My own March Madness

Birthday tiki

To say things have been crazy lately, well, that’s an understatement.

The month started under duress as my wonderful wife and I were informed that we had to move from our wonderful place in the Temescal neighborhood in Oakland. We knew this was coming and had hoped to have a long and leisurely search for our new home. Instead we did a whirlwind, two-week hunt of possible leaving quarters, settling finally on a place near the lake and close downtown.

I know there are some of you out there that have an ill impression of our fair city, and for good reason. It’s not without trepidation that we embark on this adventure in urban living, but we’re hoping for the best. The sun still shines, if only indirectly.

And the timing was excellent, because we found an secured the apartment the day before I celebrated my 30th birthday. We celebrated in style with our families and then headed out to Alameda to one of my favorite local drinking holes, Forbidden Island, where I was treated by the owner to the flaming concoction pictured above.

The following week we celebrated in even grander style, in a combined 30th Birthday/Bye-Bye Backyark BBQ which featured many of my very good friends, a firepit, and a “tremendous in every way” bottle of wine.

These evidence of the ridiculousness in nadja.robot‘s flickr stream, and there’s a podcast that involves the great-singing talents of Drew and Ryan from Ritual. I’m in there too, singing something about puppies and Christmas. Yay wine!

Somewhere along the line, Louis “Louie” Poore came on the scene and decided to compete in the WRBC using Ecco. He’s that kinda guy. So with all that extra free time during my roast days, we worked on a new espresso and some fancy sig drinks.

Then, on last Thursday, Louie cooked up a batch of the Nic CoE which ended up being my 1000 consecutive Firstcup. Way back when, I had planned that this would be the end of the series, but I realized that there’s always new things going on. And now that the camera with the coffee is a habitual thing, I think I’ll stick with it. Maybe I’ll quit at 2000.


Also, big ups to Chris Baca for finally taking the title at this years WRBC. I unfortunately had to miss it due to moving, but I knew he had it in the bag when he texted me last week that his sig drink was the best tasting thing in the United States. I think it would have been even more of a blow out if he’d stuck with my raspberry espresso butter idea, but there’s still time for nationals.

photo taken without asking from who just had a birthday so you know

See you in a few months!



Filed under Coffee, Not Coffee

i win

vs. gabe

vs. baca


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Steve and Abby (Doobie) Ford

September 29th, 2007

(more photos)


Filed under Not Coffee

Gettin’ Hitched

I have to apologize for being so delinquent in my posting to this site. I changed the look a while back and haven’t touched it since. For good reason though as tomorrow Doobie and I will be exchanging our vows before friends and family assembled. A couple of days later we’ll be off on our honeymoon to Vietnam. Can’t say when I’ll be back here to tell you about it, but there will be pictures. Hopefully they’ll be up before Christmas.


Cheers everyone!


Firstcup September 28, 2007


Filed under Coffee, Not Coffee, Wedding

So Much Drama at the USBC

I’m told via text message that our new US Barista Champion is Heather Perry from Coffee Klatch.

I had to leave yesterday, but my pictures thus far are here.

Highlights include:

-Meeting Gabriel Carvahlo Dias (producer of our Screen Dried Yellow Bourbon from Fazenda Cachoeira)

-Jay Caragay’s Quarter Finals Performance

-Jay’s Coffee and Cigarette specialty drink that he served at the BGA booth

-Kyle Larson’s Quarter Finals Performance where he had time to pour a shot for the El Injerto Farmers

-The Latte Art Smackdown at the Intelly Party

-Meeting a bunch of my Barista heros

-The shot Chris Baca pulled for me backstage on Sunday

-my 3 new tampers

That is all.


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Coming soon to a New York near you

So it’s official, after talking about it for a few month’s, next week I’m on my way out to New York City for a little espresso pow-wow with our friends at Cafe Grumpy.

While there, I’m hoping to do some cupping and to get a little time behind the bar, hopefully at both locations. It will be my first time of any significance around a Synesso or a Clover.

It will also be my first time in the City, which is a little daunting, though I’m sure that between visiting all the coffee stops and getting lost on the subway en route, I’ll not doubt be very busy.

I’ll try to keep y’all updated on Flickr when the itinerary get solidified. And if anyone is interested in an impromptu cafe crawl, I would appreciate a guide. Looking forward to meeting everybody!


This week was also a big one for us her at the E.C. as we were able to score bags from three different lots from the 2006 Brazilian CoE, two of which are (nominally) organic! We’re hoping to see these amazing coffees by March. Stay tuned.


Oh, and speaking of far away places, everyone should eventually go to Macedonia. The food is great, the scenery is beautiful, the people are hairy.

Also, it is the home of some really good friends, who after months of talking about it, finally were able to make a little dream of mine come true.

Thanks guys.


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Gettin’ Hitched (engaged anyway!)

First Cup December 17, 2006

Yesterday, I asked Doobie to be my wife. She said yes.
The long of it goes like this.

Doobie and I met 4.5 years ago when I was working as a barista a coffee shop here in Oakland. I had just moved back to California from Seattle and was content to be living like a hermit in my studio apartment. But there was this girl that kept coming into the shop. She was always smiling. In spite of my attitude, I found myself smiling back.

I finally got the nerve to talk to her. She was my age, also from Northern California, and had coincidentally gone to school in Seattle. We marveled at the fact in all the time we had been living just miles from each other, we had never met. She had travelled all over, and was about to depart to Gabon in Africa for a stint in the Peace Corps. I was hooked.

For our first date, we drove to the lighthouse at Point Reyes. She picked me up from work and we set out. Doobie brought sandwiches of avocado and cheese. A safe bet, thinking I might be vegetarian, but never knowing that I hated avocados. Or at least thought I did. Not wanting to ruin the moment, I started in, suprised to find every bite more delicious than the last. This would be the first of many foods I would come around to under Doobie’s watch.

Needless to say, she didn’t go to Africa. Instead we lived in each other’s company, introducing friends and family along the way.

So after all this time, we found ourselves back at that lighthouse in Point Reyes. We walked to a secluded spot that overlooks the Pacific, and with a shaggy deer in attendance, I asked Doobie to be with me always. We laughed and embraced and began to dream.



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Barnett’s Photo dump

Between trips to Ethiopia and Brazil, Ecco Caffè’s roastmaster Andrew Barnett dropped into my lap the posting of some the 700+ photos he took while roaming around East Africa and the Lower West Side.




Since I don’t really know the story behind many of these photos, I invite all of you to MadLib his flickr account. Perhaps that will inspire him to dictate his adventure when he returns from the Brazil CoE, where I’m sure he’ll take another couple hundred photos. If you’re feeling generous can sponser him a pro account, but as I am behind in the posting of my own photos, I’d be ok if you didn’t.


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Waiting for Grumpy

It’s early on a Thursday, and I’m supposed to be getting this roast started. I just wanted to throw out a little good-luck posting to our friends at Cafe Grumpy who (by this hour) should have opened the doors on their second space, this one located in Chelsea.

With their Synesso and TWO Clovers, it’s a Coffeegeek’s dream. For that matter it’s a roasters dream. It’s a great feeling knowing that the best shots of Ecco Reserve are being pulled in New York, thanks to the crack staff headed up by Mr. Humphries.

I’m very excited to take part in this, even from 3,000 miles away. As you know from your required blog reading of the last couple weeks, Andrew was able to do a cupping/tasting of a couple of different coffees, followed a couple of days later by Peter G from Counter Culture (Grumpy’s “drip” coffee provider) and the feedback was excellent. There seems to be a growing community of Barinjas out there (the loss of Chris from Gimme! makes me want to use sad emoticons) similar to what was going on in San Francisco just a year ago.

Congratualtions Grumpies!

Keep your eyes on the updates sure to be seen on the Grumpy Blog as well as Daniel’s.


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The next rage in espresso machines

Maybe Barnett can pick one up next week.


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