Is espresso getting worse?

I was recently inspired by a conversation I had with some long-time coffee professionals to do a quick and dirty survey of current and former coffee pros.

This was a very simple survey as it asked two questions only.

First: "How long ago did you drink the best espresso of your life?"
Second: "Share your thoughts on espresso."

The results were rather startling (for me).

The average answer for how long ago the best espresso had been turns out to be a little over 5 years. That's right... I said years.
And while there were answers that were measured in months, there were also ones answered in decades.

Also, there was an interesting correlation in the responses as well.
For respondents who answered less than a year, the vast majority indicated that they either don't drink espresso frequently or don't "like" espresso (most commonly expressed as "I'm just not into espresso anymore").

Obviously I have some conclusions, but as they're speculation based on a highly unscientific collection of data, I'll keep them to myself with one exception.

I believe that the answers to the second question answer the Why presented by the answers to the first.

Oh... and as espresso represents a majority of top line revenues for almost every single coffee business... Y'all need to fix this shit, yeah?


Freaks in the Wilderness

I grew up in a tiny rural town. I grew up without TV.
My exposure to the world was limited and constrained at best.

I knew from a young age that I was different - that I was not like the others.
This was terrifying.

But I grew up with music all around me. I grew up with the sounds, the songs, the words and the melodies around me every day. I grew up with Dylan and Marley and Bach and Coltrane and the Beatles and Aretha.

And I grew up with Bowie. The Thin White Duke. Ziggy Stardust.
I grew up with his words, his music and perhaps most of all his persona(s).

It was because of Bowie that I learned I could be me - the freak and the oddity - with pride.
It was through him that I learned that you could change - could reinvent yourself.

David Bowie allowed me the space and the play to be me.
He changed my life.

This is my thanks.
This is my expression of sorrow and loss.
This is my embrace and my love.

RIP to the man who taught me that "weirdo" is just another way to say "one of a kind."


Investors, Coffee, Ignorance

One of the reasons I left coffee was its celebration of willful business ignorance and incompetence.

Another was the lack of honesty among the majority of business owners.

The coverage of the JAB purchase of a controlling interest in first Stumptown and then Intelligensia (handled through the investment vehicle of JAB's portfolio company Peet's) is a sad illustration of the state described above.

I would love it if folks could do some research on JAB, and then try at least a little to understand the business practices and goals of Private Equity investors before they start to talk shit.

Because the stuff you all are saying publicly makes you (and the whole coffee industry) look fucking stupid.


La Marzocco Linea Mini Photos

I've finished my review of the new La Marzocco Linea Mini home machine.
Go read it at Home-Barista.

I thought I'd share a bunch of photos of this (amazing) espresso machine. As always, clicking on the photos will get you the full size version.

It's a hard job, but someone's got to do it

So classic

Details matter

GS on the left, Mini on the right

Loving the logo treatment

Best home steaming wand, ever

That's some damn fine milk there son

Let it flow....

Hairbender showed the weakness in the stock baskets


The La Marzocco Linea Mini - a Linea for Your Home

So yeah...

It's 10 years after my La Marzocco GS/3 review for Home-Barista.com.
And I'm back....

La Marzocco has announced a new home machine - the Linea Mini.
And I am reviewing it for Home-Barista.com.

Suffice it to say that I'm pretty damn excited.


Posts Coming

Well... it rather seems like this blog will start seeing a little activity soon.

I've committed to some coffee writing.

I'm looking forward to this return!


An Open Letter to SF Cyclists

Dear Cyclists of SF,

I should be your biggest advocate.

I'm a progressive educated lefty who is opposed to motor vehicle use in cities.
I'm a bike owner and bike rider who grew up riding and racing and worked in a bike shop.
My bikes have included "cred building" rigs like a '70s Holdsworth Custom Criterium frame with vintage campy set up and a Voodoo SS MTB set up as an urban trials bike.

I want to be your supporter.

But you are making it really. fucking. hard.

This morning I was hit by a cyclist while walking in SF.
This is the third time in five years.

The first time I was walking on the sidewalk in the Mission and went to step around a slow walker and was hit from behind by a cyclist I hadn't heard. Neither I nor the cyclist were injured and I started getting a lot more paranoid about bikes around me.

The second time I was crossing Mission St and was hit by a cyclist who had run the red light and was trying to turn through the crosswalk (he had to swerve to avoid hitting an older woman in front of me). In this case I strained a knee and the cyclist suffered a concussion. And I started to feel more conflicted about bike riders.

Today I was walking in SOMA and went to cross a one way street. I looked the direction traffic was coming from, stepped off the sidewalk and was hit by a cyclist riding the wrong way up the street. I have no idea if they were injured as I simply walked away to avoid a confrontation given my rage at this incident.

Seriously folks.
I really, really want to continue to support cyclist rights in SF.
But there is a reason why the rules of the road and vehicle laws apply to you. You may think that rules saying you can't ride on the sidewalk are stupid and constrain your rights. You're wrong. Vehicles can't drive on the sidewalk for a very fucking good reason. You may think that you shouldn't have to stop at red lights because "control" and "speed" and so on. Well guess what? You're wrong again. You may think that you should be able to ride up a one way street the wrong way. You should not. For fucking obvious reasons.

Yes... I know that the vast majority of cyclists in SF are good, decent people. But you - the good decent cyclists out there - are turning a blind eye to the bad apples amongst you. You defend the indefensible. And until you stop doing this - people like me are going to stop supporting you.

Do the right thing.
Make it so people like me can support you.