Thursday, January 20, 2011

"mum look! it's snowing!"

oh my goodness.
march of last year. seriously?
was that really the last time i put anything up on this solipsistic discourse.


recapping almost a year would be banal and pointless. boring as shit too. for me and for you... you? like anyone actually reads this crap.

i'm sitting in bed. slouching actually. laptop on my lap and cat on my chest.
my old lady is out of town. baby. love of my life. button face.
and i'm bored. welcome to my internal monologue.

i actually only spend 2days out of the week being a barista. the rest of my time is spent managing things. time money people inventory personalities. the list could go on.
actually. is that true.
i spend 2days at the cafe in the city. the place i grew to love. hated. and then grew to love again. it's a latte factory. and working in a factory is tough, man. real tough. i have soft hand. i'm not built for manual labor.
the other 5days i'm in red hook. at the tasting room. brew bar. cupping lab. whatever the fuck we're calling it this week.
i make coffee like you make it. yes dear reader. i'm talking to you.
just like you make it at home. only better. mine doesn't suck!


i went to oregon. the homeland. portland.
christmas and new year with friends and family. nerf swords are awesome.
and then work.
a few days working at the annex. talking brewing cupping coffee like a motherfucker. also awesome. i think the nerf swords were better.

i love the new part of my job. getting to talk to people about coffee. to slow things down from the full tilt boogie at the cafe. and really talk to someone about what they like and don't. find out what they know and how much more they want to learn. showing them that brewing great coffee at home isn't unachievable.
i love being out in red hook. it's one of the few places left in brooklyn that feels like it hasn't changed in 40yrs. its the brooklyn that arthur miller and hubert selby jr wrote about.
it's dirty and loud. it smells bad. it's obnoxious and politically incorrect. and it's amazing. i love it.
if it wasn't such a black spot for public transport, i'd move there. seriously. the closest fucking train is a mile away. and the one and only bus that runs through red hook is only there because of ikea. and it might show up. when it feels like it.
but that's the reason it is the way it is.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

milwaukee. barista's. why the hell do i do this?

so i'm back in milwaukee. which is a good thing.
i'm here for a few reasons. the primary one being to judge the great lakes barista competition. and the second is to just catch up with some of the very good friends that i made during my time here.
maybe the first reason was simply the best way i could justify coming back to hang out with some very good people? maybe not? it doesn't matter. i'm here. regardless of the reason.

it kinda caught me off guard a little. i flew in last night. bumpy as all hell. after working a long day in the cafe. and as i was coming over the hoan bridge there it was. the milwaukee skyline.
now i'm not being a knob. i know, compared to the city in which i now reside, the skyline isn't anything that special. but there is something about it. or there was last night. when i saw milwaukee i got really excited to be back. genuinely excited. it was nice. unexpected. but really cool.

barista's are rad. they just are. or rather coffee people are rad. i spent the entire day with a bunch of them. professionals. enthusiasts. barista's. owners. and alike. the certification to become a united states barista competition regional judge is an all day affair. it always is. i've done it a few times before. and it never runs on schedule.
for a group of people who typically have to be up very early to open cafes across the country, when we get together, timekeeping goes out the window. weird.

after exams. discussions. calibrations. coffee. lots of coffee. some good. some bad. we were done. this year we have a huge pool of judges. which is also rad. because now maybe i won't have to judge every single competitor. its not that much fun vibrating from too much espresso for the next three days. the coffee shits suck too.

why do i do this?
because i've found something that i love doing. i've found an industry that i want to be a part of. an industry full of people who are just as passionate as me about what they do. its not just a part time job or something to do until a real job comes along. this is what i, and we love. its what we do. and giving up a little bit of my time to help promote this industry? i love that too.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

i couldn't think of a title for this post. so i'm going the call it 'sitting on my couch. listening to 7seconds. on vinyl. writing nonesense'.

wow...its been forever since i sat down and wrote anything. seriously. what have i been doing with myself?
to be honest, there is no reasonable answer to that question. i've been busy. this living in new york thing is nonstop. busybusybusy. all the freakin time.

oh, hello 2010. wait...where did 2009 go? really. where did it go? it seemed to fly by. but so much is different. a load of shit happened. so i guess its just my perception. or maybe i'm getting old and going senile.

i moved to new york! still seems kinda weird saying that. but its true. and my brother is here too...its the first time in four years that we've lived in the same country, let alone the same city. its awesome. its like nothing has changed. we still finish each others sentences. and my old lady is here too. my boo. my love. my pork chop. we share a rad apartment in brooklyn. with a bi-polar cat. i love it. its comfortable. peaceful. safe. its home.

my co-workers and i have rediscovered...well, i've rediscovered, i don't know how many of them were aware fucking amazing sunny day real estate are. i mean come on. diary is a balls out fantastic record.

this is going to sound ridiculous, but here it is...i'm kinda getting used to seeing pictures of my questionable face in the new york times. see. i told you. sounds ridiculous...but they seem to like us alot right now, us being stumptown, and not myself and kai. the picture at the top was taken from the ny times a few days ago.

people in new york wear alot of black. and by alot. i mean all the time. in any other city i've lived in, you usually save the all black days for funerals. weddings...when perhaps you don't think the union is the best idea... or days when you're feeling particularly elliot smith/the smiths/joy division. but not in new york.
all black. all the time.
i think i'm growing to like it.

regardless of the geographical distance you have to travel. leave yourself an hour to get there.

i've started meditating on a regular basis. actually let me clarify that. i've started formally meditating on a regular basis. every tuesday night. on the bowery. with a bunch of tattooed punk rock kids. dudes in business suits. typical yoga types. and so many more. its awesome. i like it. i'm not becoming all new age. if you call me a hippie i'll fucking kill you.

i now pay someone to wash. dry. and fold my dirty clothes.
it seems so bourgeois. living in milwaukee, it never even occurred to me. why would i pay someone when i can do it myself.
but here. for some reason. and i don't really know why. it seems like the reasonably. almost sensible thing to do.
call me a middle-class capitalist pig if you want. the dude at the launderette is super nice.

famous people everywhere. the city is full of them. i can't go anywhere without bumping into one of them. they just get in the way. they're everywhere.

i've rambled too much.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

the albion espresso bar has moved

so so so... what have i been doing for over a month?

well. new york happened.
thats right. i moved to new york. and its been intense.
the reason i moved from wisconsin was for work. i'm now working for stumptown coffee roasters. as much as i love milwaukee, it was time for me to move on. after being in mke for three and a half years i felt like i'd progressed as far as i was able in my career. yeah thats right. making coffee can be a career. i left behind a bunch of great friends and headed for the big apple.

my first day in the city was also my birthday. what a way to celebrate. well...not really. i worked all day. the first day of stumptown boot camp was gonna start on the 8th, with or without me.

its been one hell of a month.
hours of training down in red hook, at the roastery, while the cafe was under construction.

cupping. studying. espresso training. cupping. studying. espresso training. grind. dose. settle. tamp. repeat. repeat. repeat. oh. and i should probably mention that the time at the roastery was during the hottest few weeks of the summer. and the roastery is essentially a warehouse with no ventilation or air conditioning. needless to say, it was hot. and sweaty.

with the construction work at the cafe nearing completion we moved the training there. the difficulty due to the heat was replaced by difficulties due to contractors and more delays. the scheduled open date came and went.

but finally on september 7th at 6am the cafe opened

on an equally important note. this past weekend kai came out to visit me. this last month i've been out in new york on my own. kai came out for a job interview. and she got the job! plus we also found an awesome apartment in south bushwick, brooklyn.
it was an awesome weekend. it was wonderful to have my lady here with me. and despite it being rough while she's back in milwaukee. i know she'll be here for good real soon.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


so i'm in portland, oregon for work.
my new employer flew me out here for some training before heading out to nyc to open the most ass kicking cafe the world has ever seen....well. that last comment may not be true.
but i am in pdx. and its hot!
whoever told me that the pacific northwest is always damp and raining has obviously never been here during the summer. or they're just a fucking jerk and they lied to me. either way its hot. like 95 hot. and the weird think here is that the hottest part of the day is around 3-5pm. common sense says to me that around noon would be the hottest. the sun is at its highest point etc etc. but no. just as you think its gonna start to cool down. it just keeps getting hotter.
grrrr. next time i come here i'm coming in october.

so work has been fun. long. stressful. intimidating. difficult. scary. and rewarding. really rewarding.
all of the crew out here are super cool. good honest down to earth people. if things don't work out in nyc i can totally see myself here.

i wish i had more to say. but i don't. so there it is.

Monday, June 22, 2009

new york new york

just for the hell of it, kai and i decided to take a trip out to new york. see some old friends. meet some new ones. and just hang out in one of the best cities ever.

friday. mke-lga

after a long day at work we arrive the airport to find our flight is delayed in leaving due to fog in new york. the weather seemed to become a constant obstacle in our travels over the next few days.
flying into la guardia gave us some awesome views of the city as we were circling waiting to land.
we arrived about an hour and a half late due to the delay, but were in the city by about 9:15 thanks to a totally insane taxi driver. fast driving. hard breaking. sharp swerving. and it only cost $30 including tip.

our first taste of new york was sitting at 79th and 1st waiting for brian. as ever brian was to be our gracious host while we were staying in the city. to pass the time kai decided to start looking for the cash cab. alas. her search met a dead end. do you know how many cabs there are in nyc!
some food and then it was back to brian's. cigarettes. cigars. and an amazing view of the empire state building from the roof.

saturday. brown bagging milk in union square.

i love that you can walk in new york. sounds crazy. i know. but in milwaukee people look at you like you've got three heads when you tell them you actually like to walk. 10 mins from b's place and we're at cafe grumpy in chelsea. one of the first coffee shops i went to the first time i was in nyc. i love it for that. and because the coffee is really good. i hear that they're gonna be starting their own roasting operation soon. a sweet cappuccino. an iced americano. and some costa rica from the clover. all of them great and it was off to union square.
the saturday morning farmers market and craft fair. lots of really tasty local produce and some crazy people watching. one guy in particular was just kickin' it on a bench. talking to everybody walking past and drinking some weird bright purple booze from a brown paper bag.
we were in union square to meet up with my friend lizz and the stumptown crew. we were charged with assisting in the milk tasting for the new cafe. we had milk from four local dairies. and passed half gallons back and forth between us. trying to determine which was the best. we were also tasting baked goods from the city bakery. the pretzel croissant is amazing!

from union square it was up to the ace on 29th and broadway to look at the new cafe. and the new hotel. the ace nyc is just as good as the ace pdx. but bigger. much bigger.
the cafe is a construction site, but its gonna be so much fun when it opens.

more bakery sampling from a swank bakery on the upper east side. i couldn't tell if they didn't want a bunch of tattooed coffee kids sitting in their classy cafe, or if we didn't want to be sat in a posh cafe that didn't make us feel welcome. but whatever the reason, we took our swag to variety in williamsburg. one of stumptowns wholesale accounts and began an epic sampling. bakery. deserts. more milk, this time we were able to get one of the barista's to steam up some of those bad boys and make some cappuccinos.

after eating far too many baked goods we headed back into the city for some real food. again we found ourselves in union square. just chillin'. sitting on the steps. and talking shit.
chat n chew, just off the square was the perfect e
nd to an awesome day. good food good friends good times.

sunday. a view from the bridge.

sunday was the day we decided to walk across the brooklyn bridge. headed for the other side of the east river and the brooklyn fl
ea market. which is held under the bridge.
lots of cool stuff. jewlery. clothes. produce. gre
at strawberries and cream popsicles. and sun. lots of sun.
also at the flea market was the first stumpto
wn cafe in new york. a tent. some huge pots of boiling water on a gas burner. and a pour over station.

the confusion of the new york subway system. getting from the brooklyn bridge to williamsburg was interesting. two changes. three different lines. one hour later and we were in hipster central. north williamsburg.
some gumbo on a stoop with some new and old friends. laughing. joking. good times.
on our way back to the city kai and i got a call from brian, telling us he was doing a set at a comedy club just off time square. you see, brian has a day job to pay the bills. but also does stand-up. he seems to be doing pretty well. the weekend we were in town was supposed to be the only weekend he wasn't out doing a gig. but hey. somebody must have called in sick. and we finally got a chance to see him on stage. funny shit.

monday. can you dig it!

up early monday morning for brian to go to work. and kai and i were set loose on the streets on new york with backpacks and a flight to catch later that evening. some breakfast at the lyric diner. and then we headed off to coney island.
an hour on the F train and we were out of the insanity of 8 million people and into the relative peace of the atlantic ocean. the train ride made me think of the warriors. boppin' all night long to get back to coney... a cult classic.

the board walk. the cyclone. the wonder wheel. the ocean. old italian men fishing off the pier. and nathan's. the best hotdog ever. i don't know what they do to them. they look just like regular hotdogs. but they're amazing. i'd love to say i had one. but i couldn't stop and ended up eating three. kai said they also have a so so fish sandwich.

back on the F train. and back to williamsburg to hang out with amanda. williamsburg ranges from uber trendy hipster central. to old italian neighborhood. i think i prefer the old italian part. i'm just not enough of a hipster to fit in.
we decided to hit some of the neighborhoods coffee shops to pass our last few hours in new york.
el beit. a 49th parallel account. my cappuccino was kinda crappy. way too hot and sea foamy. kai had a good cortado. and the kenya i had from the clover was average. i really wanted to like the place. its a super cool little spot. but the major attitude from the guys behind the bar sealed the deal.
more walking around the hood. some thrift stores. and the beaner bar. "brooklyn's first euro-style mexican coffee shop".
what makes a euro style mexican coffee shop? i hear you cry. well. gaudy mexican decour. virgin mary's. day of the dead skulls. the whole 9 yards. a three cup pour over station. a three group ranchillio. intelligentsia coffee. a van's "off the wall" rubber welcome mat. and vegan tamales.
pretty good panama, el machete. so so cortado's. but the tamales were really good.

the sky suddenly filled with black clouds and the heavens opened. we were off to the airport. after some shady car services and major traffic we were back at la guardia.
another delayed flight. again because of the weather in new york. apparently the airports in nyc freak out over some rain. because after 20mins the rain had stopped but it took three hours to clear the back log of flights.
three extra hours in nyc isn't so bad. i guess

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

good morning

bright sunshine. a cigarette. a good cup of coffee.
it doesn't happen that often. yeah i like to sleep in sometimes. an early start with nothing to do but sit outside. enjoy the sunshine. and drink some really good coffee. alterra's costa rica campeon del valle...or champion of the valley if you prefer.
bright. clean. fruity. perfect for a somewhat lazy summer day.