Friday, November 30, 2012

Disposables via Living Lagom

Allo Espresso Adventurer:

Allow me to introduce the blog Living Lagom, a minimalist who freely expresses her journey of reaching Lagom. What I wanted to share was the idea of reducing the number of disposable cups that she consumes, intentionally or not.

For every cup that she comes in contact with, she donates $1 to a charity of her choice. What she also did was try and pick up a disposable cup and place it in the trash/recycling. Helping with the Litter problem What a great idea.

For that, I give her mucho props (link)

As much as she enjoys her Green Tea Lattes, and frequents coffee shops, why not put a self-imposed "tax/donation" for the use of these cups///

Some of you may use travel mugs, or KeepCups, or even good old ceramic/stay and sip cups.

I'm working very hard to reduce my carbon footprint and stay accountable with conscious acts such as this. 

As such, in 2013, I too will track the disposables I use and decide on where I too will donate my monies.

Happy December, and the start of year end.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Connecting people

Being able to talk and share our passions is what drives me to continue my personal quest in developing a fine tuned palate  It's the enjoyment of these flavours from coffee,  that drives me to keep testing, talking and "geek-ing" out.

Toronto is privvy to some amazing coffee roasters, shops and people who are genuinely happy to talk to you about the coffee they serve. One of these amazing people is Adam from Reunion Island.

Kudos on landing a great partnership with Sang Kim (currently working on the Restaurant(s) at 1 Baldwin Street. (more)

Another personal favourite is Fahrenheit Coffee (120 Lombard Street) (Jarvis and Adelaide)... it's their one-year celebrating in their current digs. Home of 2 Canadian Barista Championship finalists, and a bad-ass Della Corta... please go and visit, as all drinks are on the house, and tips go to Movember.

Exciting times as the holiday approaches, where more coffee connections will happen.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Free stuff: Fahrenheit turns one*

Tomorrow, nov 28th. Fahrenheit turns officially one at the new location, mr. Sameer and the gang will be giving out free bevvy -- all drinks, no limitations.
tip will be donated to Movember.

Technically older then one, with original roots on esplanade ... This new location suits us better, with a close hop to yonge/queen, I'm all thumbs up for this birthday celebration.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wendleboe: breaks down coffee costs

In a remarkable written piece by Tim Wendleboe. He examines the true cost of coffee and how it's relatively cheap considering the amount of labour that goes into the production from farm to roast.
/ here is a snap shot of moving towards transparency, beyond labels:

"We payed USD 3.76 per lb of green coffee F.O.B. (Free on board, which means the coffee is delivered to the ship in Colombia for USD 3.76 per lb)
Out of this price, Elias (the farmer) ended up with a total of USD 2.73 per lb.
The $1,03 difference covered the following costs:
  • 45 cents went to the exporter, in this case Mr. Alejandro Renjifo and Fairfield Trading. In Colombia, due to certain problems with other produce in Colombia, the exporter of the coffee needs to have an export license. Farmers do not have this, so they can use any exporter they prefer, but normally it is chosen by the buyer.  Out of the 45 cents, Alejandro has to pay for shipping of samples, export documentation, transport of coffee to the dry mill, transport from the mill to the ship, interest on the pre-financing of the coffee, etc. In addition, Alejandro needs to make a living, pay employees, pay rent on his offices, etc.
  • Coocentral (the cooperative Elias has chosen to work with in Huila) charged 7 cents for pre-financing his coffee (paying Elias the market price for the coffee upon delivery) storage, and quality control. They also provide agronomic assistance, sample preparation, and help Elias with issues he might have.
  • The dry-milling costs 40 cents per lb. The parchment, sticks and stones need to be removed from the coffee. Then, the coffee is sorted on screen size, density and all physical defects are removed by electronic sorting machines. The coffee is then packed in Grain-pro and jute bags to be ready for export.
  • We also had to pay an additional 11 cents for grain-pro bags as this is not standard. Grain-pro bags are an inner plastic bag layer, which further protects the coffee in shipment and storage."
What's interesting point in his piece is the risk to the farmers, and the appetite at which consumers are willing to pay for coffee. The market price hasn't made headlines and still reflect prices from 30 years ago. How can we demand people make a decent wage if the market doesn't value this price....

Full piece here

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

WSJ weighs in on coffee brewing at home

Home dominance, market players.

Time vs quality

Great iconography and peice done by the writers at WSJ.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

the finals

thanks to the lovely smdlr, we get a opportunity to meet the crafters in LA Thursday Night Throwdowns.

Read up more here:

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Local: Coffee for a cause

Te Aro has started a 115 bag production with 100% proceeds going to neighbourhood school; Morse St. Public School in support of their Breakfast program.

A good breakfast allows a child to concentrate, focus and learn without distractions.

Head on over now!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Helping a fellow Barista/Mask Maker

Here is a lovely Barista (from Crema, you can find him at the Danforth/Bloor location.. or that's where I seem to bump into him).

It's ERIC.

He's passionate about coffee but also is a master mask maker.

There is only 9 days left in his campaign, and you should check out his site. donate, and send him to Bali.
Indiegogo Campaign

His website is here

Friday, November 9, 2012

Questions we should be asking

Elections hang-over, CoffeeCupTO hang-over (which we too packed when I went, man it does not pay to give away your advance ticket....), end of week hang-over.

Some thoughtful questions to bombard your barsita.

It still feels off-putting when there is a high tendency for two outcomes.
1) They do not have time, because it's a busy cafe
2) They do not know the answers

It's also tough to scrutinize/ become knowledgeable when you aren't so familiar with the cafe/location. It comparable to asking your best friends questions versus acquaintances... the former is easier than the latter.

There might be other signs that you can use to determine the answer, but ultimately having a great rapport leads to more conversations. Isn't that what we are after.....

(Any thoughts on Peter G's article on perception, placebos, and psychology of the brain - in relation to drinking that cup of coffee -- Is knowledge blind your tastebuds....) Maybe this is why there are higher incidences of double blind cuppings...... or it's just a great test.

Happy Weekend, drink espresso, be merry, and give respect to our veterans!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Conversation: Smdlr x Aida Battle

When there is an opportunity to chat with a coffee producer - we* take it.

There is this organic process which we thrive to attain.... knowing where all of our food originates, how's it's grown, handled and even treated.

Coffee is a fruit, and if coffee producers are placing more care into how it's grown, shouldn't we also maintain a relationship with that farmer... Direct-Trade.

Here is a snap shot of smdlr conversation with much adored Aida Battle in LA (last week) hosted by Handsome Coffee Roasters.

Happy Movember! I know that coffee shops and movember definitely go hand in hand.... referring to the facial hair, not necessarily the cause (but it's a fantastic one)

*we, refers to those that seek to grow within the coffee industry.