Beatnix Coffeehouse Closing: Waco, TX

July 24, 2008 · Filed Under Uncategorized · Comment 

As taken straight from the official Beatnix Myspace blog.

Beatnix Coffee House to Close Saturday

7/23/2008 / Waco, Texas

This Saturday, July 26th, will be the final day that Beatnix Coffee
House opens its doors to the public. A “Closing Bash” will be held,
featuring performances by local musicians.

Beatnix’s owner announced on Wednesday the closing of the coffee house
and cultural venue at 1826 Lake Shore Drive, due to poor economic
conditions and lack of capital for expansion.

Opened in 2005 by Penney Simpson, Todd Millerd, and Sandra Hapenney,
Beatnix quickly became known not only for its gourmet coffee and
sandwiches, but as a haven for poetry, art, and music. It was awarded
the Music Association of Central Texas’ Groovy Award for Non-Club Venue
of the Year in both 2007 and 2008.

Simpson said “Beatnix has been my dream, and I had so many plans for it,
ways that it could be a gathering place and creative spark for Waco’s
culture. But it had to move and grow in order to survive, and our
attempts to find investors or purchasers for the business have all
proved to be dead ends.”

Beatnix Coffee House will be open for normal business through Saturday.
On Saturday evening, it will hold a final “Closing Bash” at 6 pm, with
local musicians performing on stage for the last time.

Lack of capital for expansion? Was the business failing, or has it just been stagnant too long?

In any case, nobody ever likes to hear of a shop closing. As a coffee professional, I can’t help but be curious as to why it happens. Each case is different, and it’s often, though not always, due to failing financially. (or being marooned by the city *coughtpanthercitycough*)

What good is a Groovy Award if it can’t save your business? It must be defective!

Thanks to Badger for the tip.

Reminder: DFW Jam, TOMORROW!

July 18, 2008 · Filed Under Uncategorized · Comment 

Don’t forget!

9am tomorrow morning at the Mosaic Cafe in Carrolton hosted by AAH! Coffee, and sponsored by Pallo (www.coffeetool.com).

it’s mostly cupping centered, and it will feature coffees from various roasters in Texas.

Don’t miss the customer interaction lecture given by Aaron Heil(AAH! Coffee), and stick around for the Culture of Excellence presentation headed up by Eldon Hooley(Javataza).

Enter the friendly competition(s) if they occur.

Expect it to run for most of the day.

I will not be in attendance. Tomorrow is my birthday, and I intend to spend it leisurly with my significant other. I hope everyone has a blast!

The Third Grinder (or The Case for Single Origin and Guest Espresso)

June 29, 2008 · Filed Under Uncategorized · Comment 

My SO (not Single Origin) and I dropped into our local gem of a shop: Sugar Brown’s Coffee to grab a cup, play some cards, enjoy the live music and atmosphere, and to just have a good time.

Being past students of mine, they are always excited to tell me of news going on. There is much to tell about their journey, but this is not about their shop, so much as of their latest step forward.

They acquired a third espresso grinder.

Most shops are content with a Decaf grinder and a Non-Decaf grinder for their espresso bar. That’s all you really need, they say, and they are right. You don’t need more than that to run a successful retail store.

Let’s back up a bit, and remember why we got into this whole coffee business to begin with.

It’s About The Coffee

I can’t speak for everyone, but there are many people who started into the coffee business because they love coffee. Sure, there is profit to be made, and yes, we love our customers. But before those factors were a reality, the coffee was there, and we learned to love it.

If, as retailers, our roll is to represent the coffee in such a way as to “let it speak for itself”, and if our love for coffee included the excitement of the exploration of flavors and new taste experiences, shouldn’t we offer these experiences to our customers?

Enter the case for the Third Grinder.

Having a third espresso grinder opens up possibilities for short-run single origin espresso offerings, and room for a limited time guest espresso from one of your favorite roasters.

Keeping things like these on a regular schedule can give your regular customers something to look forward to. Just like in the blog world, regular scheduled updates does more for harboring visits than anything else. (that, and high quality content.. or high quality products, in this case)

Is it expensive? It can be. But so is your espresso machine, and so are your other two grinders. Would you say you get your money’s worth out of your decaf grinder? I bet most would answer “no” or “barely” if they were to crunch the numbers of average decaf sales matched to the purchase price of their decaf grinder when it was new. So why do it? It’s a service to your customers.

The third grinder is a service to not only your customers, but to the coffee itself, and those who grow it. It increases awareness of the diversity and journey of coffee into your customers’ cups. This increased awareness focuses demand, which, in turn, helps to promote the quality driven people in this fine industry, from baristas, to roasters, to green coffee buyers, to processing mill workers, to those who grow and harvest the coffee. The end result is a higher standard across the board.

All this from buying a third grinder? Not exactly, but it is another way to help work towards these goals.

I understand that there are folks out there who consider single origin espresso to be a non-worthwhile endeavor. While I disagree, this is a discussion for another post.

Kudos to Sugar Brown’s Coffee for another step in the right direction. Kudos to others who have done the same. And Kudos to those of you who now have plans to implement such a program into your retail plan.

Congratulations to the World Barista Champion, Stephen Morrissey of Ireland

June 22, 2008 · Filed Under Uncategorized · Comment 

He trained James Hoffmann for last year’s WBC. He trained Kyle Glanville for the USBC, which he went on to win. He won the Irish Triple Crown of the Irish Latte Art championships, the Irish Cup-Tasting championships, and the Irish Barista Championships. And now, in his first ever appearance in a World Barista Championship, he was crowned the World Barista Champion. This man is unstoppable.

It seems all eyes will be on Square Mile Coffee, the company owned and run by James Hoffman, 2007 WBC, Annette Moldvaer, 2007 World Cup-Tasting Champion, and Stephen Morrissey, 2008 WBC.

They may be in need of more trophy space.

The final order of the WBC is as follows:

1st Stephen Morrissey, Ireland 738.5 pts
2nd David Makin, Australia 733 pts
3rd Liesbeth Sleijster, Netherlands 694.5 pts
4th Daniel Remheden, Sweden 693 pts
5th Michael Yung, Canada 702 pts
6th Soren Stiller Markussen, Denmark 671 pts

Congratulations to all competitors, and congratulations to the World Barista Champion, Mr. Stephen Morrissey

World Barista Championship Live Video Stream

June 20, 2008 · Filed Under Uncategorized · Comment 

So, I’m a bit (a lot?) late on announcing this. The truth is, I didn’t remember to announce it here at all, so please forgive!

The giant success of the USBC live feed lead to this fantastic service to specialty coffee industry fans.

I do hope you’ll take full advantage of it. This has never once been available in any earlier WBC, and I hope you’ll encourage its continuation as more competitions come and go.

http://www.worldbaristachampionship.com/

Click there, or click the image at the top. Enjoy!

June 19-22

Mawker Coffee: Grapevine, TX

June 17, 2008 · Filed Under Uncategorized · Comment 

I received a very brief email mentioning this coffee company in the DFW area.

It simply said,

specialty coffee roaster, wholesale and retail, Australian to zimbabwe. roastinf for 10 yrs, fair trade, all organic, equal exchange.

Well, I guess that about sums it up!

I did find this little tidbit on their website that I found to be of interest.

We are based in Tx, and offer the finest beans to be had anywhere in the world. All of our products are Certified Organically Grown, purchased only from Fair Trade Growers, and hand selected to insure only the highest grades make it into to your cup.

Mawker Coffee
www.mawkercoffee.com
600 S. Main St.
Grapevine, TX 76051
Ph: 469-569-6718

Mawker Coffee has been added to the lists of Roasters and Retailers.

DFW Jam: Help plan it, and attend (Summer, 2008)

June 6, 2008 · Filed Under Uncategorized · Comment 

Eldon of JavaTaza suggested that we get a jam of some sort going for the DFW area.

A fine idea, I say.

It’s still in the planning stages, and there is no date set, and it seems people are hesitant to pick a date if someone else is unable to make it.

So if YOU would be interested in a DFW jam, JOIN THE DISCUSSION!

Dallas / Ft. Worth NEEDS something like this. There is a lot of coffee, but very little community. Help fix this, and push coffee forward, and raise the quality standard in the Metroplex.

The 20th Annual SCAA Conference & Exhibition

May 30, 2008 · Filed Under Uncategorized · Comment 

Who is going? The SCAA United States Barista Championship will be held at the same time.

The talent present this year is absolutely astounding. As the CI blog mentioned, there will be 3 previous national champions in the mix, as well as Chris Baca who scored an amazing 798 points in the WRBC. Absolutely stunning.

Patric Pierce, Clancy Rose, and Ashlind McAshan will be competing. (the Texas trio?)

Patric Pierce is the reigning South Central Regional Champ.
Clancy pulled a 2nd place finish in the same competition.
Ashlind was working for Starbucks when she competed in the SCRBC, and I don’t remember her final placing. She’s competed a few times out of region since then, and I expect she has improved much over the past year.

Also going on is the Roasters Guild Coffee of the Year Competition

“The Coffee of the Year is an event intended to evaluate exceptional coffees utilizing Q-Graders, SCAA Certified Cuppers and other industry cupping experts as selected by the competition’s organizers. Coffees will be ranked after the competition based on the scores provided by the participating cuppers. more…

I am sorry that I am unable to go. I’ve been asked by a lot of people, and I hate to tell them that no, we don’t be able to meet, grab a drink, shake hands, etc.. at the show. I won’t be there.

For those going, have a GREAT time! And Tell us all about it when you get back.

If you don’t, I’ll source the information elsewhere and blog it anyway.

Oh yeah, and there is a ton of live-blogging scheduled for this year’s conference.
Apparently, according to Mr. Nick Cho, we will be able to find it RIGHT HERE. (where Mark Innman’s face is)

What are your Tamper preferences?

May 21, 2008 · Filed Under Uncategorized · 2 Comments 

realize this is a subjective of a topic as any, but I’d like to see some discussion.

There used to be only one option. Flat base. Most of them were one-piece aluminum or stainless steel, and were not entirely ergonomic, but weren’t all that uncomfortable either. Rarely did they ever fit the basket like a glove.

Now days, we have several options to choose from. There are a wide variety of manufacturers of quality tampers, each with their own ideas.

There is massive range of styles of tamper handles. From skulls to giant sticks. From ergonomic form, to rubber handles. But really, the only part that has any impact on the espresso is the business end. The piston, or base.

(click for larger version)
There are plenty of opinions and ideas about why each is better or worse than the others.

The original style was the flat base. Then came the convex base, now known as “euro curve”.

Then along came the milder “american curve” to serve as a bridge between “flat” and “convex” bases.

Well, Reg Barber decided that this just wasn’t good enough, and designed what he calls the C-Flat base. The ultimate hybrid design. Curved edges, and a flat center.

I have personally done a lot of experimentation with the different tamper styles, and the results are about what one would expect if they felt they had a good intuitive understanding of espresso preparation.

There are also ideas floating around about how the tamper base should be paired with the shape of the shower screen on your espresso machine. For example, if the shower screen is flat, you should get a flat tamper. If the shower screen is curved, you should try to match that curvature with your tamper. A more aggressively curved shower screen needs a euro-curve tamper, a flat shower screen needs a flat tamper, and so on.

There are other ideas going around about how the tamper should be based on whether or not your filterbasket is tapered or straight-walled. The degree of curvature should, in theory, be determined by the degree of inward tapering found in the filterbasket. There is a theory that states that the supposed benefits of a convex tamper base are only applicable if the filterbasket has an inward taper. Unfortunately, the theory doesn’t go into many details, but I think it’s pretty self-explanatory.

I tend to prefer an American Curve base, for all filter basket applications, personally, althought I used a flat base in competition, and I tend to vary between them from time to time, just for taste or observational purposes.

But this blogger is curious. What is your preference? Whare the reasons you think your preferred base is beneficial?

Leave comments below, and let’s get this discussion rolling.

The Final Positioning: USBC 2008

May 5, 2008 · Filed Under Uncategorized · Comment 

1 = Kyle Glanville

2 = Pete Licata

3 = Heather Perry

4 = Chris Baca

5 = Nick Griffith

6 = Drew Cattlin

The scores were tight! Kyle’s performance was something to behold. He was smooth. He was suave. He was sovereign, and he used the semi-SimulSpro™ technique. Not entirely SimulSpro™, but not far off. His art was by far the best of the competition (not that art matters.. in fact, someone made a comment that latte art was soooo 2007, and I happen to think they are right, if it matters.)

In case you were unable to see the semi-finals or finals performances, they are all available to watch online at the official SCAA live blog. -> http://scaa.wordpress.com

And in case you missed the semi-finals round performance of our very own Mr. Patrick Pierce, here he is ;o)
Patrick Pierce, Semi-finals round, 2008 USBC

For those who missed the live-feed discussions, you don’t know what you were missing. It was a great time. Almost as good as being there.

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