Coffee inspires creativity—this is merely an overflow of that. A bit of my coffee journey in the form of doodles and sketches.
March 26, 2012

While the NE Regional AeroPress Championships were going on in Mansfield, OH this weekend, the North Central Regional Barista Championship and South Central Regional Barista Championship were in Chicago combining to form the Big Central Regional Barista Championship. That’s a lot of regional action for one weekend.

Somehow (thanks to sprudge), I think everyone was able to keep things straight and winners were announced via twitter.

As is customary for these regional championships, I did a doodle to congratulate the winners. Huge props to Ryan Knapp of MadCap for winning the North Central Regional Barista Championship for the second straight year, and congratulations to Lorenzo Perkins of Cuvee Coffee (South Central) for winning his second barista title in three years. As far as the Brewer’s Cup goes, Jon Ferguson became the first independent brewer in 2012 to take home the cake, and Mike Marquard of Half and Half snagged the South Central cup.

Nice job, everyone.

March 23, 2012

Craft Coffee just issued a doodle challenge, and since it deals with both coffee and doodling, I figured I should get involved. Here’s a quick doodle in response.

That weird blob in the sky was supposed to be an old plane – turns out it looks more like a witch… or just like a weird blob in the sky.

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March 22, 2012

I’ve been doing a cold-brewed AeroPress for the last few days – mainly inspired by Rob Dunne’s Instagram post – and they’ve all turned out great. The only iced coffees I’ve had previously have basically tasted like someone put ice in some old, poorly-made drip-brew and handed it to me in a plastic cup that’s coated in a thin layer of day-old coffee, so this is a nice deviation from that.

The Stumptown Peru Cecovasa came out spicy and smooth.

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March 21, 2012

About a week ago, Amber surprised me for my birthday by booking a trip for us to fly out to Seattle for the weekend. She set it up so that while we were there, Mark Barany, head roaster at Kuma Coffee would pick me up to Saturday morning hitting up great coffee joints all over Seattle.

It was my first time doing a “coffee crawl,” and it was a fantastic experience. I got to visit some beautiful shops, taste expertly prepared Espresso, and learn some great stuff from Mark all the while. I also learned about soda water, and that you can get sick if you drink too much coffee – something I never wanted to admit. Here are some highlights:

Stop 1: We started the day off at Milstead & Co., a beautifully designed shop in Fremont. Andrew was working the bar, and served us a shot of Coava’s Benjamin Miranda Honduras that he’d been tweaking on his machine. I was a bit confused when I was handed a glass of soda water and a spoon, and I felt naive asking what to do with it. Turns out you use it to cleanse your palate between sips, so you can get the full taste with each drink. Good to know.

The bar at Milstead & Co. is the prettiest I’ve come across. Different types and shades of wood adorn the sides and front, and the entire shop has a clean, modern, yet rustic feel to it. A great first stop – I’m not sure a visit to Seattle would be complete without a stop at Milstead – at least for a coffee or tea lover.

Stop 2: Kuma on Stoneway is a small shop tucked away in a seemingly quiet neighborhood. It was a bit surreal approaching the shop. I had done some research on it while I was doing the Kuma mug doodle, so it was neat to actually visit the shop. Mark spent time talking to the barista, making suggestions, and eventually, we ended up with the smoothest, fruitiest shot of espresso I’ve ever had. Quite nice. A bit cozy and crowded, but homey.

Stop 3: Trabant is a two-story shop located in the U Disctrict. Trabant has a lot of stainless steel and piping, if I remember right, and it makes for a great grunge effect. We had good conversation at the bar with Lorrie, and I had my first taste of 49th Parallel – a great macchiato using their Epic. Ask Mark about the special souvenirs they hand out there.

Stop 4: I loved the look and feel of the Victrola shop and roastery, but was completely underwhelmed with the espresso I was served. A really beautiful shop with a lot of natural light pouring in through the front. It’s nice to be able to sip your coffee and gaze in at the Roasting Room near the back. I’d like to return for a second experience to let them redeem the espresso I tried. Really a pretty shop and a nice roasting area.

Stop 5: I don’t think my coffee crawl in Seattle would have been anywhere near complete without a visit to the Stumptown Roastery. In all honesty, this was the most complete, enjoyable coffee stop. The design throughout the entire shop is simple, full of wood, and creates a comfortable atmosphere without being overly cozy. I ordered a chemex and walked around with Mark. One of the cool things about this location is the openness of the roastery.

After we grabbed our drinks, we walked downstairs to see where all the roasting magic happened. It was a great atmosphere to drink coffee in, and hearing Mark talk about all the origins and some of the farmers he recognized on the burlap sacks Stumptown had in storage really brought the entire experience full circle.

Final Stop: On the way to our last stop, we both  hit a wall. At this point, I couldn’t even think of drinking more coffee, which is unfortunate, because our final stop was to Empire Espresso. The gang at Empire served me a waffle  rather than espresso and had to painfully listen to me try to describe our morning – I wasn’t very coherent and had a hard time remembering. Such great people work at Empire, and I think they have massive potential. the individual care and connection they have with their customers is almost unheard of.

I want to thank Mark for taking the time to take me around Seattle. I learned a ton, and got to experience first hand some of the coffee culture I’ve been trying to connect with through my doodles. Can’t wait to go back.

A Handsome wannabe?

March 21, 2012

Sadly, I used the last of this coffee – but, I sent it out with a bang. Yesterday, I tried out Dunne Frankowski’s recipe for cold-brewed coffee in an Aeropress, and it came out great. Today, I tweaked it just a tad, and the Benjamin Miranda Honduras turned out amazing as a cold brew iced coffee.

If you’re interested, here’s the recipe (it’s simple):

  1. 17g of coffee, grind at 23 on a Baratza Maestro (in between a pourover and a chemex)
  2. 260g of water, pulled fresh out of a pur water filter (around 55-60 degrees F)
  3. Pour in a circular motion, stir when finished, cap
  4. Steep for 3 hours, plunge.

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March 20, 2012

Andrew from 40 Weight Coffee was kind enough to send me a couple bags of some coffees he’d been working on – I started off with the Cup of Excellence lot from El Salvador: El Salvador Andalucia – Sociedad Lima Y Hermanos; Apaneca – Llamatepac.

Quite a mouthful to say and type, but I was really impressed with this coffee. I started it off in a V60 and as it cooled, I really started to notice some of the diverse notes of this coffee. Can’t wait to give it a go in the chemex.

Another thing that I noticed today while doodling, is that I’m noticing a lot of similarities between some of my doodles and those in the Where’s Waldo books.

March 19, 2012

I love my Aeropress, I love the Peru Cecovasa from Stumptown, I love my Baratza grinder, and I love my DCILY Keep Cup. I also love that I can use all of those things within a 5 minute span and have a wonderful coffee experience. So, I did a simple doodle of all of them. Back to the basics.

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March 16, 2012

I first had this coffee sent to me by someone out in Portland, and I was instantly impressed by the fact that the farmer’s name was the first thing I saw on the bag. Coava did a great job with the simple packaging and a fantastic job roasting this coffee to a fruity, spicy perfection.

A few days after that, Andrew at Milstead and Co in Seattle pulled a nice shot with the coffee. Highly recommended!

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March 15, 2012

Practicing for the NE Regional Aeropress Championship with Kuma Gethumbwini from Keyna. I love this coffee. So juicy and fruity.

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March 14, 2012

Last weekend, Verve Coffee Roasters hosted the Southwest Regional Barista Championship and Brewers Cup at their beautiful location in Santa Cruz.

Nice job to all the competitors – hours and hours of practice go into these competitions, and the care and passion the competitors have is evident.

This year, Jared Truby of Verve took first place an earned the title of SW Barista Champion, and John Martin of Intelligentsia earned the Brewers Cup.

Nice job, guys!

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