperanza
Ethiopia FTO Harar -Oromia Coop
Ethiopian Yirgacheffe (MAO)
Ethiopia Dry-Process Ghimbi
Colombia Huila - Los Idolos de Bellavista
SM's Moka Kadir Blend
SM's Espresso Monkey Blend
SM's Liquid Amber Espresso Blend

And 4 more pounds of assorted espresso sampler, not sure what that will entail but the price was right and I'm sure it will be great. If you are in anyway a quasi coffee nut these are some great beans and I would recommend you take a look at their cupping review, hey I will get you started, click here to learn about the Kenyans then bounce around their site.

Well, that's enough time squandered, Doreen will punish me tomorrow when I am trying to keep up with her as I tow the boys behind me in the Chariot.

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