Archive for Houston

SCAA 2011 Recap

Posted in Coffee of Course with tags , , , , , on May 7, 2011 by whyyoushouldhatecoffee

First off, Houston is a pretty lousy city (in terms of weather, from my Minnesota perspective). It was 70-85, super humid and always cloudy. It was 32 in Minneapolis. I arrived Monday, for the USBC judges workshop Tues. & Weds. And then the exposition/competitions Thurs.-Mon.

The coffee scene, is pretty rockin. More than I expected anyways. Catalina rocks a Linea Paddle a bunch of Mazzers and a V60 bar (Amaya coffee, and a rotating). Revival Market had an old Faema E61 that looked sweet! A Mazzer Major, and Chemex (Brown, Amaya, Ritual were all there when I stopped) I wasn’t able to stop out to Green way, but I heard good things!

The cocktail scene, was rather impressive. We stopped at a bar the first night that had an old Slush machine labeled Moscow Mule.
Anvil was super awesome! Classic cocktails, Tiki Tuesdays, and they had a pretty incredible liquor selection. Rittenhouse Rye well, lots of Mescal cocktails, cold draft ice and beautiful glassware. We spent some time there Tuesday, getting acquainted and then again Sunday for the BGA party.

The convention center was Red White and Blue and rather reminiscent of the Titanic with Red Smoke stacks paired up. Heck the whole inside was Red White and Blue too. I was pretty excited about that.

I went through the judges certification which seems like a drawn out regional certification. Lots of hypothetical questions, lots of getting off topic and distracted. Details. A lot of us were there trying to figure it out, from a competitor perspective. The nitty gritty is confusing if not simply subjective extrapolation of the rules and regs. Like a lot of things in the SCAA and BGA it shows a lot of potential for what the judging criteria could be in the future. There are a lot of things that are not perfect, but for what it is, the judging criteria is the best we have. I’m excited to see where it goes in the next few years.

I went to Houston for a few reasons. Mostly to judge the USBC and everyone involved with it. Secondly to see the brewers cup/cup tasters championships. Lastly to see the show floor (sometimes there’s exciting new stuff)

I don’t think enough words can be said for the amount of energy put into barista competition and how at home I feel with everyone involved with the USBC and the SCAA expo. Like a family reunion, that’s pleasant.

I really wish I could have spent more time checking out the brewers cup, simply for the sake that I think it could do a lot for brewed coffee in the Café environment. Which I think is super important, especially with the number of shops switching over to by-the-cup offerings, which are arguably poorly crafted compared to fetco extractors.

Lastly, the show floor. My first stop was The La Marzocco USA booth. Rightfully so. They had two Stradas, one decked out with Marco über scales built into the drip tray, with auto-taring after 3 seconds. Groovy! Secondly, the über boiler has a new chip, that allows it to read in degrees F and has some new boiler settings that I’m really excited to get installed at Dogwood. Second stop was the Synesso booth. I was a bit confused. They seem to be switching over to semi-auto groups. Or giving dual options. Seemed like a bit of a grasp for a new/larger customer base.
Lastly was the Baratza booth. The new grinders seem nice, but I can’t say much for them. I hope they pick up. I don’t have one, and we don’t sell them at Dogwood. I personally think it’s a huge investment, that doesn’t necessarily need to be made for home coffee. Though I’m not too concerned about my home coffee. Personal bias.
Coolest take home from the show: VST 17/18g basket. Holy awesome!
That’s a whole different post.