Monday, August 23, 2010

I know this isn't related, but...

Enrique Flores is a truly unique man, with a great deal of compassion, wisdom, and courage. I served him a cappuccino 2 1/2 years ago. We have been friends ever since. I don't know how much longer this will be on his Facebook page (or how much longer the Facebook page will be in existence), so I'm posting it here so that others can read it and hopefully take something from it. I am deeply moved by the emotion behind this decision, as well as the logic. Enrique is a man who values community and relationships above all else, and I wish him luck in his endeavor to create and sustain meaning. This starts something great.

Friends, this is to let you know that I will be closing my Facebook account in a few days. It has been fun, I've really enjoyed catching up with old friends and making new ones here, and it's been an entertaining playground to dish out my special brand of sarcasm to my victims - if I ever insulted you on here, it's because I like you, kinda like grade school.

In the past couple of months I have come to realize there really is something called Destiny, and once you begin to see and align with yours, to do what you really came here to do, it's a feeling unlike any other. Failure is impossible. Situations and people align and come together to help you, resources appear in astonishing ways. Every moment is heavy with meaning.But it's not all roses, because also tectonic shifts begin tearing at structures and relationships I've had for decades. The fire that is welling up within me is loaded with Emotion, and things that before I would just overlook in the name of keeping the peace are no longer possible for me to ignore. If something is draining energy from me, I have to act to remove it from my life, because I need every single spark that I can get. So what to you might appear to be an illogical overly emotional response to something, is actually, to me, extremely important and worthy of true emotion. If it's not worth getting worked up about, then it's not worth having in your life. Too many times we go on doing things and having people in our life just because it's always been that way, but if the person or thing is ultimately not helping you reach your full potential, or is actively impeding it, consciously or not, then this is a negative thing, and you are not doing yourself or the other person any favors by continuing the relationship. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.

The people closest to me that I love the most have already started to notice this, some of you have even been burned, and all I can ask is, if you think I am worth it, please try to believe in me, I need you. But if you feel that my friendship is an inconvenience, or something is obviously important to me and you would prefer I just 'let it go' to keep things smooth, that will no longer be possible. I am willing to spend as much time with you as you need to understand where I'm coming from, but if you're too busy to hear me out, keep looking at your iPhone, or you feel bored with the whole thing and would prefer to sweep it under the rug, it's probably best that we go our separate ways, because I am no longer interested in sweeping things under the rug.

With Facebook, email, and iPhone it's impossible to have relationships, everything is a single comment, or text message, move on to the next thing, significant connection forgotten because now somebody uploaded a Youtube.. and since there is no body language, it's very difficult talking about something real without somebody's feelings getting hurt. So my relationships will now all take place in this crazy, mystical thing called Real Life.

I am incurring significant personal inconvenience by forgoing these electronic tools in order to give you my full attention should I have a conversation with you, but I feel it only fair to expect the same from you for the few minutes we share. I guess that sounds a little psycho, but I just don't have time for half-assed relationships anymore. And no, I am not going to be talking about 'deep' things or whatever, the same things that were funny to me before are funny now, in fact I think I'm laughing more often now, but if you and me are sitting at a table and both looking at our iPhones, that sounds like we both need to get up from the table and go do what we really want to do.

I have found the Work I came here to do, and it will demand my absolute highest level of craftsmanship and attention to make it a reality. I have realized it takes about 4 hours of sustained thought to make any incremental progress, a single interruption can roll back hours of work, and my current lifestyle makes that absolutely impossible. So I'm ditching my job of 7 years, along with pretty much my entire online 'persona'.

Despite all appearances, I am not moving to a monastery in Tibet, I will be right here in Austin Texas and if you would like to have a coffee with me, I will be holding court with my lovely wife as usual most every morning at Caffe Medici, probably the one thing in my life that will not change. Also I am open to happy hour events, Team Malverde I'm looking at you. But you'll have to send a messenger pigeon I think.

If you know me, you know how to find me.

It's going to be an interesting ride, see you on the flip side.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Here's the Skinny

First, an update on the upcoming SNS. It will be held on April 10, not April 3.

The 2010 USBC will be held in Anaheim, California, from April 15-18 in conjunction with the 2010 SCAA Exposition. Since five of our most active participants in the SNS will be heading out to represent our region, I thought it would be a fun idea to hold a mock competition, with constructive feedback from other competitors and guest judges.

What is the USBC you ask? Sixty competitors from the United States will vie for the title of United States Barista Champion by making four espressos, four cappuccinos, and four signature drinks for Four Sensory Judges, Two Technical Judges, and One Head Judge in fifteen minutes. Everything the baristas do in those fifteen minutes is scored on a scale of 870 points, including the taste of their drinks, visual appearance of their drinks, overall impression, cleanliness, dedication and passion, consistent dosing and tamping, milk waste, right down to the apron they are wearing.

Lorenzo Perkins, Aaron Blanco, Tyler Wells, Clancy Rose, Jon Meadows, and Isaiah Sheesh will be representing the South Central Region in a couple of weeks, and as such we'd like to give them the opportunity to run through their entire routine. This is a great opportunity for our competitors to hone their skills, while giving everyone the chance to see what barista competitions are all about. Come on down to Caffe Medici on Guadalupe on April 10 at 5 pm to see your barista competitors in action. And as usual, a $10 buy in, winner take all latte art throwdown will round out the evening.

Tell your friends, tell your mom, tell your mom's friends. This is gonna be awesome.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Going to SA-Town

All right boys and girls, the next Saturday Night Smackdown is approaching rapidly. And we're going south to San Antonio. That's right, SA-Town. Believe it or not, there is some cool stuff happening in Alamo City, from Brown Coffee Co to Wildfire Roasters. And we've all been invited to the party.

Robbie Grubbs, owner of Local Coffee, is hosting March's event at his coffee shop off of Stone Oak Parkway. The event will start at 5:30pm on March 6th with some live music and dancing (if you're into that sorta thing). Then we'll start off a lively discussion about the current ideas and practices behind Espresso Theory and the coup de grace will be the head2head latte art throwdown.

We will be bringing back the Wheel of Destiny, because, well, it was just a lot of fun. So be ready to pour anything and everything, from maccs to 16 oz to-go lattes. As usual, $10 buy in with winner take all rules still in effect. We are trying to scrounge up some prizes for 2nd and 3rd, but I make no promises, except that it will be awesome.

Hope to see y'all there.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Winds of Change They Are A Blowin'

Welcome back fellow coffee enthusiasts. It's been a fun hiatus, but it's time to return to the nitty gritty of monthly Smackdowns. And we've got some fun things in store for you.

First, the format of the Smackdown will be undergoing a bit of a change. Instead of the one pour-three judges, winner is picked format SNS will now be done in a more fast paced and thrilling head to head style pour offs. Enter the Single Elimination Bracket System, a tournament style latte art throwdown wherein two baristas pour head to head and one winner is chosen to move to the next bracket unitl we reach the last top two baristas to see who walks away with the top honors.

Secondly, the dates of the Smackdown will now be the FIRST Saturday of the month instead of the last of the month. This is for purely selfish reasons. At Medici, we will be doing a fun event called Medici Notte on the last weekend of every month. So moving the SNS to the first weekend allows me to have my cake and eat it too. And then tell everyone how delicious my cake was. Also, the Smackdown will run into less holiday time at the beginning rather than the end of the month.

Now for the meat of the post . . .

The next SNS is scheduled for February 6th at Frank in downtown Austin. Tyler Wells, the head barista and 3rd place SCRBC finalist, is pretty stoked to have the event coming to his neck of the woods. The first bit of the SNS will focus on Manual Brewing Techniques, specifically, controlling the amount and rate of extraction through dose, temperature, and contact time. We'll have Chemexes, Hario pour overs, and the ever impressive 5 cup Yama Syphon.

The latte art portion will be design of your choice, poured into one of these bad boys. Aw yeah!

A little lecture, a little hands on brewing, and some sweet latte art in Austin's only hot dog/bar/coffee shop. It's gonna be rad.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Smackdown for January

Welcome to the new year! It's been a fun one so far, and it looks like it's only getting better.

Originally, we were planning to hold the first Smackdown of the year in San Antonio, but the owner of Local Coffee, Robbie, will be in El Salvador at that time. So instead, we're keeping it in Austin. Haven't quite settled on which shop will host, yet, but it will probably be Medici on the Drag.

I'll post a bit more this weekend once we have some details hammered out, just wanted to keep ya'll updated.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Just got this . . .

Here is the official SCRBC schedule of events.

HELD AT: Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol
701 E. 11th Street Austin TX 78701
(AS OF 12/22/09‐ Subject to Change based on Number of competitors)

Thursday, January 7, 2010:

SCRBC Judge’s Certification Workshop
Held @ Sheraton Austin Hotel
9:00 am – 6:00 pm

BGA Competitor Meet & GreetHeld
@ FRANK 407 Colorado Street, Austin, TX 78701
Competitors, Judges, BGA Members and spectators alike are invited
to attend for further coffee fellowship and displays of amazing
Barista skill! Food and drink provided!
7:00 pm – 9:30 pm

Friday, January 8, 2010:

Competitor’s Meeting – Mandatory to attend one 9:00 am – 9:30 am
Competitors Practice Session 9:30 am – 11:30 am
Volunteer Meeting & Judges Calibration Meeting 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

SCRBC: Round One ‐ Day One (Competitors 1‐15) 12:00 pm –5:00 pm

SCRBC Reception @ Cuvee Coffee Roasters
22601 State Hwy 71 W, Spicewood, TX 78669
7:00 pm ‐ ‐?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Competitor’s Meeting – Mandatory to attend one 9:00 am – 9:30 am
Competitors Practice Session 9:30 am – 11:30 am
Volunteer Meeting & Judges Calibration Meeting 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

SCRBC: Round One ‐ Day Two (Competitors 15‐30) 12:00 pm –5:00 pm

Announce Finalists 5:00 pm –5:30 pm
Competitors Review Score Sheets with Judges 5:30 pm –6:30 pm

SCRBC Party hosted by Caffe Medici!
Caffe MediciGuadalupe
2222B Guadalupe Street, Austin, TX 78705
7:00 pm ‐?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Finalist’s Practice Session 8:00 am – 10:00 am
Volunteer Meeting & Judges Calibration Meeting 9:30 am – 10:30 am

SCRBC: Finals (Finalists 1‐6) 10:30 am –1:00 pm

Awards Ceremony 1:30 pm –2:00 pm
Competitors Review Score Sheets With Judges 2:00 pm –3:00 pm

Monday, January 4, 2010


The South Central Regional Barista Championship is only a few days away now. I hope to see lots of you folks out there show up, competing or supporting. You still have time to register at the above link if you are interested in competing. I highly recommend that you do. It has made me a much better barista, as well as providing a forum for meeting other like minded coffee professionals.

There is always a need for volunteers at these events, be it judging, running, time keeping, etc. If you are interested in volunteering, contact Mike McKim of Cuvee Coffee at 512-264-1479, or click here to contact the SCAA directly.

This is the biggest event of the year for our region, and it's going to rock! There is a meet and greet at Frank on 4th and Colorado Thursday January 7th.

I'll be posting more info as it becomes available.