a bit of an epic... but fun none the less...

so last night was the Stumptown holiday party.
and it was as one would expect, excellent. as with previous years, there was tons (literally i think) of fabulous food (including excellent porchetta), some wonderful Barbarescos and Barolos and stylish Stumpies sporting vintage finery. in addition, there was dancing, DJs and karaoke. but unlike other such events, this time there was no vomiting or bad behavior.
and then this morning i worked downtown.

in retrospect it was really really fun. but fun in that sick "we survived together" kind of way.

you see... i had an unfortunate allergy attack yesterday before the party and pretty much forgot about what happens when one combines wine (even in "moderation") with allergy medication.
and the rest of the crew had equally good excuses for the general low level of brain activity.

but we pulled together and got through it in good spirits. thank god for caffeine and for AC/DC.

i made some good drinks - which is so rewarding for me. we played some good music, we talked to some good customers (and had to kick a junky out of the bathroom)... it was really fun.

i love working bar shifts and really miss it.

and then i had to rush out to the roastery to do an employee cupping.
needless to say, despite the 10 shots of espresso and five coffees cupped, i'm feeling rather worn out (to say the least).

thank god tomorrow is a day off for me.

oh - cupped the Cantagallo again today and it continues to amaze me. also cupped a new batch of Sumatra that is really quite good - one of the best Sumatras i've ever had.


espresso to die for

had a really fun cupping today (more on that later) but the highlight of the day was afterwards, when we pulled a couple shots of amazing single origin coffees. through some bits of freaky luck, we just happened to have about 1/4lb of the mighty El Salvador Las Nubitas sitting around at just the right age out of the roaster for espresso. for those who don't know, the Las Nubitas is an amazing Cup of Excellence coffee -- one of my favorites. and for the ultimate treat, we also found a 1/4lb of the incomparable Panama Esmerelda Especial (also, at peak age for espresso). again, for those who've been living under a rock, this was the coffee that won the Best of Panama competition and which sold for an all-time record for Latin coffees at auction ($21/lb green). it is one of the rarest and most spectacular of coffees.

so... an amazing treat indeed!

Las Nubitas... like roasted apples dipped in dark chocolate! wonderful french desert pastry tones of dark sweet fruit with a hint of sweet burnt sugar tangerine all on that wonderful rich apple-chocolate body. fabulous in the mouth, with a "fluffy" delicate mouthfeel. the sort of shot that makes you fall in love with coffee.

Esmerelda... what can i say? where do i begin? Muscat, Grand Marnier, candied tangerine fruit bomb, orchid perfume, tropical fruit brandy... intense, overwhelming, chaotic, insane... it tastes almost fake it's so huge and complex and concentrated in flavour. everything but the kitchen sink has been tossed in and rolled together to create a coffee that is sweetness and fruit amped up... and then taken past that to points heretofore unknown! i hate to admit it, but as much as i love this coffee in the cup - i think i might like it even more as an espresso. not something to drink everyday, but oh my god what an experience.

someone the other day asked me if i like working for Stumptown.
the above should answer the questions.
and if it doesn't...

we've been doing employee cuppings focussing on palate training. the idea is to start with the basics, cupping coffee for the foundation characteristics of coffee, and then building from that to eventually end up with nuances and cupping each coffee we sell.
every single employee of Stumptown is doing this. we cup in small groups four days a week.
employees are required to cup twice a month - and are paid for it.

i hear you say wow.
yup - committment to quality.

every employee cupping i've run has been great. today's had some truly wonderful moments that made me smile. i really love talking with people who work here about coffee. the passion, the knowledge and the palate... amazing. i feel so lucky to be surrounded by such talent. it's pushing me - and it's really really rewarding.


holiday weekend fun

helped out this weekend at the downtown location.
very fun! good crews, good coffee. yesterday was really busy and steady. today was slow. none the less, tons of fun.

oh... some photos of the various locations (for those who asked). these are not mine, just off the Stumptown site. i'll be shooting some once i get the flash issue sorted out.