Full Steam Ahead (yep, they get worse!).

It’s been a nicely productive week for me coffee-wise.

Firstly, for anyone that’s not yet aware, the 2009 heat dates are out!! 28th January for South Wales and The West Midlands, which will be held in Cardiff, which is fantastic news for those of us who live here! I’m still verifying the venue…

Attended the Bristol BaristaJam at The Tobacco Factory last Wednesday, which was great – very informative, and as much as anything a nice opportunity to meet up with some other coffee enthusiasts (let’s face it, we’re pretty few and far between!). I arrived just in time (must get SatNav!) to see Hugo start the day with a re-run of his excellent WBC performance, with plenty of additional hints and tips – Thanks Hugo! John Sherwood and Co gave a talk about coffee-in-origin, and later in the day conducted a cupping session including some rather nice robusta of his! Paul Meikle-Janney of Coffeecommunity and Edmund Buston gave some informative talks on milk and espresso respectively, and at the end of the day we had a run through of some of this year’s rule changes. Nice to meet Helen and catch up with Matt, etc, from BTB, as well as meeting some other baristi and local cafe owners. Oh – and a really useful try-out of the San Remo machines too!

After using the SR’s steam wands I realised I had no choice but to get some smaller Motta pitchers – a costly mistake! My new .75’s have now arrived, and in order to try to compensate my pocket the 1ltr jugs are currently on Ebay – one bid’s in already, so hopefully I’ll get some of my money back at least! The new ones look SO much better – can’t wait to try them out tomorrow!

Had a lovely tasting/blending session today with Peter at JGC, who has kindly offered to provide me with some of his delicious coffees for my espresso blend. Said Hi! to the team, and had a quick look round the roastery, which was really interesting as I’ve never been to one before, and it was great to begin with such a good one! Personally, I’m entering the competitions for the love of the cuisine, and to learn more about it, rather than to try to beat the competition as such, and so I tend to be quite open about what I’m planning, but I’m afraid all the secrecy which seems to be the norm regarding championship blends and signature drinks is starting to become infectious, and so I won’t mention exactly what beans we tried, suffice to say there were plenty of “Wow!“s. Peter’s got some amazing coffees which really shone despite many of my shots being wildly out due to having to constantly re-dial-in the grinder for different coffees and temps (yes, there is always a good excuse!). Peter and Co have a genuine passion for great coffee – if you’ve not tried JGC yet, you must! …Or better yet, take a look at the new trade site!

Hopefully, nearer the the competitions, my blend will be making appearances at the plan!

Oh, and how can I forget – the most important developments this week are, of course, the acquisition of all my table linen, and my porringer (I think, above all else, I resent having spend my spare cash on table linen)!


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