Friday, April 30, 2010
so, i've spent some time recently redesigning the layout at my shop.  i'm focusing my efforts on creating a modular work environment, kinda like what you see at intelli's shop in venice, ca.  the problem i'm facing has most to do with the limited space i have to work with.  what i wouldn't give to have an hour to discuss the scarcity of space and the efficient use thereof with ingvar kamprad, founded of ikea and recently-named rich person.

the idea is creating separate little station for each brew method we would offer.  stations would include espresso, french press, chemex and drip station.  if this whole thing is done right, gone are the days of tripping up over fellow co-workers in an attempt to craft that perfect chemex while they're pouring a capp or what-have-you.

has anyone tried this?  better yet, if you have tried it, any advice on making it work in a small area?

-dan

Daniel Stewart Mueller at 7:33 PM | 0 comments
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
so, it's a bit of a shame, but i haven't had a whole lot to do at work lately.  due to office politics, as it were, my hands as a "manager" have been tied somewhat and i've found myself deflated into more of a figurehead than anything else.

i've been finding ways of making this time productive, however.  i've been catching up on the blogs.  those crazy cats over at dirtycup produced some pretty kick-ass videos out in california at the USBC.  they're a riot.  jacob is the king of karaoke.  also, they're interviews with dale delchamps, kyle glanville, the slayer and la marzocco teams and everyone else they spoke with were all top-notch and insightful.  rock on, dudes.

tonight was the first of what i hope to be many efforts at consumer education.  it's one thing to talk a customer through the process of brewing their cup and it's quite another to let them in on the experience and gauge firsthand what makes a cup great and what makes a cup lackluster.

now, to be fair, the first Be Your Own Barista night was a bit lackluster itself.  no one showed up for the official "timed" portion of the event.  however, as i was packing up all my gear, a gentleman by the name of coleman stepped over and asked me what i thought was the best way to brew a cup.  wow.  that was what i would call a "window."  i jumped through it.  nearly forty-five minutes later he and i were both very much caffeinated and stoked about his returning later in the week to chemex a few coffees side-by-side.  it will be his first foray into cupping, and i'm excited to be part of the experience.

so, i'm just throwing this out there.  if anyone wants, at any time, feel free to drop by and i will take a moment to brew a cup and chat with you about it.  i know if i'm talking to anyone on this thing, it's coffee folks who pretty much know what they're drinking.  regardless, if you ever want to chat about a particular bean, text me, meet me at the shop and we'll get into the drink.

in other news, i've been working on my rhymes lately and i think i have enough verses to get into the studio and record a mixtape or something.  look forward to that.

what else is there?  well, italy is coming up.  the trip is shaping up nicely, with some company visits planned that are sure to knock some socks off.  so far we're booked to visit ducati, ferrari, lavazza, brioni (the suit-ery!!!!), some super-old perfumery, and a couple others that i can't remember.  and then, at the end of it all, i hope to take a train out to trieste to visit illy's headquarters and maybe see their factory!  holy crap.  i'm thrilled, but i'm also nervous.  it's my first time out of the country.  i've been to mexico, but i really don't even count that.  is that wrong?

watch m.i.a.'s new video.  just not at work.

-dan

Daniel Stewart Mueller at 8:55 PM | 3 comments
Friday, April 9, 2010
okay, so i haven't been current in a month or so, and a lot of stuff has happened between my last post and now.

to start, i sort of took a break from active coffee culture for a little while after the southeast regional comps.  i needed a bit of time to decompress.  coming out of the event i was a bit frustrated with my final scores, but after having given it some time and consideration i realize i'm fine with the turnout of the competition.  in the end, i had a fantastic time performing.  not much mattered after i came to that conclusion.

so now i have to get back on that horse and try to get my knowledge game up.  there are a few things i have in the works for the coming weeks/months.  first and foremost, i am making it a mission to learn more about roasting.  this is something i've been wanting to do for a while, and lately opportunities have been presenting themselves.  the most exciting is the atlanta roasting co-op that local coffee fixture byron holcomb has in the works.  the premise is simple.  byron has a sample roaster on loan from his farm in the dominican republic.  in order to keep the roaster around atlanta, he needs to recoup some of the machines cost.  in order to do THAT, it is being made available to atlanta baristas for a per-session/per-month fee.  specifics are still working themselves out, but it's looking like $25/day will get you roasting privileges, plus a bit extra is you don't have any green coffee to roast and have to use his own personal stock.

at first i thought his pricing structure was a bit steep, but then it IS a co-op.  the more you roast, the greater share you have in the project.  also, you can't put a price on the experience and potential for knowledge gained through playing with the thing.  at any rate, this is a big deal and i'm making it a personal mission to 1.) get the most out of this roaster personally and 2.) garner as much interest and participation as i can from those coffee folks i know throughout the city.  this is a great opportunity to further the already tight-knit community we have and expand our avenues of expression beyond cupping and latte art throwdowns.

i don't know if i'm making my excitement clear, but this is huge.

okay.  what ya got, dan?  how about BE YOUR OWN BARISTA NIGHT!!

i've spoken about this before, but it's time for another shameless plug, i think.  BYOB is a course i am hosting on home preparation of coffee and espresso.  together with whomever shows up, i will be discussing the virtues of five popular home-brewing methods, including espresso, auto-drip, french press, moka pot and chemex preparations.  the class will be an hour to an hour and a half.  IT IS FREE!  and we will have the featured devices for sale at the end of it, along with a variety of coffee (provided by illy caffe) to purchase to go with the devices.

Be Your Own Barista
April 27th - 7:30 pm
Cafe Nineteen.

so come along and talk coffee for a while.

lastly, i have some huge news.  i will be heading to ITALY towards the end of may with a group from school.  this is something of a pilgrimage for me.  i'll be visiting the birthplace of espresso!  while there, the group will be visiting various small- to medium-sized companies, studying cases and seeing the sights of the old world.  after the trip proper, i will take a train out to Trieste to visit the Illy factory and see how Italian espresso is produced in this modern world.

i'm stoked about the trip, but i don't really know what to expect.  if anyone out there has any suggestions for me (what to see, what to do, etc.) please let me know.  i will be blogging (mandatory for the trip) while i'm there, so look forward to some interesting posts, pictures, what-have-you.

that's about it.  everyone watch the national barista comps and cheer on the atlanta baristas that are competing.

later,

dan

Daniel Stewart Mueller at 2:00 PM | 0 comments