January 2013 has been an awesome, albeit, exhausting 31 days full of coffee events. Above is "Team Gimme Scorpions" - Alex, Sarah, Gabe, and Victor at the Knockbox Classic in New York City (more on this event below). Other beginning-of-the-year highlights:
I traveled to San Francisco for the second annual Barista Nation SF January 18-20. My trip coincided with the Good Food Awards and on Saturday morning I skipped out from Barista Nation to walk around the Good Food Awards marketplace. The marketplace was packed with producers sharing their Good Food with hungry attendees. This year, Gimme! Coffee received their third Good Food Award for Finca San Luis La Gloria.
I returned to the Barista Nation event in time for lunch to eat a sandwich and listen to Katie Carguilo of Counter Culture Coffee in New York City talk about her experience at Barista Competition events followed by a discussion lead by Devorah Freudiger of Equator Coffee and Alex Littlejohn of Verve Coffee entitled "Cafe Job to Coffee Career." I then headed upstairs to be a part of Anne Nylander's discussion "Standards and Expectations." We were a small and diverse group which made for an interesting discussion because we all approach Standards and Expectations in a different way at our jobs. Many of the other table leads on the panel where trainers like me and it's interesting to hear the different ways we incorporate the SCAA standards and best practices into our company standards and policies. TNT NYC hosted their monthly Latte Art Throwdown at Everyman SoHo on January 24. Gimme! had four Baristas competing in the head-to-head throwdown: Jeffrey from Lorimer St., Victor from Mott St., and Gabe from Roebling St. It was cold outside, but inside the atmosphere was cozy and warm.
The Latte Art TNT was a great warm-up for Knockbox Classic - Empire City hosted by Matt and Anna at Joe Pro Shop on January 27. I captained a team of Gimme Lead Baristas, one from each store. We all had a ton of fun and took home the Heart gift bag for the "I like the way you grind" competition where we had to grind as much coffee as we could in six minutes using a Hario Slim hand grinder. One of our favorite Gimme fans, Leo Tam, was there to cheer us on and he took these great photos of the event.
As I look ahead at my calendar filled with more amazing coffee events to come like the NERBC on Feb. 20-22, Coffee Fest NYC in March and the SCAA Expo/USBC in April, I can't help but think back to the discussion I had back in San Francisco with Anne and the other Barista Nation attendees.
Specialty Coffee by definition is coffee that receives a score of 80 or higher on the SCAA Cupping Form as graded by a SCAA credentialed Q Grader. By that definition, it might seem that Specialty Coffee is an exclusive product, and rightly so. But the industry around this product--the companies that source and serve it, the people who make it, and the customers who drink it--is inclusive. Specialty Coffee, particularly through these community and industry events, invites people who are passionate about great coffee to come together and celebrate their shared passion with each other. How great is that?
Gabe, Sarah and Victor pondering trivia.
Victor "The Hulk" Broadley in the last leg of the milk relay.
Gabe and Victor prep for the Double Bar Bar station.
Alex identified foods commonly used as taste descriptors for coffee in the "Tastes like..." challenge.
Our signature drink had Tuaca, sweetened condensed milk, pomegranate molasses, and seltzer water with shots of Joe's Ethiopia - Camp Cooperative.