Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Firstly, a warm and gracious welcome to my readership!  Thanks for hanging in there throughout my absence.

I'd like to wish you all a belated happy holidays and a truant happy new year!  How did everyone spend their holidays?

I spent Christmas in Houston visiting with family.  Along the way I picked up a few new sweater vests, a great book regarding the quest for a beautiful coffee, titled "God in a Cup."  It basically concerns the travels of three heads of industry, Peter Guiliano of Counter Culture Coffee, Geoff Watts of Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea and Duane Sorenson of Stumptown Coffee Roasters, on their quest to dig up the origins of what is currently among the rarest and is certainly the most expensive green coffee on the market, Hacienda La Esmerelda Special, a coffee that, once roasted, proceeds to punch the drinker in the face with brilliant floral notes, washes of red berries various other mixed fruits.  I had the distinct pleasure of cupping this coffee some months back and I was taken by intense blueberries and cream notes in the nose and in the mouth.  Anyways, the book was written by a journalist that tagged along with these three gentlemen all over the world, from the Cup of Excellence competitions in Granada, Nicaragua to the wilds of Ethiopia in search of the origins of the plant responsible for producing such phenomenal coffee.  It's a cool read with loads of insight into the industry and what it takes to produce and market an exceptional cup of coffee.

Also, while in Houston, I had the opportunity to visit a coffee shop by the name of Fioza, whose espresso was unlike any I've ever tasted.  It was a lot like drinking a small cup of pureed green beans drenched in BBQ sauce... but in a GOOD way!  They're using a custom blend roasted by Fontana Coffee Roasters.  They made a hell of a cappuccino and a not bad cup of brewed Ethiopian coffee, as well.  I give these guys a thumbs up, and I recommend anyone in the area to check them out.  Ask the purveyor, Michael, to let you watch him pour your latte.  You're in for a treat.  He's an artist with some steamed milk.

All right, I'll be coming back to you guys with some more inspirational and hopefully educational coffee stuff soon, but for now I need to make some announcements:

Tomorrow, Thursday the 14th, I will be pouring latte art at Octane Coffee Bar and Lounge, in West Midtown.  If you're in the area around 9 PM, come by and cheer for me.  I have some great new pours I'm going to try out.  Oh, and they have a great Belgian beer and scotch collection.  So, if nothing else, come by and join me for a drink.

And finally...

I've been talking to everyone I know about the Southeast Regional Barista Championships for the past month or so, but now I am making it official: As of last night, I am registered to compete come this February, representing the great city of Atlanta, Cafe Nineteen and Illy Caffe in the biggest little barista comp around!

It's going to be a hell of a time.  I feel great, my menu is fantastic and I'm at the top of my coffee game.  I'm going to give the Southeast an uphill battle, but all in good fun.

For any of you out there that wish to come and cheer me on, the competition spans February 19th-21st, with actual performances on the 20th and 21st, I believe.  It would mean the world to me to have anyone come and give me a little moral support, and I promise I'll give you all a show to remember!

So, that's it for now.  As usual, I invite commentary!

-Dan

Daniel Stewart Mueller at 1:31 PM |

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