Tuesday, December 22, 2009
 it's been a while since my last post, so i'll start by trying to get you guys up to date.

the past couple weeks have been a whirlwind of work things and christmas preparations.  with the big holiday right around the corner, i've been struggling to get my ducks in a row.  i think i've gotten all of my shopping done, and i've had a little time to reflect on the past semester at school and hash out some ideas i have for the future of the coffee program at my shop, cafenineteen.

this past semester has been enlightening, and one of the most enjoyable of my college career.  my advertising class was a blast and i'm stoked to be taking another course on the subject in the spring.  my international business classes were interesting, though they didn't hold my attention quite the way my ad class did.  as i am pursuing a minor of sorts in IB, i feel obligated to show up every day and at least TRY to enjoy the material.  nonetheless, i have a hard time getting excited about business abroad when i have much domestic business to attend to.  a couple courses just didn't capture any of my passion.  marketing research and buyer behavior are interesting subjects to know something about, but aren't really where i see the focus of my studies going.

this brings us to my domestic business, the coffee program i'm developing at cafenineteen.  a lot has been happening in coffee lately.  first and foremost, our cafe has been branching out a bit more in local competition.  the december match-up at octane coffee's thursday night throwdown saw some pretty impressive pours.  octaner dale donchay took the prize with a series of tulips that were nothing short of masterful.  the following tuesday i poured at element coffee's first ever throwdown and brought the prize home for the cafe.  again, the competition was fierce, but i had a good night and won with a pretty solid rosetta.  the shop up there was very cool.  it had clean, minimalistic design elements and served intelligensia coffee.  their signature espresso, black cat, is a fantastic shot.  in fact, i think i drank two that night.

barista comp is the word of the day, i feel, for a few reasons.  reason number one being that i now have a couple baristas under me that have begun to compete, exposing not only the baristas to the competitive side of the industry, but also exposing the rest of atlanta coffee to our store.  the competitions are a great tool for getting our word out there, letting the atlanta bean-kids know what we are all about, while at the same time keeping the area baristas on top of their game.  it's hard not to get behind the comps, especially in a coffee environment as nurturing as atlanta's.  in the coming months i will be hard at work training for the southeast regional barista comp in february.  this will be my first major barista competition and i will be going up against the best the southeast has to offer.  from what i understand, there are some pretty intense competitors coming from south carolina and florida.  i'm a little nervous, but it's also an exciting proposition.

the idea of hosting a comp at cafenineteen has arisen on a few occasions, and it's looking like it may be a real possibility in the coming months.  the format has yet to be decided.  with latte art throwdowns popping up all over the metro atlanta area, i was thinking perhaps a french press or chemex comp might add a bit of flavor to the comp circuit.  whatever the case, there will be jameson on hand.

that's pretty much it for now.  i will conclude by making several promises to you, my readership.  an upcoming post will delve into the dichotomy between the philosophy of standardization of the espresso preparation process and the natural tendancy of the barista to tweak each component of the mix in search of a more perfect shot.  also, i will be posting some sketches i drew up of a couple machines that might just revolutionize the way coffee is prepared in the future.

stay tuned!

-dan

Daniel Stewart Mueller at 2:44 PM |

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