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October 2018

Learn The Coffee Competition Ropes From Counter Culture

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Have you ever thought about joining the ranks of the competition barista but weren’t sure if it was for you? How do I pick a coffee? What should my theme be? How much time and money will it cost to compete? Am I even going to enjoy it? If this is you, Counter Culture is here to help. Tomorrow, November 1st at 1:00pm PST (4:00pm EST), all Counter Culture training centers in the United States will host Pro Tips: A Guide To Barista Competition and Brewers Cup.

Taking place in 12 cities across the country—Asheville, Atlanta, the Bay Area, Boston, Charleston, Chicago, Dallas (happening at The Common Desk in Deep Ellum), Durham, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, and Washington DC—each Pro Tips event will feature ”local experts giving us the rundown on current competition structure, scoresheets, and the tips they’ve picked up over the years,” per the Facebook event page.

Participants will then be able to submit questions to “former champions and current judges from both competitions” who will answer them over a livestreamed Q&A.

Pro Tips: A Guide To Barista Competition and Brewers Cup is free to attend for all interested parties. To find the Counter Culture training center nearest you, visit their official website. For more information on the event, check out the Facebook event page here.

Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

Disclosure: Counter Culture is an advertising partner with the Sprudge Media Network.

The post Learn The Coffee Competition Ropes From Counter Culture appeared first on Sprudge.

Source: Coffee News

The Panel

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Micah plopped down on the hotel bed and sighed. After what seemed like days of flight delays and middle seats, she was relieved to finally be at her destination: the city of Boston.

She was there to lead a diversity panel, hosted by a new coffee conference and targeted toward North American mid-level coffee professionals. Marketing teams, regional managers, trainers, HR crews, and other corporate coffee staff—they were to be her audience at the event.

Earlier in her career, she’d made a habit out of sitting on such panels, although these days she considered herself mostly retired from such work, and happily focused on being a successful coffee trader. But the conference offered luxury accommodations and a hearty honorarium for her time. It was just enough to get her back in the game.

There in the hotel room, a card lay folded on the nightstand with “Micah Brown” handwritten across it. She flipped it open to read it.

Micah —

We’re honored to have you with us. We’re looking forward to hearing you drive an important conversation and offer your invaluable perspective. We can not wait to learn about what we can do to be better to all.

– The Boston Coffee Alliance

Micah tossed the note to the side before dozing off to sleep, the nervousness of leading yet another diversity panel fading away. They’re pretty much all the same, she thought. How bad could it be? 

***

The next morning, Micah arrived at the conference hall inside the hotel building ready with a KeepCup of washed Guat in hand. The lobby was empty and almost silent except for the sound of a muffled feminine voice coming from the other side of the closed hall doors. A lone woman sat alert behind a desk and smiled. Micah approached.

“Hi, I’m speaking on th-“

“Diversity panel, right?” The woman finished Micah’s sentence. “You look like someone who talks a lot about that.” She didn’t break her smile or stare.

“Yup, that’s me…” Micah managed to say, tamping down her true feelings.

“We’re just about to start! Here’s your badge, and the panel’s that way.” The woman motioned towards a door to the side of the conference hall. Micah followed, sipping her coffee as she walked down a long corridor leading to a dimly lit backstage area. A stagehand with a headset appeared and quietly signaled her to wait behind a curtain.

She could hear amplified voices from the stage, and then the sounds of a thunderstorm and people trekking through a forest filled the auditorium—a video presentation to the audience, trying to market sustainability. Micah couldn’t believe it—the presentation was indeed already starting—and as she looked around the empty backstage area in confusion, a creeping thought dawned on her. She whispered to the stagehand, “Aren’t there other people supposed to be here on this panel with me?”

They ignored her, listening intently to something in their headset. The lights brightened on the other side of the curtain and the amplified voice, now clearer, introduced Micah to the audience.

“All the way here from Oakland, California to lead our diversity panel in an important discussion, Micah Brown!”

The stage hand created an opening in the curtain for Micah to appear through, and motioned for her to move towards it. She straightened up, clutched her coffee, and confidently walked into the applause and bright lights and on stage. It took a second for her eyes to adjust but when they did, she saw it.

One single chair at center stage.

She hesitated and looked out into the crowd, blinded by lights. The applause continued, almost hypnotic, drawing her cautiously towards the waiting seat.

“Micah, we are very pleased to have you,” the speaker’s voice echoed loudly. Silence fell over the room as Micah sat and looked around for the voice’s source. Micah picked up the microphone in the middle of the seat before sitting in it. Her sweaty palms were making it difficult to grip her coffee cup.

“I-I’m happy to be here,” Micah managed to respond with a crack in her voice. What the hell is going on here? Where’s the panel?  And then the room changed, and the lights dimmed, as five small lamps illuminated one by one at a table just in front of the audience, at the base of the stage. Micah could just barely make out five suited figures seated under each lamp. A shiny gold plaque read, The Diversity Panel.

***

Alarm bells were ringing. Her fight or flight instincts fully engaged, Micah felt transported out of her body, looking down at herself in the very moment she was captured within. A pair of manicured hands emerged into the light of the lamp in the middle and straightened a waiting microphone. “Welcome to the Diversity Panel! We have so many questions for you. Your expertise will be integral in helping us be better to all.” The woman repeated the line Micah read from the card in her hotel room, but it sounded so much more sinister. “Who would like to begin?”

Four male voices spoke up in unison, their hands speaking for them but faces still shadowed behind the light. Micah glanced back and forth across the table trying to see the faces of those speaking firmly at her. Their gestures made it hard to focus. Intense waves of heat—righteous anger, betrayal, mortification—waved up and down her nervous system.

“Gentleman, gentleman, one at a time!” A voice cried out.

“Hi, I’m a regional hiring manager for Big Basket Coffee Roasters,” a deep voice rang from the far end of the table. He rubbed his hands slowly as he spoke. “We’ve done everything in our power to bring more diversity into our company. Everything. We post photos of baristas from different backgrounds on social media. We’ve made championing inclusivity a part of our mission statement. But we’re still not getting enough people of color to apply for jobs. We do our best but I just don’t understand why they’re not coming!”

The blinding heat from the stage lights made Micah sweat. Without seeing who was in front of her, it was hard to focus on answering the question.

“Well, it would be helpful to start with-”

“I just don’t think those people care about coffee like we do,” another male voice jumped in and interrupted. “I mean, you’re doing your best! We’re all doing our best!” The table murmured affirmations in agreement.

Those people? Did I really just hear a “those people” live on stage at a diversity panel? The moment hung like a choke pear—should she walk out? Should she fight back? The panel felt no such shame or hesitation—they went on rabbling, impatiently talking amongst themselves, demanding an answer from their chosen sacrifice.

“Well…” Micah started, choosing her words carefully. “You can’t sit and wait for people to come to you without doing the work. You have to put in effort and take these opportunities to them.”

No acknowledgment of having heard her message was made, and the next speaker dove right in. It was like a firing squad.

“Ms. Micah, at our company—it’s called Ivy Field, have you heard of it?—all of our floor and kitchen staff are super diverse.” A pair of hands to the right of the woman gave a thumbs up. “Micah, wouldn’t you say we’re doing a good job?”

Silence fell over the auditorium and Micah could feel her heart pounding in her chest. Were these people serious? They were deadly serious, and waiting for an answer, so she decided to give it to them.

“But how many of those people do you have in leadership positions? Have you opened up any pathways for them to grow and move up within the company?” The room grew more tense. The lights were getting hotter.

The voice of an old man to the left of the woman raised his hand to speak. “We had a Black general manager at our shop but… they just didn’t fit in with the culture. They would kick out customers they felt were ‘ignorant and disrespectful’ (he gestured air quotes) and we just couldn’t have that. Our customers come first. So, we let them go.”

Micah’s hand tightened around the microphone. She raised it to speak but was cut off again by the woman in the middle.

“What we really want to know, Micah, is what do we do?”

The panel mumbled “mhmm” in unison and waited for an answer.

“What more do you expect us to do?” The man on the far right repeated.

“We’re doing all we can at Big Basket. What should we do now?”

“Ivy Field is a good example of diversity, is it not?”

“What do we DO, Micah?”

“Please tell us.”

The voices of the panel started to ring louder and louder. Micah’s breathing increased and sweat dripped down her face. She tried to cry out, to respond, to quiet the madness and engage in genuine discourse, but her microphone had long since been turned off.

WHAT DO WE DO?” The panel yelled in unison. The ghost-like audience behind them chimed in with them. “WHAT DO WE DO? HOW DO WE DO BETTER FOR ALL?”

The auditorium lights came up just bright enough to show a sea of blank white faces staring wide-eyed at Micah on the stage. Hundreds of them, no thousands of them, filling an impossibly vast conference room, no amphitheater, no coliseum, no…it was a stadium, a vast 100,000 person oval, a triple-decker packed to the very last seat.

“WHAT DO WE DO? WHAT DO WE DO?”

The panel remained shadowed behind the lamps but their chants boomed over everyone else’s. Micah dropped the microphone and her coffee, running off the stage behind the curtain. Backstage was completely dark and the pathway to the conference hall lobby was nowhere to be found. Micah rushed around with her arms stretched out, trying to feel for a doorway out.

“WHAT DO WE DO?”

The voices seemed closer than before. Micah’s hand trembled onto a doorknob but it was locked. She turned around and saw the five shadows of the diversity panel behind her, with hundreds more bodies behind them, a mob of voices and gnarled bodies piling on top of each other.

“TELL US, MICAH. WHAT DO WE DO?”

She slid down the side of the door and covered her head. The chanting rang loudly in her ears. The mob was closer now. She couldn’t breathe. No one could breathe. There was nothing left to breathe, nothing left to say, only the sound of the riot now and the deafening sound of bones crunching, spines snapping, skulls imploding as the bodies piled atop each other, killing themselves to get to her.

***

MICAH! MICAH!”

“Micah? Are you okay?” Micah jolted awake from her seat on the plane. She ripped off the headphones on her head and looked to see her colleague, Ezra, staring at her in bewilderment.

“You doing alright?” Ezra looked at her worried. They were mid-flight seated in business class and a flight attendant’s voice signaled for everyone to prepare for landing.

“It was… a dream?”

Micah breathed in one last bewildered gasp, then breathed out a deep, soul-cleansing sigh of relief.

“Must’ve been some dream,” Ezra said. “Are you stressed out about your green buyer talk?” Micah remembered they were heading to an auction to buy and trade coffees in Guatemala. She was the keynote speaker for her contributions to this sector of the industry.

“Yeah, I guess I am. Must be a flashback from my old diversity days.” Micah sat back in her seat and relaxed. She looked out the window just in time for the volcanoes surrounding Antigua to come into view.

“Ma’am, would you mind putting your seat in the upright position for landing?”

The voice of a woman sent a cold brew chill down Micah’s spine. She turned to the flight attendant at the edge of her row, intensely staring and smiling at her. The woman from the conference hall lobby in my dream, she thought. She placed her seat upright and watched the attendant walk away. A folded up note fell onto the ground by her feet. She slowly picked it up and read it.

How do we do better for all?”

Michelle Johnson is a news contributor at Sprudge Media Network, and the founder and publisher of The Chocolate BaristaRead more Michelle Johnson on Sprudge.

The post The Panel appeared first on Sprudge.

Source: Coffee News

The Man Who Spoon Too Much

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Sssssssszzzweeep…

“…lime blossom…”

Thit thit thit…

“…honeydew rind…”

Fffffffffffhhhhiiiit…

“…ruby red grapefruit…”

Vvip…

“More of a pomelo actually.”

“Yes, but pithier. It’s got pith. Very pithy.”

“Like a bruleed pith though.”

“Definitely bruleed.”

“What do you taste, Alex?”

“Fuck,” Alex thought to himself. He hated this part of the day. It’s not that he didn’t like cupping. On the contrary, it was his favorite part of working in the coffee industry, and he was actually pretty good at it. Under normal circumstances. But not around these assholes and their free-association tasting notes. What does a lime blossom even taste like anyway?

Around them, he would freeze up. Maybe it was that Alex never felt like he was part of the group. They didn’t think he was “in” coffee, not like them. He just put coffee in bags to be sent out for “real” coffee professionals to use. He was only invited to the daily cupping as a sort of constant against which everyone else could gauge how developed their palates had become. Or at least that’s how Alex read the situation, and perhaps subconsciously, that’s the box he pinned himself into. For all the varieties of apple or specific herbaceous notes he could confidently find during a more casual cupping setting, here his tongue may as well have been coated in wax.

“Uhhhh… stone fruit?” Alex said.

“I don’t know, I’m not really tasting the tartaric acid. Citric definitely, but I can’t find the tartaric.”

“I could see it getting more malic as it cools. Maybe that’s what you’re getting.”

“Yeah, that must be it,” Alex resigned, coalescing meekly yet again to the free-range, avocado blossom hive mind.

And just like every other day, Alex would finish out the cupping in silence while the others continued their three-dimensional chess flavor profiles. And as always, no one would ask his opinion again for the rest of the day.

After these daily traumas, Alex couldn’t wait to get back to bagging. Yes, the job was mindlessly repetitive, but he loved being part of coffee, if only in a not-flavor-dependent way. Sure, he’d rather be a barista champion or a green coffee buyer, but at least bagging got him in the door to the coffee world. Plus, it gave him a chance to actually think about the coffees he had just cupped, though that usually entailed reliving his newest hell. “Stone fruit? You didn’t taste stone fruit,” Alex said to himself.

Ba-ding

A new order had just come in. A single 12-ounce bag for someone named Endora Derwood of the very coffee Alex was just cupping. I didn’t know it was on the offer sheet already, he thought. Maybe it’s some sort of friends and family preview; the name doesn’t ring any bells, though. The address was on his way home and everyone had left for the night—another couple hours lost in thought—so Alex figured he would just drop off the delivery on his way home. Nothing wrong with getting a few brownie points for exceptional customer service. He filled a bag and headed out the door toward the home of Ms. Derwood.

***

As Alex’s beat up Suburu pulls up to the non-descript Derwood home, he can’t help but wonder why he’s never seen it before; though he’s made this same drive twice a day for the past two years, he’s never seen this house before in his life. “But what WOULD I notice before I’ve had my morning coffee, right?” he said out loud to himself. His dad would love that joke.

DING-dong

“Coffee delivery for Ms. Endora Derwood,” Alex said to no one in particular. It wasn’t until now he realized how bizarre it was to make a delivery at this hour and felt compelled to announce his intentions to the universe.

The door opens to reveal a woman, presumably Endora Derwood, greeting Alex with a smile.

“Ms. Derwood? You just ordered some coffee and I thought I would bring it by. It was on my way home.” Alex was now completely aware of how odd this situation might seem.

“Now that’s customer service. Kudos to you!” she said. Alex felt relieved. He was unable to pinpoint her age; She was dressed in flowy, hippy garb, but Alex couldn’t tell if it was some sort of Coachella-boho-chic thing or if Ms. Derwood hadn’t changed clothes since she was at Woodstock.

“So what does this coffee taste like?” she asked.

“Ummm… bruleed pomelo pith?” he said meekly.

“Now just what in the hell does that mean?” She may have looked like a hippy, but Ms. Derwood was a straight shooter.

“To be honest, Ms. Derwood, I have no idea. That’s just what everyone said at the cupping table today and they seemed pretty confident.”

“Well, what did you taste? You were there too, right? And please, call me Endora.”

“I… I don’t know. I kinda froze up.”

“That just won’t do. I think I have something that will help you. Would you like to try?”

It was getting late, but “what the hell?” Alex thought. This was the sort of low-pressure situation where maybe he could actually pick out the flavors.

“That sounds great Ms. Der… Endora.”

“Oh wonderful. Come have a seat and I’ll brew some up right away.”

Her setup was nice: decent enough home grinder, cupping bowls, actual cupping spoons.

“Here,” she said. “Use this one, it’s very special.” It was unlike any cupping spoon he has seen before, shimmery and variegated, but not multi-colored; more like every color at once. In the concavity of the spoon, two squares offset to make an eight-pointed star.

“I can’t use your spoon,” Alex said. “It’s too nice.”

“Don’t you mind that. I have others.”

Alex agreed—it was pretty cool looking after all—and dipped the spoon into the slurry (now reaching the ideal tasting temperature).

“Tangerine. Shit. It’s tangerine!” Alex exclaimed. Not toasted, not the rind, not poached in 25-year-old brandy, simply the juicy part of the fruit that normal-talking humans associate with the word “tangerine.”

“Why yes, I believe you’re right, Alex. Try again. What else do you taste?”

Zzzzzheeet…

“…lavender, caramel, and just a touch of grassiness.” With each sip, the flavors came more into focus. Probably shouldn’t have told the customer the coffee was grassy, though.

“Right again. You’ve got quite the palate.”

“If only that were true when we cupped at work.”

“Well, why don’t you take that spoon with you? Just promise you’ll bring it back tomorrow.”

He hesitated. “I couldn’t do that, it’s too nice. Thank you though.”

“I insist. It’s no trouble at all.”

Alex thought for a second. It’s just a spoon, right? But maybe it would bring him good luck. The flavors DID seem so clear when he was using it.

“If you really don’t mind, then I guess I could take it for luck.”

“Just remember, you must bring it back tomorrow.”

“I promise. Thanks Ms. Derwood!” Alex said as he turned and headed for the door.

“It’s my pleasure,” Enodra said, a Cheshire grin beginning to peak out of the corner of her mouth.

***

The next day, Alex couldn’t wait to get to the cupping table, lucky charm in hand. He practically floated into the room.

“We’re going to do something a little different today,” Alex’s boss said. “We’ve set up a triangulation cupping for you all. The winner will represent us at the US Cup Tasters Championship this year.”

The room grew excited, except for Alex. The old “it’s tangerine, you dum-dums” trick isn’t gonna work now. Back to being the bag packing punching bag.

Nonetheless, Alex decided to participate. Who knows, maybe he’d get lucky. As the rest of the team is hrrrmmm’ing and oooo’ing their way through the row of triplet cups, jotting down their answers as they go, Alex, the last person to go, begins with the first set.

Zzzzzheeet… zzzzzheeet…

Zzzzzheeet…

“I think there’s been a mistake,” Alex stated. “These coffees taste nothing alike.”

“There’s no mistake. Just pick out the one that’s different,” Alex’s boss said.

“Don’t worry, it gets a lot harder,” his coworker stated, certain as they all were that Alex had no idea what he was talking about.

Himself uncertain about the obvious differences, Alex jots down his answer and moves to the next set of bowls.

Zzzzzheeet… zzzzzheeet… zzzzzheeet…

Ok, these are definitely different, Alex thought to himself. Don’t say anything. Just write it down and move on.

With each passing cup, the flavors became clearer and clearer. Each sip evoked a unique image in his mind, in full color, that he could rotate in three-dimensional space. It’s like he could jump into that scene himself and poke around to find what was out of place. Alex blew through sets three, four, and five. He began skipping past his coworkers in the line, so enamored with the contrasts of flavor country that he didn’t even realize they were there.

“Done!” Alex stated.

“You sure you don’t want to give it another pass?” his boss asked.

“Nope, I’m pretty sure these are right.”

“Let’s just check and see.” Alex’s boss takes his score sheet, scribbling little marks as he scrolls down the page. His brows furrow slightly. “It appears that Alex has set the bar pretty high. He didn’t miss a single one.”

As the rest of the group continued to work through the sets and turn in their answers, Alex beamed. You could have turned off the power and illuminated the whole room with his smile alone.

Second place missed three.

“Well, Alex, looks like you’re going to Cup Tasters,” his boss said.

Alex couldn’t believe it. He finally bested his coworkers/secret enemies and it was all thanks to the spoon.

Oh no, the spoon. He is supposed to give it back to Ms. Derwood tonight. If I get last place at Cup Tasters, it’ll be worse than if I never went at all… Maybe I’ll just hold onto it until Ms. Derwood messages us about it. She knows how to reach me. What could possibly be the harm?

The spoon, so beautiful, so unlike any other spoon, seemed to almost vibrate.

***

Ms. Derwood never did get in touch about it. Month and months went by as Alex prepared for Cup Tasters with his secret weapon, without a single message from the hippy-dippy woman in the secret house on his route home. In that entire time, Alex never missed a cup. He picked them out faster. Nothing his coworkers threw at him—not a single errant bean, not a half a degree difference in water temperature, nothing—could fool him. The images these coffees painted in his head were just too crisp. Winning almost felt perfunctory at this point.

And it was. At the national competition, Alex steamrolled the first round with a perfect 8 for 8 in just under two minutes. In the semis, he went perfect again but in just over five minutes, thanks to a cheeky “coffee break” in which the newly-confident Alex picked up one of the cupping bowls and began sipping from it as he took a casual stroll around the stage. He almost got DQ’ed for his little stunt but he was so far away above the rest of the competition, they let him off with a warning.

Then came the finals. His pièce de résistance. So as to not run afoul of the rules that he now felt a great deal of contempt towards, Alex didn’t touch a single cup, not for tasting purposes at least. Using aroma alone, he correctly identified all eight outliers, and did so in just under a minute. The packed house roared.

Alex became an overnight sensation in the coffee world. Did this kid really just win the US Cup Tasters without a single sip?! The audacity! The nerve! The sheer badassery! Yesterday, Alex was a nobody, but today, he’s the most famous person in the coffee world. Local media ate him up—he even made a national mainstream newspaper’s weekend magazine cover. “Coffee’s bad boy” they called him, with cover photos of him flipping over cupping tables or spitting coffee directly at the camera, with his special spoon—his secret weapon, his actor’s secret—always hiding in plain sight.

Alex fell comfortably into the roll of the bad boy—”John McEnspro,” someone quipped on Twitter, and in truth, he loved it. He began saying things like, “tasting isn’t something you can learn. It’s either in you or it isn’t,” and “coffee probably isn’t for everyone, maybe you should give wine a shot.” He was snotty, he was ambitious, he was brash—the rock star competition barista of yesteryear, born anew with dizzying success.

In the weeks leading up to the World Cup Tasters, Alex didn’t so much “practice” as he did put on coffee tasting exhibitions. Not a day went by where a stranger didn’t recognize him and ask Alex to taste whatever coffee they were drinking. They started inviting in members of the local community: cafe regulars, reporters, the local high school varsity football squad (including the coaches and cheerleaders).

Zzzzzheeeeeeet…

“Rose hips, pomegranate, 72% dark chocolate, and you really need to lay off the Flaming Hot Cheetos before drinking coffee.”

Alex was ready. The only thing left to figure out was exactly what outrageous stunt he was going to pull at the finals. Was he going to hand out rain ponchos to the first two rows of the crowd, the “splash zone,” and cover them with the winning coffee? He wasn’t sure yet, but he knew it was going to be wild. And he knew he was going to win at worlds.

***

Sitting at the airport waiting for his flight to Belo Horizonte to arrive, Alex was recognized by a group of coffee people waiting to board the same plane, who like everyone else it seemed, wanted to see the world’s most famous palate in action. And Alex was more than happy to oblige. One member of the adoring public handed Alex their cup of airport coffee as a lark. Alex pulled his prized possession from the chain around his neck—he wore the spoon like an amulet of power now, always pressed against his skin, next to his beating heart.

Zzzzzheeet…

“Baker’s chocolate, rubber, peanuts… and baby shit?”

The group laughs, they snap a few photos with Alex for the ‘Gram, ask him to sign their cup—Alex spells the name on the cup wrong intentionally; people eat it up—and they leave, satisfied to have met the phenom and seen him in action. But something was wrong. That coffee had baker’s chocolate, rubber, and peanuts, but baby shit? Maybe that was a defect from some kind of natural process that had crept into this coffee’s otherwise unremarkable provenance, but something felt wrong. He tasted that flavor when he slurped the coffee, but the flavor wasn’t in the coffee. Just then he heard the crying: a newborn some 20 yards away waiting on a flight at the next terminal. The baby’s mother was fussing with a diaper bag, getting ready for a change.

Then, a distinct odor of corn and oil, like bad tortilla chips. No sooner than Alex picks out the smell, a man with a greasy bag of leftovers from the shitty Airport Tex Mex spot takes a seat three rows over.

Every passing scent lingers now. He can’t turn them off. Alex’s senses have become too sharp, as though the focus on a camera had been over-adjusted; the picture in his head has gone blurry, overrun by atmospheric scents clashing against one another.

“Now boarding Group Six for Flight 823 to Belo Horizonte, Brazil…”

Shaking off his olfactory panic attack, Alex heads for his plane, hoping to leave behind this menagerie of odors turned to 11.

But the plane was worse. A “service dog” four rows back is having a love affair with its own butt. A man up in first class with athlete’s foot has just removed his shoes. Someone in the very back opens the bathroom door, releasing a perfume of blue chemicals and old urine. No less than three toddlers on this plane are at various stages of bodily fluids coming out of both ends. The pilot boards, bringing with him a smell of last night’s gin and cheap perfume. Alex can taste the armrests. All of them.

The odors, they are deafening.

Alex grows pallid and breaks into a cold sweat, the salty sweetness only adding to the onslaught. His vision tunnels and his ears only record a high-pitched silence as all sensory power is diverted to his nose and mouth. He begins to thrash about, pawing aggressively at anything and everything around him trying to find something to bring him back, but his fingertips aren’t registering any sensations, not the headrest, not the face of the person in the chair next to him, not even the window that just dislocated two of his knuckles. Nothing. In comes a rush of copper.

And in an instant, everything is gone.

***

Alex opens his eyes to the blurred features of a soft, white room. It’s unclear where he is or how long he’s been here. His eye muscles have grown weak from atrophy. He can feel the cool wall against the back of his exposed neck. His senses must be returning.

“Ah, you’ve come back to us,” Alex hears a female voice say. “That was quite an ordeal, wasn’t it.”

Alex tries to sit up but is too weak.

“Be careful now. You’re not back up to full strength. You should make a complete recovery in no time. Except for…”

Alex tries to speak but only a garbled noise comes out, accompanied by a shooting pain.

“I was trying to tell you, when you had that terrible spasm on the airplane, you bit off most of your tongue. The doctors ran a CAT scan and you seem to have fried your parietal lobe in the process. I’m afraid you’ll never taste or smell again. But on the bright side, all your other sense were unharmed.”

Tears begin to fill Alex’s eyes as he lay motionless against the wall.

“Oh, there it is.”

The specter’s soft focus tightens as she floats closer to Alex, leaning over him to pluck a shiny metallic object from the chain around his neck. In a moment of perfect clarity, Alex can read her name tag: Derwood.

And then, as though overcorrecting the camera lens, the shape of the woman blurs, fading into nothing but a voice.

“I’d hate to lose this. It’s very special.”

Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

The post The Man Who Spoon Too Much appeared first on Sprudge.

Source: Coffee News

Inclusivity In The UK: The Kore Directive Is Here To Empower Women In Coffee

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Inclusivity and representation have become common themes in modern American coffee culture. Events like Cherry Roast, the Coffeewoman, and Womxn in Coffee and groups like #CoffeeToo and the Dallas Coffee Gxls have all been created to discuss the hardship and champion the works of women, trans, and non-binary individuals within the specialty coffee community. And now, a group in the UK is following suit. Called The Kore Directive, the London-based group was created to “focus on empowering women through imparting tailored knowledge of the speciality coffee industry, in order to bridge the gender accessibility gap that exists at the bottom of the industry ladder exacerbating the underrepresentation of women at professional and leadership levels.”

Created by London coffee professional Sierra Burgess-Yeo—who enlisted the help of five other current- and ex-coffee professionals combining for over two decades of industry experience across the UK and Australia—The Kore Directive aims to “specifically address the disadvantages, overt or otherwise, that womxn face in the specialty coffee industry here in the U.K.,” Burgess-Yeo tells Sprudge via email. Through a series of semi-monthly events beginning in January and running through July, The Kore Directive is a seven-month project alternating between casual meet-ups with a specific theme—cuppings, discussion panels, guest speakers, etc—and practical application classes focusing more on hands-on training. Working in conjunction with The Tate Roastery, the first of these sessions will cover “the ins and outs of production roasting.”

Burgess-Yeo wants the Kore Directive to “talk about issues people don’t talk about enough [in the UK],” issues that Burgess-Yeo tells Sprudge she has experienced firsthand.

Earlier this year I left a job that compounded a lot of the issues I’d faced in my time in the industry—lack of welfare, mental health support, resources for a POC, progressional opportunities and further training, and certification. For a long while I festered in the resentment and anger at my inability to do anything about it—until I questioned if I could. That was how The Kore came about: out of my desire to affect individual and intersectional change to combat what I perceived as widespread, systemic gendered discrimination.

Burgess-Yeo tells Sprudge that while all events put on by The Kore Directive “largely cater to self-identifying womxn,” they are “definitely open to queer and non-binary folx too.”

To drum up interest for their 2019 events, The Kore Directive is releasing a zine as well as hosting an introduction and all-female-focused cupping at Volcano Coffee Works in the middle of next month, which has already sold out. The zine, which can be purchased at any of the upcoming events, is a compilation of interviews with women involved with The Kore Directive.

For more information about The Kore Directive, visit their official website and check out their Facebook page.

Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

Top image via The Kore Directive

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Source: Coffee News

The Haunted Cappuccino

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A German bishop named Johanne Fugger, traveling to Rome for an audience with the Pope in the year 1113, sent his servant ahead to discover all the best wine along the route. When his servant found what he determined to be the finest wine in any village, he would write the Latin word “Est” in chalk on the door of the inn so the bishop would know where to stop, Est being a word that in this instance meant “Here it is.”

The bishop’s servant was so impressed with the Moscato wine in the town of Montefiascone, Italy, that he wrote on the door of the inn with great enthusiasm, “Est! Est!! Est!!!,” an appellation that remains attached to the wine of that region even now. It seems the servant knew his master’s tastes well. Bishop Fugger was so enthralled with the wine that he remained in Montefiascone and kept drinking. He drank himself to death. From the stuporous fog of his last moments on earth, with his final breath it is said, he asked that his great wealth be left in trust and that every year, on the anniversary of his death, a barrel of Moscato be poured over his grave.

“Is that really your name? Raffi?”

Rafael looked up from the espresso pouring into a shot glass and into the tight smirk of a face he’d seen before. He’d only been working as a barista at the coffeehouse for a few days, but the customer had been in several times, a regular.

“It’s short for Rafael,” he said, and smiled gamely.

“My parents made me listen to that singer, Raffi, when I was kid,” said the customer. “God, what a dork that guy was. What is that, a Mexican name?”

“It can be. In my case, it’s Italian.”

“My family used to be Italian too, but they came over so long ago they were settlers not immigrants, you know what I mean, before the Revolution.”

“Your cappuccino,” said Raffi, placing the cup and saucer on the service counter.

The customer stared down at the drink and waved his finger over it. “You know this arty farty stuff is completely lost on me, so don’t waste your time. The other baristas will tell you, Billy is a regular and spends a lot of money in here, but he doesn’t need pictures on his cappuccino.”

Billy picked up the cup, leaving the saucer behind, started to turn, then stopped and turned back. “Okay, I have to admit, I’ve never seen that before and it’s kind of cool.” He showed his cup to the customer next to him. She nodded and smiled, then rolled her eyes as Billy walked away.

Pouring wine over the grave of bishop Fugger became not only a ritual in the town of Montefiascone, but a time of celebration, a large festival so cherished that when the bishop’s money was gone, the tradition continued nevertheless. That is, until 1657, when the plague came to Montefiascone. With the plague came Capuchin monks, summoned by the mayor to establish a friary and care for the sick and dying.

The humble Franciscan friars made the townsfolk feel ashamed for the money they spent on a ridiculous celebration punctuated by the wasteful pouring of wine over a grave. They encouraged a new tradition. Money that would have been spent on the barrel of wine and countless other frivolities associated with the annual event, was used instead to help the poor. The change to this new tradition was far from welcomed by all. After a few years of being deprived of their celebration, a group of belligerent men, drunk on their beloved Moscato, confronted the Capuchin monks.

The next day, from the middle of the line where he was waiting to order, Billy called out. “Hey Ravioli, how about another skull today. I forgot to take a picture and the morons upstairs don’t believe me.”

The other baristas looked at Raffi, who just shook his head. “I think it was a tulip,” he murmured.

Billy frowned at his cappuccino a few minutes later. “What is that, a whole skeleton? I like the skull better but a whole skeleton, that’s cool too. Morbid as shit though.”

“It’s a rosette, brother.” said Raffi.

“A what? Bullshit. That’s a skeleton, a skeleton sitting cross-legged.” Billy showed his drink to the man waiting next to him, who said it looked like a flower.

“Whatever,” said Billy, turning his back on Raffi, talking as he walked away. “Next time I want just that big skull, and I’m not your bother. My brother isn’t even my brother.”

Of course, all the monks refused to fight or even defend themselves… all the monks except one, Brother Raffaele Fossombrone. It was no secret that leaders of their order questioned Raffaele’s devotion to their “Rule of Life” and considered him, perhaps, too impetuous and undisciplined for the Capuchin Brotherhood. Their concerns proved valid when the mob began shoving the monks and Brother Fossombrone backhanded one of the men across the face, shouting, “How dare you put your hands on men of God.”

This was all the excuse the angry mob needed. Since Fossombrone was the only monk willing to fight, the men converged on him and beat him in a wild frenzy until pleas from the other monks and the hands of others from the town stopped them. It was too late. He died a short time later as they were still tending to his wounds. His fellow monks carried his body back to Rome and he was buried in the crypt under the Capuchin church, Our Lady of the Conception of the Capuchins.

Billy was back after lunch and had another man with him, a man who didn’t look happy to be there. “That’s him,” said Billy, while standing right in front of Raffi. “He’s some sort of hipster goth kid, makes these spooky pictures on my cappuccinos. Do the skull. I want to show Tony.”

Raffi shook his head. “I told you, brother, it was a tulip, and this morning a rosette, and this,” he said, setting a cup down in front of Billy, “is a heart.”

“Jesus,” said Billy, staring down at his cappuccino. “You’re a sick son-of-a-bitch. I mean a skull is one thing, but that looks like … like a bloody heart inside a rib cage.”

Tony leaned over the drink and said, “It’s just a heart, like Valentine’s day. It’s sweet.” He made a heart with his hands as he backed away toward the door.

Billy looked at Raffi, squinted, then started to chuckle. “It’s some sort of joke. I get it. It’s clever. What color is the dress, right? I don’t know how you’re doing it. I don’t care actually. Whatever. It’s over now, enough with the pictures, and stop calling me brother.”

In the years after Brother Fossombrone was beat to death, the people of Montefiascone grew to believe all their misfortune was due to a curse, the curse of the Capuchin monk. The earthquake of 1697, a mysterious epidemic in 1791, cholera in 1837 and 1855, meningitis in 1916, bombing by the allies in 1944, a deadly blizzard in 1956, all these things were said to be a consequence of the curse. Ironically, the first to help during all these tragic events were the Capuchin monks; and though the townspeople accepted the help gratefully, it was said to be bad luck to look a monk in the eye, “lest our shame be made manifest and bring on the next calamity that much sooner.” So strong was this superstition, that when their Moscato wine fell out of favor, when it “lost its charm,” they blamed the curse.

Billy did not come into the coffeehouse the next day, but the day after that he waited quietly in line, frowning at his phone. He didn’t look at Raffi. Even as he stood at the service counter waiting for his drink, he kept his eyes on his phone and didn’t look up. Raffi set the cappuccino down in front of him and he blinked, moving his eyes from his phone to his drink. His expression, drooping eyelids and a deep, pouty frown, did not change.

“That’s a pile of bones with skulls on top,” he said, as if it was exactly what he expected to see on his cappuccino.

“What you are now, they once were; what they are now, you shall be.”

Billy looked up at Raffi but then let his gaze drift from his eyes to his shoulder. “What the hell does that mean? What are you talking about?”

“I said, we call it a bellflower,” said Raffi. “It’s only a bellflower, nothing more.”

“Bellflower,” said Billy, nodding as if this made perfect sense. “Sure. It’s a bellflower.”

The custom among Capuchin monks at Our Lady of the Conception of the Capuchins until the 19th century—the results of which can still be seen today—was to disinter bodies that had been buried for many years and use the bones to decorate the interior of the church. However, when Brother Raffaele Fossombrone was unburied, decades after his death, they found his body mummified. The withered, leathery skin was dark and shrunk to the bone, but largely intact, as was his Franciscan robe. Having no idea why such a thing would occur, they left the body the way they found it and placed it in the chapel, sitting on the ledge of a small alcove, surrounded by the bones of his brethren.

Billy stood outside the coffeehouse the next day for half an hour, starting for the door and then stopping, pacing, staring through the window. He didn’t look at Raffi. He seemed to stare at the spot where he usually stood waiting for his drink. When he finally came inside he didn’t stop to order a drink, he just dropped ten dollars on the counter and took his place in front of Raffi, looking down.

After a moment, Raffi pushed a cappuccino forward. Billy stared at it for several seconds, then started nodding.

“That’s me, isn’t it, the skull under that hood? That’s me and I’m dead. You’re going to say it’s a flower or a sunrise or a turtle, but it’s me, a dead man.”

“I did not pour a design in your cappuccino today, brother,” said Raffi. “It’s just a white circle.”

Billy looked up but still avoided Raffi’s eyes and growled, “I told you, I’m not your fucking brother,” and then lunged at the barista, reaching over the counter for his neck, only his arms didn’t move. His body didn’t move. Nothing moved.

Though rare, the mummified body of Brother Fossombrone has been known to change its position. The church’s official statement on this has always been that it is the result of pranksters, but it’s been happening for hundreds of years and no one has ever been caught nor confessed and no amount of security keeps it from happening. No one has ever seen the body move, but it is said that a change in the body’s position is always proceeded by a voice whispering the words found on a plaque near the entrance of the crypt: “What you are now, we once were; what we are now, you shall be.”

He watches people enter the chapel, their eyes wide as they look at all of the bones. The chapel is filled with bones, stacks and stacks of bones, rows and rows of skulls. He notices that when their eyes fall on him, their expressions change from fascination with the horrid, to apprehension, revulsion, and a touch of confusion. He isn’t bones, exactly. He is something more than a skeleton, but something far less than a body. When the people get close, he tries to speak, tries to move, tries to show them that he is alive… or if not alive, then something. But he doesn’t speak. He doesn’t move. In his mind he is shouting at them, begging for help, but the chapel remains silent beyond the soft murmuring of his visitors. The people wrinkle their noses and the children stay carefully behind the adults who take pictures reluctantly and then leave without looking back. Eventually, when the chapel has been empty for a long time and grown dark, Billy stops screaming.

Mike Ferguson (@aboutferguson) is an American coffee professional and writer based in Atlanta and currently part of the marketing team at Olam Specialty Coffee. Read more Mike Ferguson on Sprudge

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Source: Coffee News

Millennials Prefer Travel To Coffee And Sex, Says Travel Agency

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Millennials: who are they are what do they want? And more importantly, how can we bilk as much money out of them as possible? Turns out, if you want those Millennial millions, you need to offer some sort of travel-based experience. In a new study, Millennials state they would be willing to give up coffee, alcohol, and even sex in favor of traveling.

According to Forbes, the survey was performed Contiki, a travel agency that caters to the Millennial generation. Polling 1,500 individuals aged 18 to 35, the travel company found out that travel is really important. And Millennials like to travel; 48% of respondents travel one to two times a year, with 35% traveling even more, in the three to five times annually range. Meaning at most, a scant 17% of all polled, roughly one in six individuals, don’t travel at all (though presumably some of those actually travel more than five times a year).

And according to the survey, folks ages 18 to 35 are by and large willing to give up most things associated with folks ages 18 to 35 if it meant they could travel.

Majority of the millennials said that they would give up Netflix (80 percent), coffee (77 percent), alcohol (73 percent), carbs (60 percent), and even sex (57 percent) to travel. Meanwhile, 41 percent of those surveyed said that they would relinquish their cell phone, even though 49 percent of them admitted to spending eight to ten hours per day on their device.

Now, what it means to “give up” these things remains unclear. Is it like a forever give up or more of a don’t-drink-coffee-for-a-month thing? Would I be able to drink coffee during my travel or is that also part of the giving up? Seeing how most of my travel is coffee-, drinks-, and food-related, this definition is pretty important for me. And quite honestly, do you even want to travel someplace new if you can’t have coffee, alcohol, or carbs? Kinda feels like you’d be missing out on a whole swath of cultural hubs, which seems to negate the whole point of traveling to begin with.

My guess is that these 1,500 Millennials were too busy Netflix and chilling atop a bed of spaghetti with their vodka and cold brews to realize what they were signing up for. Actually, that sounds like a great vacation.

Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

Top image © fizkes/Adobe Stock

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Source: Coffee News

The Curse Of The Barista

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There’s no way it would happen for a fourth time.

                             It would be hilarious. Insane, but hilarious.

                                                                     Nah, it’s totally his year.

“In fourth place… froooom Caballero Coffee in Los Angeles, California, Ralph Snider!

Ralph forced a smile that pushed his eyelids into a squint, hiding disappointment and bewilderment. He followed it with a shrug and an even more forced chuckle before collecting his trophy and struggling to pay attention for the rest of the awards ceremony. Attention shifted for the most part to the top three but scattered coffee professionals in the freezing convention center stared at Ralph in amazement. For the fourth year in a row, he had rather frustratingly placed fourth in the United States Barista Championship. Four for four… for fourth.

Having given up on his initial dream of teaching philosophy at the collegiate level, today Ralph was a known quantity in the specialty coffee industry. Indeed, his presentations at the often inaccessible barista competitions struck a balance between professorial and comforting. He was a storyteller. He was driven by the desire to tell the story of coffee to anyone who would listen, whether through engaging competition routines or some well-favorited Instagram posts of his bi-annual origin trips.

When he wasn’t serving espressos, cappuccinos, and signature beverages to judges, Ralph shone as the dedicated head trainer for Caballero Coffee in the trendy Los Feliz neighborhood of LA. Just a year out of his program at UCLA, he’d had some misgivings about starting his coffee career in a neighborhood he thought was a little suspect, but seven years in, he felt that Caballero had really lifted the neighborhood up and inspired even more quality food and beverage spots to establish themselves. There were now two equally good pho spots for lunch.

Caballero was a respected coffee roaster, though some vocal Twitter users frequently dragged the operation for its predominantly white male staff, which contrasted its myriad Latin American design influences. Ralph was open to ongoing dialogue about what the industry could do better but was greatly encouraged by the company’s recent hire of a woman of color, who he had no doubt would eventually graduate from cashier to barista.

As Ralph prepared for his seventh coffee competition season, he felt certain that he was contributing positively to his community but craved the ultimate recognition for his hard work more than he let on to his peers. Surely he wouldn’t be stuck in this perpetual cycle of fourth place for the rest of his career?

“Being up on that stage with five people who inspire me to strive for excellence is the great honor of my life,” he had told Bean Teen Magazine in an interview after his most recent fourth ranking. “But of course, I’d like to, sort of, y’know… take it to the next level.”

While working a rare bar shift at the roastery to cover for a sick barista, Ralph was so distracted by his determination to find the one element that would tip the scale in his favor in competition, that he failed to notice a paper cup that sat sideways on top of the espresso machine for a full minute.

“Anita,” Ralph said with a smile. “You know, it’s supposed to be cups up for milk beverages and cups down for americanos, right? I mean, I think it’s fun to put your mark on the place by putting a cup sideways, but it’s a little clunky for service if I don’t know what you mean by it.”

Without moving her head, Anita shifted her eyes to the espresso machine and then quickly back to the Chemex she was attending to. “Didn’t put that up there. We haven’t had a customer in the last five minutes.”

Ralph shrugged, grabbed the cup, and threw it into the compost heap, but then saw that the cup had writing on it. He took the cup back out and brushed off some ground coffee and bits of zucchini muffin to read a message neatly written in black marker:

“Fourth place again this year… OR DEAD LAST?!?!

Ralph was confused, if not a little unnerved by this hostile message. He was quite certain that the specialty coffee community deeply respected him. Who would taunt him like this when he had worked so hard and been so congenial with coffee professionals the world over? Was some jealous barista trying to get the best of him and shame him into giving up on competition? What had been a strong desire to prove himself quickly turned into an angry determination to prove the anonymous cup-writer wrong. He crushed the cup in his hand, thinking to himself, “First place this year, asshole,” as he threw it back into the compost.

After closing the shop for the evening, Ralph’s rage for the cruel cup message made him angry at just about everything. Anita had left early to attend a night class, leaving him all alone to attend to closing duties he hadn’t performed since his last bar shift a year and a half prior. As much as he thought it was the admirable thing to do to put himself in the floor worker’s shoes every once in a while, he thought Anita might have showed a little more dedication and initiative, especially if she wanted to work her way up in coffee. On top of that, a customer had spilled simple syrup on the floor by the condiment bar hours before without saying anything and the sticky mess was taking forever to clean up.

He worked in silence after the Fleet Foxes album he had barely been listening to ended. As he walked to retrieve the mop and finish cleaning, he heard a crisp whisper echo from the slightly ajar door that led to the roastery.

Fourth…fourth…fourth…fourth…

Surely this was his seething mind tricking him when he was ready to leave his frustrations behind for the evening…

Fourth…fourth…fourth…fourth…

Ralph was nervous at first but quickly resolved that he would teach this spineless asshole a lesson. Writings on a cup? Creepy whispering? Not today. Ralph stomped back to the roastery and flung the door open, ready to give his tormentor an earful, but was immediately struck by how dark it was in the roastery. The tall windows had somehow mostly been blacked out, save for a dim light from outside that shone on a patch of floor, where loose green and roasted coffee spelled out the message,

DEAD. LAST.

As Ralph finally started worrying about his safety, bright lights flooded the roastery and he turned in all directions looking for the menace. It took only a few seconds to discover a man with a weaselly face and barely any neck glaring at him while perched atop a large stack of green coffee bags. Ralph instantly recognized him as a truly annoying figure from his past. The man had spent all of his spare time hanging around Los Angeles coffee shops for hours telling any barista he could trap behind the counter about all of the coffees he had tasted that week and complaining that very few coffee professionals actually knew how to pull a great shot of espresso. But that was years ago. The guy had totally vanished. He hadn’t seen this man in… four years.

“It’s finally starting to make sense, isn’t it,” the man hissed.

“But,” Ralph started in disbelief, “how did you…”

“Make sure you’d come in fourth place every time?”

Ralph felt ill but curious as to how this man could’ve pulled off such a consistent sabotage.

“Look away for a few seconds,” the man started, “and you’ll be surprised at how easily your competition coffee could be switched out after your prep time. Not to something terrible. Wouldn’t want you to be suspicious of always coming in last. Just close enough that you would flub on a few flavor calls and always wonder if you just weren’t good enough to take it all the way.”

“But… why?” Ralph asked softly, stunned that someone could despise him so much.

“You’re too self-absorbed to even remember HUMILIATING ME??” the man wailed. “I tell you about the most amazing coffee I’ve had in my life and you very LOUDLY and CLEARLY tell me and everyone else in the cafe that it’s not “gay-shuh”, it’s “gehhhhhhhhhhshuhhhhhhhh”. I couldn’t be seen in another coffee shop after that! You’ve gotten what you deserved for long enough. If you won’t do the honorable thing, and end your mediocre career, I’m going to have to end it for you.”

Good god, had this strange man really spent years lurking in convention centers, committed to ensuring that Ralph was merely a very good competitive barista? And why was he clutching a spouted portafilter like that?

“Look, I’m sorry, it wasn’t my intention to make you feel bad, ummm…” Ralph struggled to remember his name.

“Thurston! As I told you countless times, MY NAME IS THURSTON.”

Thurston lunged at Ralph with the portafilter over his head and before Ralph could fully grasp what Thurston intended to do with the bludgeoning instrument, he jumped out of the way just in time for Thurston to lose his balance and jam his hand inside a retail coffee bag sealer. Ralph looked away but shuddered hearing Thurston howl as the hot sealer closed on his thin hand, burning his skin and crushing his fragile fingers. But after the initial howl, Thurston immediately returned to glaring at Ralph and wouldn’t take his eyes off of him even as he was arrested and being taken in for booking.

Almost being murdered by a vengeful customer might have made other coffee professionals take a moment to rethink commitment to competition, but Ralph quickly became more determined than ever. It all made so much more sense now. He was better than he had imagined the entire time. He actually made coffee just as well if not better than those who had placed ahead of him for years. He truly was meant to be the person to tell the world the story of coffee. Standing with the others in the final six that year, he knew that with Thurston out of the way, this was his time.

“In sixth place…”

This is my year. Those judges were all smiles the whole time.

“…from Court Place Coffee in Austin, Texas, John Seles!”

I know those tech scores were perfect.

“In fifth place…”

That natty Gesha I just served them was literal bomb-ass shit.

“…from Elderflower Espresso in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Rita Washington!”

But wait… did those capps really taste like Nilla Wafers?

“In fourth place…”

Eric J. Grimm (@ericjgrimm) writes about pop culture and coffee for Sprudge Media Network, and lives in Manhattan. Read more Eric J. Grimm on Sprudge.

The post The Curse Of The Barista appeared first on Sprudge.

Source: Coffee News

You’ll Love These Sprudge x KeepCup Glass Coffee Cups

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Welcome to Sprudge Shop Spotlights, a new weekend series in which we highlight our very favorite items currently available in the ever-changing, fast-moving, utterly bespoke Sprudge Shop. Now shipping worldwide, featuring unique artist and brand collaborations from around the planet. Enjoy! 

Ah yes, the disposable cup. So fraught. So wasteful. Fortunately, there’s a movement afoot to do away with our disposable coffee cup culture, led by brands like KeepCup of Melbourne, Australia.

Sprudge has collaborated with KeepCup on a limited number of reusable glass cork-lined cups, each one featuring a unique and adorable Sprudge kitty logo—the website’s name is hidden in meow-meow’s furry little muzzle pouch. So cute! And so practical.

Get your very own Sprudge x KeepCup collab cup today for 10% off using the promo code KEEPCUP. Supplies are limited so act fast, and join us again next week for another Sprudge Shop Highlight.

Sprudge KeepCup – $25.

Ships worldwide.

Disclosure: KeepCup is an advertising partner on Sprudge.

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Source: Coffee News

The Coffee Sprudgecast With T. Ben Fischer Of Glitter Cat Barista Bootcamp

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The Coffee Sprudgecast is back! On this week’s episode of the Sprudge coffee podcast, we join co-hosts Jordan Michelman and Zachary Carlsen from The Line Hotel in Washington D.C., somewhere betwixt a whirlwind of events across New York City, Philadelphia, and the DMV. This episode was taped on the eve of Black Coffee DC, the second stop of east coast Black Coffee events that included live shows at The Line Hotel in Washington DC and Classic Stage Company in Manhattan. A complete podcast presentation of these shows will be out shortly—stay tuned!

Check out The Coffee Sprudgecast on iTunes or download the episode hereThe Coffee Sprudgecast is sponsored by  Oxo, Urnex Brands, Hario, and Swiss Water Decaf

On this week’s show, Zachary Carlsen interviews 2018 US Barista Championship silver medalist and Glitter Cat Barista Bootcamp founder T. Ben Fischer of Elixr Coffee. They talk competition soundtracks, the genesis of Glitter Cat, and emotions—so many emotions.

Elsewhere on the show we chat about meet n’ greets, Gritty latte art, catching New York feelings, why Daniel G. haunts our dreams, an upcoming event in Spokane with Indaba Coffee, and why “Sprudge don’t judge.” All this and much more on this week’s episode of the Coffee Sprudgecast.

Sign up now as a subscriber to the Coffee Sprudgecast and never miss an episode. 

Listen, subscribe and review The Coffee Sprudgecast on iTunes.

Download the episode here.

The Coffee Sprudgecast is sponsored by Oxo, Urnex Brands, Hario, and Swiss Water Decaf

Photos of T. Ben Fischer by Jake Olson for SCA.

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Source: Coffee News

Do LA Cafe Hipsters Love Donald Trump? This Man Says Yes

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Medium big note to all of you hipster liberal—and liberal hipster—coffee shop patrons out there: you need to tone down the volume of your voice when secretly complementing United States President Donald Trump. That’s because Jacob Wohl is listening. The “20 Year Old Financier and Political Commentator, Conservative, Trump Supporter, Zionist, and Writer for The Gateway Pundit” hears all, sees all, allegedly hangs out in trendy coffee shops, and yes, has Twitter.

And that’s not the first time Young Jacob, proud nationalist, has stopped us dead in our tracks. Just recently he uncovered the well-hidden truth (we thought at least) that it is actually the Democrats behind the “Suspicious Packages” being sent to all the liberal leaders in order to make Republicans “look bad.” And how did he find out? By overhearing us talking about it AGAIN at a liberal coffee shop in LA.

We would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for that pesky kid!

As Twitter user Alex Griswold points out, Wohl has caught us over and over again, simply by listening to us spill our trade secrets at hipster LA coffee shops. According to this super sleuth, who is neither delusional nor trapped in a feedback loop of his own imagined reality, Verve Coffee in downtown LA is where all the Trump supporters hang out. So make sure you speak in extra hushed tones between bites of steel cut oatmeal when plotting any future false flag campaigns.

[Ron Howard narrator voice]: It wasn’t. 

What have you overheard “some liberals talking” about at a downtown LA cafe? Remember, this does not need to reflect reality in any way shape or form. Use the hashtag #overheardsomeliberals and concoct your own fantasy today!

Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

Top image © Monkey Business/Adobe Stock

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Source: Coffee News