Barista Nation Texas: 3 Days Away (registration closed)

Just a reminder:

Barista Nation Texas happens this upcoming Monday, all day long.

Where?

Oak Cliff Coffee
817 W Davis St.
Dallas, TX 75208

When?

Registration is from 9:30am to 10:30am.
The schedule of events runs until 6:30pm with a reception to boot.

I hope to see you there!

AJ Coffee Company: Dallas, TX

October 29, 2012 · Filed Under Community, DFW, Roasters, TX-Coffee · Comment 

Since my first post here back in January of 2007, I’ve written a lot of posts, tasted a lot of coffee (some good, some not so good), written about shops and roasters across this great state. All it took to get a mention was to send us an email letting us know about you.

I haven’t talked much about my own ventures in coffee, as I never really intended to make this blog about myself, but about the Texas coffee culture as a whole. However, my own ventures are not excluded from the Texas coffee scene, and I figured it’s high time I introduced AJ Coffee Company (http://www.ajcoffeeco.com).

You may have noticed the little AJ Coffee Co ad to the right in our sidebar above the EspressoTrainer.com ad (which is also mine, but that’s for another post).

AJ Coffee Company has long been a dream that became the early stages of a reality in the summer of 2010. The dream was (and still is) bigger than just a tiny wholesale and online retail roasting company, but this is what we were able to do at the time.

It started in Lubbock, TX, where I lived when this website (and my career in specialty coffee) got started, and I moved back to Dallas in the Spring of this year with my family, bringing AJ Coffee Company with us.

My commitment to relationships, coffee ethics, sustainability, and quality is as strong as ever. These are the backbone of this company.

Our roasterie is located in the Lake Highlands neighborhood in the office park at the NW corner of Plano Rd. and Miller. Visits by appointment only. (one day, I hope it can be more)

AJ Coffee Company
10725 Plano Rd., Ste. 400
Dallas, TX 75238
(214)997-4252

Barista Nation Event: November 5th, 2012 – Dallas, TX

October 22, 2012 · Filed Under barista jam, DFW, TX-Coffee · 1 Comment 

Click image for full size. From the BaristaNation.com blog.

The first actual Barista Jam I’ve seen in Texas in a Loooong time.  (Latte Art Throwdowns seem to have taken over)

Hosted by Oak Cliff Coffee in Oak Cliff (neighborhood in Dallas).  Entry is only $10, and every penny goes to Care.org (in fact, that’s where you go to pay for it).

Mingle with your coffee-loving brethren.  Learn new knowable knowledge.  Have fun learning about coffee in a social setting.  Do it all for a good cause. (or because you’re a selfish, attention-hungry coffee slinger who wants somewhere to show how awesome you are.  This is perfect for you).

Black Ivory: Here we Go Again (Elephant-Poop Coffee)

October 16, 2012 · Filed Under Gimmicks, News, TX-Coffee · Comment 

Elephant Dung Coffee Among World’s Most Expensive, Exclusive

PHOTO: An elephant in Thailand.

An elephant in Thailand. (Getty Images/LOOK) via ABC News

You’ve likely heard of civet coffee.  No?  Kopi Luwak?  Here, let me refresh your memory:

Does that look familiar?  People often talk about how “smooth” civet coffee is, and the pickle always seems to be the novelty that it was previously enjoyed by a cat-like critter in South East Asia.

The next trend in like fashion is now known as Black Ivory.

Arabica coffee grown at 1500 meters (a decent altitude, actually) is brought to elephants to eat up with their long snouts, cramming the coffee fruit into their enormous cavern-sized mouths before digesting, and.. (ahem).. you know.

The elephant’s caretaker then harvests the now strangely valuable coffee remnant (the seed, what you and I know as the unroasted bean) to be roasted and sold at a premium.  What kind of a premium are we talking?  I’m glad you asked.

$1,100 per Kg

 Yes, that’s $498.95/lb, or $31.18/oz, which rounds out to roughly $15.59 per brewed 8oz cup of elephant poop coffee.  To be fair, a portion of sales goes for a good cause.. to help the elephant who ate the coffee, or something.  You can read the original article here: Elephant Dung Coffee Among World’s Most Expensive, Exclusive

2012 World Barista Competition Semi-Finalists.

June 13, 2012 · Filed Under TX-Coffee · Comment 

This blogger sucks, but more on that later.  As reported by Sprudge, your world barista competition semi-finalists are:

[in no particular order, with twitter handles attached, also thanks to Sprudge]

1. Daniel Mendez, Viva Espresso, El Salvador @VivaEspresso1

2. Per Nordell, Åre Kafferoster, Sweden

3. Ricardo Azofeifa, Costa Rica Coffee Institute (ICAFE), Costa Rica@ICAFE_COSTARICA

4. Philipp Meier, Independent, Switzerland

5. Colin Harmon, 3FE (Third Floor Espresso), Ireland @dublinbarista @3FE

6. Miki Suzuki, Maruyama Coffee, Japan @maruyamacoffee

7. Fabrizio Sención Ramírez, Cafe Sublime, Mexico

8. Raul Rodas, Paradigma Coffee Roasters, Guatemala @raultigre

9. Coen van Sprang, Lebkov & Sons, The Netherlands @lebkov

10. Stefanos Domatiotis, Taf, Greece @stefanosook @tafcoffee

11. Matija Hrkac, Good Food, Croatia @kavica_org

12. Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood, Colonna and Small’s, United Kingdom@Colonna_Smalls

Frankly, I LOVE this mix.  An independent, a few producing nation baristas (including Ricardo Azofeifa from ICAFE!), the now legendary Stefano Domatiotis and the guy with the Tantrum, Colin Harmon.  What’s missing from this list?  Our own Katie Carguillo of Counter Culture Coffee:  aka, Team USA.

You can watch it LIVE by clicking here: http://worldbaristachampionship.com

Today is finished, but the Semi-Finals will begin at 11am tomorrow, Vienna time (5am CST.. -7hrs)

The Finals will be on Friday at 5:30am CST.

Fat: The SIXTH Taste

January 16, 2012 · Filed Under Coffee Industry, Tasting, TX-Coffee · 2 Comments 

Receptor for tasting fat identified in humans 

January 12, 2012
By Jim Dryden

Why do we like fatty foods so much? We can blame our taste buds.

Our tongues apparently recognize and have an affinity for fat, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. They have found that variations in a gene can make people more or less sensitive to the taste of fat.

The study is the first to identify a human receptor that can taste fat and suggests that some people may be more sensitive to the presence of fat in foods. The study is available online in the Journal of Lipid Research.

Investigators found that people with a particular variant of the CD36 gene are far more sensitive to the presence of fat than others.  …more

Scientists have agreed that the tongue can sense five distinct tastes but differed over whether our taste buds can detect fact. New research now finds that the tongue can recognize and has an affinity for fat and that variations in a gene can make people more or less sensitive to the taste of fat in foods.

 

Oh boy, if adding “umami” not long ago wasn’t enough, now we have “fat” as a non-aromatic taste.  Will this effect sensory tests like the Q Grader test?  Will this spawn new research by the GCQRI, SCAA, SCAE, CQI, etc?

There has already been some discussion about lipids in coffee, and how they are not true lipids since they are water soluble, but will this new discovery and its influenced research affect “legit” roast levels?

On the other hand, it could just be a trivial “huh.. interesting” facet of taste with the result of nothing changing within our industry.  Interesting, nevertheless.  What say you?

Four of the Top 25 Caffeinated Cities are in Texas

September 21, 2011 · Filed Under Just for fun, Texas Coffee People, TX-Coffee · Comment 

(via - Seattle Pi)

click to enlarge

Those cities are (in decending order):

  • Dallas
  • Austin
  • El Paso
  • Plano

Maybe Plano should be included in the Dallas number to bump a TX city up a few places from 12.

Keep on caffeinating, Texas.

Barista Hubris: Brewing in Arrogance

July 22, 2011 · Filed Under Article, Baristas, Coffee Industry, TX-Coffee · 1 Comment 

I am pleased to introduce Graham Sample, a new contributor to Texas Coffee People.  Graham is a barista at Palace Coffee Company in Canyon, TX, and is working to bring quality coffee to northern West Texas in an approachable manner.  In addition to coffee, he apparently loves to write.

Graham has submitted the following article :

by Brad Singley via Seattle Times

“Hi, my name is Graham and it has been 3 years since I started working in the coffee world.”
(Does that remind you of a certain meeting (hopefully not from personal experience)?)

What’s sad is that this analogy is not too far off of the mark at times. Working in the industry I have met some of the nicest, most humble, knowledgeable barista and roasters that you could imagine. You know what else? They are approachable and seem human. However, I have also met some of the most arrogant, unapproachable humans that the world has seen since the hipster movement. My question is this, why?

Why is it that when a person thinks that he, or she, knows how to pull the “perfect” shot that they suddenly become the god of the universe whose glory is too bright to be approached? Why have baristas become so addicted to the pursuit of all things sophisticated?

There are many philosophical reasons that could attempt to explain this, but I will leave that to those who are schooled in this train of thought. Where I wish to go with this is merely, we are killing the accessibility to our industry that we love.

image by 'jgrimm' via Flickr

When the mere peasant walks into a coffee shop and feels less than simply because they don’t know what the difference between a full city or an American roast is, we aren’t doing our jobs. We were all there once. That starry eyed teenager or twenty something, with a portafilter awkwardly held in one hand and a tamper in the other. There was a point in all of our lives when it didn’t matter whether or not you tapped and then tamped, or overdosed, or surfed then whirlpooled as opposed to whirlpooling then surfing the milk. There was a point when you just wanted to learn; and if you can remember back even farther than that, there was a pointed when all you wanted to do was drink. Try to think back to then.

The next time someone comes into your shop and orders a macchiato, don’t sneer because they meant a caramel macchiato. Explain with a smile. We are slowly (maybe even quickly) becoming an industry that is less and less approachable as time goes on. We don’t want that. We should always be trying to grow our experience, our knowledge and our culture. However, this shouldn’t be done at the expense of closing people out.

The Dose: Podcast #1

TheDose2



I hope you enjoy it.  We had a lot of fun making it.


It can be found on iTunes. -> Click



Podcast Coming Soon

January 21, 2010 · Filed Under Podcast, The Dose, TX-Coffee · Comment 

I’ve been wanting to put together a podcast for Texas Coffee People for a long time, but haven’t really done much about it until recently.

The podcast is called “The Dose”, and should be ready within a week or two.  You will be able to find it on iTunes as well.

I have no idea how often these podcasts will take place, but I’m hoping it will be monthly.
I’m also hoping to have the first one finished before the end of this month.  If you have some news for us, we’d like to hear about it.  Grand openings, events, promotions, sales, interesting people, interviews, and almost anything else that you could imagine taking place on a podcast: if you have any, we’d love to hear from you.

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