Top 10 Coffee 'Moments' of 2005

As it seems to be tradition... I figured I would do my own, personal, top 10 for 2005.
These are entirely subjective - both in terms of the list and the order. They reflect my own personal view of coffee and the coffee world.

So, without further ado...

Top 10 Coffee 'Moments' of 2005

10) Stumptown Annex opens. While there have businesses in the past that have done coffee brewed by the cup (for a long time now), the Stumptown Annex is the first business I know of that focuses totally on customer education. With free and open cuppings twice a day every day, no espresso and all Stumptown coffees available - this new venture has the potential to radically alter the power relationship between coffee consumers and coffee vendors... and it's about time.

9) La Marzocco GS3 Prototype. This machine has the potential to dramatically affect espresso theory and practice. Both as a test and experimenation machine and as a development platform for new machine technologies which will spread to other models and machines - this is a breakthrough espresso machine. I would put it in the same (historical) class as the E61.

8) Tim Wendelboe wins the SCAE Cupping Competition. Proof to all that baristas are the folks who are currently pushing the envelope of coffee and a slap in the face to all who claim that baristas are "button pushers" and "teenagers working for tips."

7) The introduction of the Scace Thermofilter. Finally, we have a standard for temperature measurement and temperarture evaluation.

6) The SCAA scandal. It's been a long time coming is all I can say. Yes... this sort of thing has happened to other organizations. Yes... a bad person did a bad thing. But that doesn't mean that there are no problems with the SCAA. The coming year is going to show us a lot about the organization. Is it going to be "business as usual" or are we going to see a new, more effective, more responsive and less ethically corrupt SCAA? Only time will tell.

5) Troels wins the WBC with a US espresso. For years many of us (myself included) have said that a US barista isn't going to win the WBC until we have espressos that please an international judge. Well... we were wrong. Our coffees are great - and Troels showed this to the world. Now it's time for our baristas to step up.

4) Barista Magazine launches. A voice for baristas throughout the world! A magazine that is professional and ethical! Content that is valuable, worthwhile... and about coffee! Very, very cool.

3) The Bolivia CoE auction. Last year a bunch of people started whispering that Bolivia could be the "dark horse" producer soon. Well... soon just came. Not only was the price paid for the #1 coffee incredible -- the coffee was deserving of that price. A stunning accomplishment. And there were at least two or three other coffees in the auction that were truly world-class. How many great countries of origin do we have now? A couple dozen? More? Yet another indication that we are living at the beginning of a golden age of coffee.

2) Hurricanes in the Gulf and Latin American - Tsunami in Indonesia. Tragedies for one of the major coffee ports in the world and a half dozen countries of origin - with countless dead and even more with their lives and businesses and livelihoods disrupted. This, for many of us, put everything back into perspective. With each tragedy there were emails and phone calls as people in the industry tracked down friends and colleagues and family members. It's been a really rough year for a lot of people. Sometimes a cup of coffee doesn't really seem that important.

1) The BGA Booth at the SCAA show. Baristas in the US come of age. I saw skeptic after skeptic come into the booth, start watching and listening and then tasting and interacting... and then leave a convert. The value of the barista - the profession of the barista - was demonstrated and became real at this moment. We had all talked the talk and for three days folks showed the world that we could walk the walk. Producers, vendors, business owners, pundits, consumers... you name it. They came, they saw.... we conquered.

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