Monday, June 20, 2005

Vini Vidi Vickies

Surprise email from Chris and Jen of Victrola Coffee fame last week put the entire Bay area coffee community on its toes. No more messing around. It was time to represent.

See, Victrola has been getting a lot of attention lately, but unfortunately very little of that attention has been focused on their wonderful coffees. From previous posts to this blog, you'll know that we at the BBCC hold the Vickies in high, high regard.

We even like their resident blogger/roaster.

But this trip was specifically for the ownerfolks, and as they had never been to California (they come from New York originally) they over did it a bit.

We met them the morning after their arrival in the city. We met them at Ritual.

Eyeball, Jen and Chris
Eyeball, Jen and Chris.

After some quick drinks and photos, we brought them to the kiosk where Oldman poured them some shots.

Then the whirlwind continued. The basically hit all the Bay Area hotspots, Ecco, Barefoot, Organica, Royal, Ritual and even our cart at the Ferry Plaza on Saturday. An though we saw them only briefly the seeing was good.

Now bombard them with requests for their own account. Jen took pictures. We have proof.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Why Kevin Cuddeback Rules


James: What's it for?

Boyman: It's a blown heating element for an espresso machine!

James: I know, but why did he send it to you?

Boyman: 'Cause it's cool!

Friday, June 10, 2005

Beginnings and Endings and Beginnings Pt.3

The prophesy is true.

After over a year of broken promises and bad pizzas, Charlie finally got his place open.

The Man makes pizza

Charlie's place, also known as Pizzaiolo, hosted a fun game of "Where have you served me food?" See, Charlie has spent some time in some of the best kitchens in the Bay Area, and has subsequently made a lot of friends. These friends have been waiting, and waiting...and waiting. So when Charlie announced the opening party, they all showed up.

Pizzaiolo is located right next door to Doña Tomas, in a space that used to be a hardware store. Being in such close proximity to our roaster, we've been talking to Charlie for a long time about all the build-out details and about his use of our coffee. It seemed like every week, right about lunch time, we'd start with the "When is Charlie's gonna be open?" Que a lame joke by James.

Some time ago, we happened upon a neat machine via quad Jeff. Quad Jeff who can't wait in line. Quad Jeff who beats up on old people at Berkeley Bowl. Well Quad Jeff sold us a machine out of storage and it went to our roaster for months and just sat there, waiting for Charlie.

With a word, we installed the machine.
Sweet ol' San Marco
Check out the San Marco Submariner.

We trained a barista.
Sarah with an h.

We even made some drinks.

So we felt a little entitled to crash the party, drink the wine and flirt with Alice Waters.

Here's sweet Toponia from Fatted Calf and Cabby from the BBCC.
Sweet ladies

yep, still drinking
Cute, and drunk.

"Will make latte for beer"

The best moment of the night by far for us was when Alice herself came into the room. Charlie had just given his speech and in thanking her the whispering began. James had been all a twitter that one of the lattes we had made had been for her and just as we are all arguing looked up and well... there she was... staring at us. What were we to do? A tiny squeak of a hello, and then our whole crew dissolved into a giggling mess. Oh Alice, the things you do.

Was this latte drunk by alice waters? Did she drink it?

Really, the food is awesome and the staff is terrific. Go. Eat pizza.
Pizzaiolo staff hard at work

Congrats again Charlie. It's so great.

Beginnings and Endings and Beginnings Pt. 2

And in the Endings category...

Frog Hollow has decided to change their coffee provider. They are now proudly serving coffee roasted by McLaughlin Coffee Roasters in Emeryville, Ca. Want to read more?

Also, in Hayes Valley, the local, more traditional coffee shop Pendragon, an institution in that neighborhood for years, finally shut its doors for good. While some picked on this establishment, we found them to make really strange but good fried egg sandwiches. And when you have to be in Hayes Valley that early, where you gonna get a fried egg sandwich?

Beginnings and Endings and Beginnings Pt. 1

It's been a big project month in Hayes Valley.

See the city thought it would be great to have and installation by well-known recycled material artist/architect David Best in the new Hayes Green. The opening of the installation was supposed to coincide with several other events, as part of a wrap-up to world environment week.

So someone down a city planning got it in their head that it would be really cool to open the Green, open the Temple, Celebrate the WEW, and have a bunch of people along with mayors from around the world come together for a moment for a free breakfast! Great idea right?

Well, about the only thing that went well was the completion of the Temple. Quickly, some shots.

The "breakfast" however was a total bomb. The promised pancakes? Not there. Some of the BBCC boys wandered up the street to check the scene and although everyone was lined up, the best you could get was a nasty airline breakfast croissant and a cup of coffee from an urn from a local coffee provider. Yuck. And then, where were the mayors? Saw some people in suits but...

And since they had scrambled to finish the green anyway, none of the sod was completely down. The real disappointment though was, as one customer put it, the "southern Californians in the City Government" thought it a great idea to plant palm trees. Why palms? Are they native? Do they look good in fog? Perhaps their trying to create that shopping district appeal. Damn it, leave that stuff in the Marina.

And then as soon as the event was over, they closed the park again! Stupid PR stunt.

There are stupid palm trees though
No, there aren't any pancakes.

But on the bright side, it's going to be really cool to have the Green at the end of the alley and the Temple and the people who put it together are wonderful. Thanks guys. Do you do palm removal?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Making Soft Serve

Just now finished from last week. Lossa photos so look out...

Since San Francisco has turned into the Oklahoma Land Grab of the coffee industry in the last couple of months, (It's like you have a good idea and then everybody else just jumps on board. Really!) we here at the BBCC dedicated to do some reconnaissance on our competitions. See where we stand and stuff.

Just to keep appearances on the up and up, we enlisted the tasting powers of Ritual Tea House's Customer Relations liaison Shorty G and his sweet ladyfriend Maeday. We promised to take their picture so they really had no choice.

First stop, the BBCC secret headquarters in the Oakland district of Temescal.

Fancy Bagel

So we catch James midway though yet another delicious bagel from up the street. He makes immediate connections with our visitors over New York and all that sensitive art crap that they're into over there. Meanwhile there's coffee to be made.

Lining up
Shorty G meets our SM machine (hehe) while Maeday and T-bone look on.

Shorty G was taken by our limited space after frolicking in the massive space he now inhabits over in the city. He made a beautiful drink in one try, darn showoff.

shorty G makes us proud

After Boyman cleared his chariot of various unmentionables, he loaded the rest of crew and set off for the big big city in search of the legendary, or at least soon to be, Cafe Organica, owned and operated by bigtime CG personality Eton Tsuno.

Eton's shop is fairly sparse have only recently acquired it from the previous tenant who apparently ran some sort of liquor or beverage store as evidenced by the large, walk-in refrigerator unit in the back.

His set up is pretty dreamy. He's got several Mazzer Grinders lined up to the left of his three group Linnea. The machine is outfitted with both standard and naked portafilters, and opposed to Ritual's Munchkin playground, the bar is at a reasonable height.

So we walk in and order up a round of shots.

The first was from Taylor Maid Farms, an espresso blend they call Organic Panic.
Taylor Maid Organic Panic
The shot was dark in flavor, and touted as having twice as much caffeine. You know what that means... (Thanks to gauperaa for the stolen image, hopefully it will sell shirts)

Then we had a shot of an espresso blend that the kids down at Barefoot Coffee Roasters call Sweetness. This was a first for the BBCC. We had had a Barefoot cappa a while back but no shots.
Barefoot Sweetness
Maybe he should get a placemat that has ads for all his roasters and then he could just roll out the appropriate one so that when you're sorting photos later you don't get confused and accidentally call a shot by the incorrect name...Eton!

Next up was the Paladino from Zoka. We've talked about this espresso here before, but Eton's shot was totally different. Still a little peppery, but not like what we pulled or what we had in their shop.
Zoka Paladino

He had been shooting the Hayes Valley espresso a week or so before, but was all out. Too bad. We would have liked to have tried it on someone else's machine. And speaking of machines, someone want to donate Eton a Synesso? If anyone needed separate boiler control it's this guy. Then he could dial all three in and man it would be awesome.

Eton knew that three shots weren't enough so he whipped together a signature drink that he has spent hours and hours developing. The guys got the chops too. The drinks, served in adorable little liqueur glasses, are iced and an be downed in a single gulp.

But the BBCC is sneaky and we figured out his dirty little secret!

Dirty Eton's secret ingredient
No, dirty cups are not his dirty secret! Look look!

And of course after a couple of those, Eton and Shorty G were dancing like Khaldi's Goats.
Woohoo.  Party time.  Let us go crazy.

We said goodbye to Eton and ran down to Hayes for a quick shot and a macchiato from Oldman. Shorty G stayed in there and dropped that macc quickstyle.

And just to push the envelope, we decided to make another stopover at Ritual to abuse the staff and wait for a shot. Even though we finally ate in order to stem the espresso battle that was going on in our stomachs, we were a little worried about Shorty G... He didn't look so good.

Don't feel so good coach
"I don't feel so good coach."

Until next time!