Saturday, December 13, 2008

cupping notes 12.13.08

ethiopian sidamo gerbichu lela
kenya aa tembo
guatemala huehuetenago rio azul

all three of these coffee's had a single days rest out of the roaster. the ethiopia i've had before, and loved it, but this time steve's changed the roast profile a little so i'm interested to see how it effects the results in the cup. both the kenya and the guatemala are new to the store, so i'm excited to see what they're all about.

i'll look at the newcomers first;

guatemala huehuetenago rio azul
the best way i can describe the dry aroma is by saying it's savory. there's very little sweetness and no noticeable fruit notes. it kinda reminds me of one of those little cubes you use to make soup or stock. a non-descript savory smell.
great mouth feel, super smooth and creamy with a dry finish. milk chocolate upfront and dark bakers chocolate in the back. there's also a slight smokiness in the cup. some raw nuts and a little reminiscent of spice.

kenya aa tembo
i'm not a huge fan of kenyan coffees, and the tembo seemed to be the perfect example of why i don't care for them too much. initially it seemed pretty one dimensional, lots of dry tobacco and dark chocolate. i'd kinda resigned myself to finding nothing new or interesting in it, but as it cools, the tembo completely changes its character. lots of dried plum and some fermented grapes, not sweet but more winey. and there's an interesting brightness in the finish.

now its time for my current favorite, lets just hope steve didn't screw it all up with the profile change....
ethiopia sidamo gerbichu lela
a plethora of red fruit, cherries and citrus fruit in the aroma. i'm not sure how this is possible, but its sweeter than the last time we cupped this....steve, you're certainly earning your money....

the fragrance had the same sweet and citrus, with a slight hits of organic material and mucilage, signs of the dry processing.
great body and mouth feel with super sweet red fruit and cherries. the citrus acidity is definitely lime, its a pleasant brightness not an aggressively lemon brightness. the finish is drier with a rich chocolate.

and yes, it's still my current favorite. so so good

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

milwaukee, how you hurt me so

when i was young, i was kind of a shy kid. well actually, if i'm honest, i was incredibly shy. painfully so. you see, i have an identical twin brother (yes yes i know, a twin. isn't that weird. please no "what's it like to be a twin" comments. it'd be like me asking you "what's it like to not have a twin". it's normal), and we were both as shy as each other. we were antisocial. not in a pre-teen angst, fucking shit up kinda way, but in an isolated kinda way. we created our own little world. one that didn't really include outsiders. other people. anyone in fact. it was the two of us and that was fine.
well, it was fine until we needed to interact with the outside world. a fairly common thing, so obviously it came up a lot. and this is where the problems started. problems that i'm still working through today. remember your time at school? you were 4 or 5 or 6 or whatever, and you'd come home and tell mummy and daddy that you'd made a new friend at school? yeah, you do? well not me. i never learned how to make friends as a kid. crazy as it sounds i just didn't. i had my best friend in the whole world, my brother, my twin. why did i need to make other friends? they don't know me like bradley, they don't understand me. fuck 'em. i've got my brother and that's all i need.

needless to say, this attitude meant that bradley and i spent a lot of time alone. at home. mainly playing video games and getting fat.
and alas, a vicious cycle begins. i'm gonna stay at home because i either don't have, or don't want any other friends. i get all bent about not having friends. feels bad. do nothing about it and because i'm so socially retarded feel i can't make friends. therefore i just stay at home. fun times. this was my life aged 11-18.

around 17 years old something changed. at the time it seemed small and insignificant. but looking back it changed everything. my last year of school meant a lot more freedom with my class schedule. meaning that by 11am i was pretty much done with class. i'd head off home and put the radio on. 97-99 fm. radio 1. and there she was. jo whiley. the woman that opened the doors and pulled me through them kicking and screaming. and my life changed.

through jo whiley, and subsequently steve lemacq and john peel, my eyes were opened. these three people changed my life forever. they introduced me to music that i didn't even know existed. music that saved my life.
so much of my social and political ideology was influenced by the clash and billy bragg. by fugazi and bad brains. minor threat and mos def. jill scott and dead prez. woody guthrie and steve earle. my national identity and english pride comes from the smiths, joy division and the libertines. these are things that matter deeply to me. in times of crisis, this music was there for me. in times of need, it was there. in times of joy, it was there. jo, steve and john introduced me to new and old. mainstream and underground. the typical and the truly bizarre. they fed, and continue to feed my soul.

milwaukee, wisconsin. land of cheese and beer. the place in which i find myself right now. milwaukee and i have had a difficult relationship. love and hate. joy and despair. gratitude and frustration. one thing that has always struck me about this city is that the people from here, are proud to be from here. they are proud to be from milwaukee. its not glamorous, its not metropolitan, its not a big city. its a blue collar town and they're proud of it. and because of this, i think, milwaukee has an awesome tradition of supporting local business. if its made or grown or brewed in milwaukee. the people support it. big time. almost to a creepy uber-proud way. local independent business thrived here.
at least thats what i thought. notice the past tense in the previous sentence, "thrived".
it seems as though milwaukee has turned its back on its own. brew-city has said "fuck you!" to the indie, in favor of mass market corporations.
i found out last week, as did most of the city, that one such indie, a milwaukee institution of 20yrs, atomic records is to close in february of 2009. people here obviously seem content to buy generic, safe, middle-of-the-road top 40 hits at best buy and wal-mart. or simply steal the music from some random internet site or news group. milwaukee has turned its back on independent music.

another milwaukee institution is under threat. wmse. 91.7fm. true independent radio. the station is completely funded by its listeners. no corporate backers, no private ownership with deep pockets, no government assistance. for the people by the people. twice a year they hold a membership drive. a fund raiser to gather the operating budget for the next 6 months. $125,000. compared to other stations their budget is minuscule. the majority of the dj's and staff are volunteers. no playlists. no commercials. no hidden agenda. just music. good music. music that you won't hear anywhere else.
since moving to milwaukee this station has taken the place of jo whiley and steve lemacq. the music i hear everyday intrigues me, baffles me, confuses me, fills me with feeds my soul.

this past membership drive wmse fell short of their $125,000 goal. the people of milwaukee, again seem to have turned their backs on their own. they have forsaken them.
its for this reason that 91.7 is holding a 12hr pledge-drive marathon. this friday, december 12th. from 6am til 6pm. to try and make up the last $12,000 of their budget.

please help. don't allow this institution to fall by the way side. without your help there is no station. without your help 91.7fm will be nothing but static. dead air. 414.799.1917

don't let the music die

john peel

Monday, December 1, 2008

the new york report

so, here it is. the highly anticipated blog about my very brief thanksgiving trip to nyc.
wednesday nov 26th 3pm
kai and i leave milwaukee on amtrak headed for chicago. this is the first leg of a mammoth 24hr journey to new york city. 90mins of very uneventful travel and we arrive in the windy city. union station. with 2 and a half hrs to kill we eat some disappointing pseudo-mexican food and chain smoke, because washington dc is 18hrs away and there's probably gonna be very few smoke breaks.
its 6:30pm and they just announced that our train is boarding, and the somewhat peaceful waiting room has just been turned into an everyman-for-himself rumble to get onto the train. strollers are knocked over. babies are trampled underfoot. the elderly are left to fend for themselves whilst clutching bags so large three porters would struggle to life them...get the idea?

chicago to washington, dc.
this was one hell of a journey. 18hrs on a train. sleeping whilst sitting upright. trying not to fall over when walking down the aisle because the train is rocking so much. not exactly pleasant, but it was bearable.

any longer and i think i'd have gone insane. but we did it. and the view from the train was absolutely stunning. pennsylvania is absolutely beautiful.

this picture really doesn't do it justice, but its from a moving train, cut me some slack!

thursday nov 27th 1:30pm

washington dc. union station. wait a second....union station to union station, did we just go in an 18hr circle? washington, dc itself (well whats around the station,
anyway) is really cool.

the ride from washington to new york was fairly uneventful. only 3hrs. no biggie after the 18hr marathon we just endured. however this did keep me entertained all the way from philly into nyc

thursday nov 27th 7pm. new york city.

by rights i should be absolutely exhausted. 24hrs of travelling. sleeping upright in a chair. no shower. but i'm not. i feel great. there's something about this city. a buzz. an energy. i can't get enough of it. this was my second visit to nyc and i fell in love all over again. the city just reminds me of home. london. people. lots of people. everywhere. there's stuff going on all the time. its absolutely amazing.

after a short subway ride we dump our bags at our friend brian's place, he's also our gracious host for the next 36hrs, and head out for some thanksgiving dinner.
after trying a couple of brian's favorite spots, and finding them all closed, we settle on a traditional thanksgiving meal of sushi. kosher sushi at that.
good food. good conversation. good company. what else in the world could be better?

friday nov 28th

after a late night, its an early start. lots to see and do and very little time to do it all. after a huge breakfast at an upper westside diner we jump on the subway and head for canal st. chinatown. super fun, if a little intense. right out of the subway station there are people trying to sell you every imaginable item under the sun. some of which i question the authenticity. louis viton bags for $40. are they really that cheap now, who knew?
the side streets were a little more managable. less crowded. less noisy. easier to navigate.
new experience #1.... bubble tea. its kinda like frogspawn at the bottom of a cup of iced tea. weird.
we find a small city park and decide to chill there for a while and wait for another friend to join us. rp, a native of queens. if there is a stereotypical new yorker its rp. he's awesome. we chill in colombus park for a while waiting. watching.

chinese guys gambling at tables. doing thai chi. leaving grandma bundled up in a wheelchair while going off to do something else. whatever it was, it must have taken a while because she was still there, all bundled in blankets when we left.

coffee. we need coffee. just so happens that i know of a great little hole-in-the-wall coffee joint. up-state new york and williamsburg favorites, gimme! coffee recently opened a store on manhattan. mott st. in soho. a short walk from chinatown.
the new gimme! spot is great. standing room only,
not because all the seats are taken but because there are no seats. no tables. nothing. get in...get your coffee...get out.

after a killer espresso and a super sweet capp we head north through soho. just walking around the street of new york is so much fun. loud. obnoxious. dirty. just like home.
new experience #2... a real new york hot dog. so bad but so good.

more walking. soho. west village. chelsea. west to the hudson river and a glance at new jersey and the statue of liberty. south through the meat packing district. the food network studio and then into a cab. john's on bleecker.
truly the best pizza in new york. its absolutely awesome. some more coffee at a little bakery down the street from john's. and then pedicures for everyone... brian is one of the funniest people i know. he had us in fits of laughter the entire time.

as everyone was having fun with their feet i left to see a friend who'd just moved to new york for work. we talked all things coffee and all things new york. i reconnected with the gang in union square and decided, rather than freezing our asses off on the staten island ferry, we'd go up the empire state building to get a view of the city at night. touristy, i know. but it was amazing. in a city so manic. so fast paced. so bustling. so loud. its amazing how calm and serene the city looks from up there.

enough. can't stand the tourist trap anymore. get out get out. easier said than done. 86 floors up. 2 elevators. 2 gift shops. some abusive photographers trying to sell us a terrible picture of ourselves. and we're out. a brisk walk through time square. well as brisk as possible, with a seething throng of people all seemingly walking in the other direction. and food again. thai food. again really good. and then back to brian's place to pass out. 14hrs on the go and sleep is shouting my name louder than the honk of the cab drivers horns.

saturday nov 29th
another early start. our train leaves at 11:05 from penn station. breakfast at another upper westside diner. chalah toast. mmmmm good. then its back to brian's to grab our bags and catch a cab to the station. then its a nice relaxing 22hr train ride home.....

Thursday, November 20, 2008

more info on new york city

so. new york, new york. the town so good they named it twice.
kai and i are gonna be there for thanksgiving. only just.
we're riding the train out there. which pretty much means we are gonna spend more time on the train than we are actually in new york. roughly 48hrs on the train and 36hrs in the city.
seems kinda weird, right? well actually, no. not really. the train ride is part of the adventure.
now i'm not sure if the average american reader will really understand this but, for a european, that would be me, riding the train is a very ordinary thing. its an easy way of travelling. especially in the uk. there are train stations everywhere. and i do mean everywhere. from big cities to little towns to a collection of two houses and a barn which calls itself a village. there are stations everywhere.
so its super easy and convenient. here on the other hand, it seems to be the exact opposite. unless you're on the east coast, tell someone you're gonna ride the train and they look at you like you've got three heads.

maybe its some weird sentimental thing, reminding me of my childhood. maybe its another americana, wild west type thing i just need to get out of my system. who knows. who cares. i'm looking forward to the train ride as much as i am the time in new york. care free travel. the potential to meet some strange friends on the train, or at the stations during smoke breaks. and then new york at the end of it all. exciting exciting exciting.

good coffee. good food. good people watching.

Friday, November 14, 2008

who's flynn?

so, during an IM conversation today i heard, or more accurately read the expression 'in like flynn', baffled and confused by this i pushed for an explanation. and more specifically, who the fuck is this flynn person?
unable to get any sort of reasonable answer from kai, i took matters into my own hands.

so, who is flynn?

“What is the derivation of in like Flynn?”

Reference books almost universally assert that this set phrase, an American expression meaning to be successful emphatically or quickly, especially in regard to sexual seduction, refers to the Australian-born actor Errol Flynn. His drinking, drug-taking and sexual exploits were renowned, even for Hollywood, but the phrase is said to have been coined following his acquittal in February 1943 for the statutory rape of a teenage girl. This seems to be supported by the date of the first example recorded, in American Speech in December 1946, which cited a 1945 use in the sense of something being done easily.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


having no actual family in milwaukee i've decided to ride the train out to new york for thanksgiving. lots of time on the train. very little time actually in the city. but, as my grandmother always says; fuck it. we'll have fun.

expect more updates on nyc soon. or don't, and then you won't be disappointed when i can't be bothered to post anything.

crazy japanesse stuff

has anyone used a siphon brewer? or a vacpot?
anyone have any idea what they are? no, well allow me to enlighten you dear reader.
they're a style of coffee brewer found predominantly in japan and asia. and they turn your local neighborhood coffee shop into a chemistry lab.

the idea behind it is super simple. water starts in the bottom. heat is added, in our case a pathetic little burner with denatured alcohol (what is denatured alcohol, anyway? surely the nature of alcohol is to be alcoholic. to denature it implies taking the alcohol out. but then its just water, and that doesn't burn? hmmmm....i'm confusing myself)....

the water boils and rises into another container filled with coffee grounds.

the grounds are allowed to steep for a set amount of time in the upper container. the liquid stays up there because the heat from the burner creates a vacuum....

then the burner is removed. this breaks the vacuum and allows gravity to pull the coffee through a cloth filter and back into the lower container.
coffee chemistry 1.01 simple.

now, how does it taste?
james freemon, owner of blue bottle cafe. who has a dedicated siphon bar in his store says:
“Siphon coffee is very delicate,” he said. “It’s sweeter and juicier, and the flavors change as the temperature changes. Sometimes it has a texture so light it’s almost moussey.”

so did we achieve anything close to that? kinda, yeah!

FTO Ethiopian Natural Sidamo Suanta Golba, from Zephyr Green Coffee Importers.

the dry fragrance was super super sweet. loads of red fruit. ripe cherry and red grapes. the aroma was completely different. nothing but earl grey. seriously. it was like smelling a cup of tea. floral notes, bergamot and tannin.

on the first few sips there was lots of mucilage. the remnant of the coffee cherry that remains on the bean because of the way it was processed. it can taste fibrous, vegetative and kinda fermented.
after getting past the taste of the process the sidamo really came to life. clean, with a ton of red berries. under ripe sweet cherries. sweet but not super sickly sweet.
an awesome balanced body and acidity. sweet and orange citrus. the finish was smooth and clean, with the bergamot coming back and adding a nice floral end.

this post is so late its almost comical

halloween spent with minor threat and the misfits aka get rad and children in heat

friday october 31st. all hallows eve. halloween.
what to do....what to do?
dressing up in costume? not likely. its never really been something i've done. not as a kid and not now. i've just never been comfortable doing it. and, as anyone who knows me will attest, i'm not fun to be around when i'm not comfortable in what i'm wearing. i don't really know why? self image issues? low self-esteem? taking myself too seriously? all of the above? i really have no idea.

so, weeks ago i was told about an awesome gig coming up at the cactus club. a night full of punk and hardcore cover bands, on halloween. could it get any better?

friday night rolls around and i have a house party to attend and the show at the cactus club to get to.
the third annual ghoulie gala at ben and lora's was fun. ridiculously over the top, with a cemetery in the back yard, decorations all over the house, cookies shaped like fingers and a dog dressed as sherlock holmes. and costumes, my word were there costumes. jack the ripper and one of his victims, john and yoko, charlie chaplin/hitler....i wasn't quite sure which?
the fun and booze flowed freely, and as people began to show the effects of the latter i took that as my cue to leave and head to the gig.

the halloween bash at the cactus club was an interesting affair. i got to the club around 11pm and i'm sure it was already over capacity. the bar was packed, i know its always difficult to navigate through the bar when there's a show in the back room because the place is so narrow, but this was seriously full. arseholes to elbows. getting into the back room was no problem, $8 and go right on through. enjoy the carnage.
the back room was even worse. kinda dangerously full. i'm sure if there was a fire we'd all be crispy.
get rad, aka minor threat, were just about to start. unable to move any further i watched from the very back, getting hit by the door everytime someone entered the mayhem or took a breather at the bar.
first song and the room explodes. guilty of being white. almost the entire room is engulfed in a circle pit, bodies are flying everywhere. stage dives. crowd surfing. people hanging from the ceiling rafters. and thats pretty much how the entire set went. utterly wonderful chaos.

i guess i can take this opportunity to say that my assumption about the type of kids who go to the cactus club was completely wrong. i assumed that everyone would be far too cool to dress up. my oh my was i wrong. zombies. gnomes. lance armstrong. motorcycle crash victims and many more.

children in heat, aka the misfits.... well i don't really have too much to say about the misfits. i was still sick, and coughing so badly i almost puked. i went home.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

day 2 at wmse

so today was the second day of my volunteer work at wmse. i know yesterday's post was kinda brief, but i was actually in the studio while i was posting....should give you an idea of how slow the pledge drive has been, and how desperately the station needs your cash money.
helping out down at the station has been something i've wanted to do for a long time. i've known tom, the station manager since i arrived in milwaukee almost 3 years ago, and i've never actually followed through and done it until now. it felt really good to know that i was doing more than just giving money. there are other ways to help out.

fun was had by all. some money was raised. and i actually got on the air. scary!
i've recorded some promo spots for the station in the past, and i'll continue to do them for as long as they want me to. but being live on air waas a weird experience.

feeling somewhat impowered by being there and helping out, i announced to erin that if she played a song for me i'd give another $50 to the pledge drive. she totally called my bluff and told me to grab the record from the archive. whilst trying to find the right track she announced, live on air, that she was handing the mic over to me. urgh!

i don't really know what the hell i said but all seemed to go pretty well. i didn't swear. there was no dead air. and the record got played.

go check it out in the archive section of the website for tuesday november 11th here:

we might have run over a little, so some of it might appear at the start of cosmo's show, right here:

7seconds: walk together. rock together.
and keep giving money to keep a milwaukee institution on the air

Monday, November 10, 2008

support a milwaukee institution

greetings fair reader.
i have to ask something of you.
something very close to my heart is in need of help.... wmse. a radio station in milwaukee.
91.7fm wmse is a community supported radio station. by that i mean they are completely funded by their listeners. they're a noncommercial station that relies on volunteers for everything. events, answering phones, dj's...everything.
twice a year they hold their membership drive. its a way of raising the $125,000 operating budget for the next 6months. compaired to other stations, $125,000 is nothing! other stations need 3 times that to run.

wmse is the best station in the city. seriously. volunteer dj's play what they want when they want. anything from punk to blues. hip-hop to surf guitars. roots reggae to classical. there's something for everyone.

listen online at and if you like what you hear donate. please.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

octane 2.0

after kinda working out the atlanta transit system last night i decided to try and get back to octane one more time before leaving atlanta and heading home to the cold and grey (or more likely dreaded white) of wisconsin.
this time it was super easy. a short train ride and hop on the bus, bingo. i'm stood outside atl's best coffee bar once more.

this time it's danielle how greet me as i stumble inside. another seasoned serbc and usbc competitor.
spro... super sweet and syrupy. bakers chocolate and cream. with a pleasant acidity in the finish.

after i was through with my spro, danielle brought over a chemex of finca mauritania from el salvador.
sweet plum and dried fruit up front. syrupy body. kinda dry finish, but still with a load of plum sweetness.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


so after spending four and a half days in the middle of nowhere, GA. i was craving some good coffee. hell, i was craving anything that wasn't folgers.

i left the family at the airport, headed home to merry ol' england, and i jumped on the marta headed for 5points.

the little sister and i on the way to the airport

subway map understood? check. checked into hotel? errr... check. know where i'm going? check. and i was off to octane.

apparently i'm not particularly good at judging distances. because what i thought would be a 20min walk ended up being closer to an hour. through some neighborhoods i wouldn't walk at night.
but non-the-less i arrive at octane. a little later than i'd have liked, but who cares. i'm here. bring on the coffee!

i have to make a confession. i actually walked past the store initially, and had to double back about a block. the exterior is absolutely not what i was expecting. the "b" in the address made me think it'd be a basement dive-bar type deal, which would have been just fine by me. but no.... turns out its the joint corner unit of a strip-mall type deal. the interior is super dark with a long red brick exterior wall. there are separate stations on the bar, one dedicated to espresso and one to beer and wine. ben is the barista on tonight, he's stood in front of the three group lm linea as i walk in. he also happens to be the SE chapter rep for the bga, a seasoned usbc competitor, and a really nice guy.

the first order of business is my introduction to counter culture's espresso. served in a classic, plain white nuova point demitasse, i was excited. kinda peppery in the aroma and the initial taste, followed up with bittersweet bakers chocolate. so so good.
next up was a cappuccino. this time served in sweet black ceramic. i've gotta say i was kinda surprised. it was super wet, honestly more like a 5oz latte than a cap. and it was a little hot.... but looking past those things it as still super sweet and creamy, with a load of espresso flavor coming through. counter cultures' spro really cuts through milk!

goodbyes were said. coffee was purchased, to prolong the geeking out at home. and that was it. octane is a truly awesome coffee bar, and thoroughly deserves the reputation they've achieved recently.

back to milwaukee tomorrow. back to my bar. back to the cold. grrrrr

the joy of airline travel?

you know what i hate the most about airline travel? the packing in of people like cattle, giving us only enough room to sway our heads, in true bovine style? the crappy microwaved food most likely impregnated with some sort of pathogen? the guy in front who has his seat reclined all the way back from take off to landing, who therefore has the top of his inevitably bald head in my face the entire journey? these would all be good guesses but alas, they'd all be wrong. for me, the worst thing about airline travel is the coffee at the airport.

yesterday i was forced to stoop this low. now i know that the coffee industry owes ☆$'s a huge debt. but the coffee
is just bad. cafe verona, thick syrupy body with a load of burnt hazelnut and not very much else.

so after being legally violated going through security, i arrive at my gate expecting to be boarding anytime soon, only to be told that the flight has been delayed, for apparently absolutely no discernible reason. another luxury of air travel, being treated like an idiot by patronising flight attendants. the flight itself wasn't too bad. nothing amazing, nothing terrible. just ok.
upon arrival in atlanta i'm greeted by family i haven't seen for too long. some almost three years and some even longer. suddenly all the airport nonsense seems unimportant. this is why i came down here to spend some much needed time with family.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

two days of sickly cupping

i must preface this by saying i was, and unfortunately still am, sick. my head is full of enough mucus to sink the proverbial "ship" and my muscles ache to the extent that i question what i've been doing in my sleep.
so, you get the idea. the pallet isn't what it could be. that being said, i was the one pushing for regular cuppings at the store so i felt compelled to take part, flu-shaped handicap and all.

tuesday oct 21st.
why do i feel the need to preface everything i say with some feeble excuse or explanation for my shortcomings...?
i showed up at the cupping after he crusts were broken and after the samples had cooled somewhat, so my notes weren't as comprehensive as i'd have liked. but what is a boy to do? my bar shift finished at 11, and steve and matt (somewhat excitable roaster and super-chill owner, respectively) started the proceedings at 1045.
on the table was a new mexican chiapas onix, a guatemalan, a bolivian (again my half-assed notes let me down... and all this sickness prevents me from remembering the specifics for the guat and bolivian, sorry) and a new sample of an ethiopia harrar from the wonderful boys at atlas.

guatemala: a good medium-heavy body with super dark bakers chocolate throughout with a surprising subtle acidity. not much to speak of, but a little snap on the sides of the tongue. the finish was kinda dry, which combined with the snappy acidy in a strange, and not necessarily pleasant way.

bolivia: a mouthful of chocolate and hazelnuts, some dry tobacco with a pleasant clean finish.

mexican chiapas onix: hmmmm.... my notes really let me down here;
"good chiapas" and "boring" were the extent of them.

ethiopia harrar: now this was the stand out on the table. a superb cup and everything i was hoping for from the birthplace of all of this nonsense. great body, not too thin, not too thick and heavy. super sweet with buckets of blueberry and sweet cherry notes, with a clean lime acidity in the finish.


on my way home i stopped into alterra to see superstar barista sL, and after shooting some shit and a killer single shot (pulled kinda short with some "oh so sweet" cherries in the finish) i was presented with the remainder of an, obviously much enjoyed, ethiopia sedoma from batdorf&bronson.


wednesday oct 22nd.
cupping the sedoma from b&b was equal parts wonderful and frustrating. wonderful because its awesome, and frustrating because of my mucus-filled head and the coffee was obviously not super fresh.

i couldn't tell you what the dry fragrance was. seriously. i got nothin'. damn snot-filled head. but the wet aroma was full of bergamot and lemongrass. the body was evident from before the beans were even ground, roasted of the lighter side with a really drinkable body. a pleasant snappy citric acidity with loads of bergamot, cocoa and bakers chocolate in the finish. as it cooled a nice berry sweetness came through the cup.

Monday, October 20, 2008

the first blog proper

i've been stuck in milwaukee, wisconsin for far too long. and by that i don't mean i've been actively trying to leave for any considerable period of time. i simply mean that i haven't actually left the city for more than a day in almost a year. its certainly time to get the fuck out for a while.
destination? atlanta, georgia. ATL or the diiiirty south, whichever you prefer.
why atlanta? to see the family. oh my, its been too long. i moved to this drunken suburb of chicago almost 3 yrs. and i haven't really seen much of my family since. mum. nana. uncle. aunt. 2 cousins. have all converged in ted turners city and now seems like a good time to see alot of people in a short space of time. not to mention, its about a third of the cost of transatlantic air travel. although, my o my, i really do miss england.

so. atlanta here i come. and just an added note, whilst i'm down in the south, it'd be terribly rude of me if i didn't stop in @ octane and say hello. they've been throwing down in the south-east region and nationally for a while now, and i want to see what its all about.....more about this in time *promise*

the first blog post

i guess i should start with some sort of introduction....
there is nothing tangible about albion espresso bar. it doesn't actually exist, yet. albion is the coffee house that i dream of opening. some day, possibly in the future, probably not in the past, it'll be open and i'll be able to chronical my freak-outs and verbose meanderings about being a coffeeshop owner into the ether. but for now, this is my space to collect idea's and inspirations. share experiences. express thought. and hopefully learn more than a few things.