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How I Became A Coffeegeek by Aaron De Lazzer
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jester
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Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 33
Location: Vancouver
Expertise: Professional

Posted Fri Jan 25, 2002, 1:00am
Subject: How I Became A Coffeegeek by Aaron De Lazzer
 

How I Became A Coffeegeek
by Aaron De Lazzer

A shamelessly selfish synopsis of how I became a Coffeegeek. Make yourself an espresso, you're going to need it.
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MarkPrince
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Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,582
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: KvdW Speedster
Grinder: Compak K10 WBC
Vac Pot: A bit too many
Drip: Clive Coffee Drip Stand
Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Sat Jan 26, 2002, 2:52am
Subject: uh oh...
 

Man Aaron, you're depressing the crap outta me :-)

You started off shiny and happy, but dragged it down. You better pull the rabbit out next week (start off drag downish, then finish off all shiny and happy :)

Oh but, yeah... I agree with Aaron. In fact, with all my chats with him, I fear I may have dragged him down even to my level of having z/e/r/o respect for the barista scene in Vancouver these days... :-(

One day....

one day, the espressonazi™ will come, and while there will be no tolerance, there WILL be great espresso in Vancouver, once again. buwhahahahahahah.

Mark
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sinkr
Senior Member
sinkr
Joined: 1 Jan 2002
Posts: 3
Location: Solomons, Maryland (near Washington, DC)
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Isomac Millennium-Plumbed
Grinder: La Cimbali Junior
Vac Pot: Cona Model D
Drip: Are you kidding?
Roaster: Hearthware Precision +...
Posted Tue Jan 29, 2002, 1:56pm
Subject: Re: uh oh...
 

Well, I've been to the Seattle/Vancouver area recently and was pretty-much enchanted (for a number of reasons) with the pacific northwest.  While Charbucks litters every corner there, pretty much here as in the Washington, DC area, I was pleased to see the number of espresso shops that I did.

Did I find particularly good coffee while in Seattle/Vancouver?  Not particularly.  I thought the latte I had @ Pioneer Square (Torrefazione Italia) was pretty damned good and unfortunately, I never did make it to Vivace!, so I failed miserably to hit that and other key seminal sites in your region.

However, imagine living in an area just 55 miles south of Washington,  DC. where there is no culture, no Charbucks, even and the scant few coffee shops there are are terribly mismanged, offering "Seattle's Be(A)st" and other flavored or blended coffees as their starship.  Espresso?  Oh, non-existent.  No one here knows much more than to put the pod in the Faema and "let'r rip."  Typically requesting an espresso w/o any kind of milk/additive will get you looks, but try asking for a red eye or some other concoction....You'll blow someone's mind 'round heah.

I once got in an argument with a lady who I was otherwise good friends with, who managed the coffee bar in a high-end grocery store over roast and "prime time" for beans' freshness.  She simply (for marketing and sales reasons) didn't want to accept the fact that beans that were roasted over a week ago were simply out of their prime.  I mean, heck, they're probably already a week old by the time they get UPS'd to them and end up on the shelves, let alone before they're bought and most certainly consumed.

Therefore, given my current situation, I would still vote to be in the Vancouver/Seattle area.  Where did my tamper come from?  Vancouver Island (Reg Barber).  Where does most of the resources I rely on come from?  (CoffeeKid/Geek--Vancouver).  Just to name a few.  Imagine living in both a veritable coffee and wine void.  I'd take a medioccre coffee shop once-in-a-while over a crappy or non-existent one just for a little change of pace.
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barebeans
Senior Member
barebeans
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 49
Location: Vancouver
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Nuova Simonelli Oscar,...
Grinder: Gaggia
Roaster: i-Roast2, popcorn
Posted Tue Feb 5, 2002, 2:07am
Subject: Re Re uh oh
 

I grew up in Europe (Hungary) and have been drinking coffe since a young age.
My mom used to work in cafe shops and I wached her roasting beans many times, you know nothing fancy or sophisticated, in a pan on the stove, but she had a real knack for it.
She let me work those big old, manual machines sometimes and I really ejoyed it.
They weighed a ton, took a half an hour to heat up and you really needed to muscle them brutes, but they were built to last, all metal and chrome.

There were two kinds of coffee the one you had for breakfast, sweet, boiled in a pot with milk.
And the other coffee ESPRESSO, when you asked in a shop for a coffee or as they call kave, you got espresso.
It was dark and strong and if you wanted they would add your choice of alkoholic beverage.
After a few of those you were not only buzzed, but bombed too, good old days.
There was no drip coffee, nobody would have believed it was actually made from coffee beans.

Anyway, I started my homebrewing with the stove top aluminum pots and than stainless.
About 5 years ago bought my Estro Profi, now I think it's time for a new machine and on top of my list is the Isomac Tea.
Not long ago I got into roasting, now I am deeper then I ever wanted into the art of espresso, though still at the novice level, hoping to learn or steal some of Aaron's secrets.

I recall the best ever espresso I had, was in Trieste in a trendy coffee shop by the sea on Piazza Della Republica.
At the next table I recognized a well known Italian actor, but I don't remember his name.
This was perhaps 25 years ago and I've been back to the same place just a few years ago, but the espresso was not the same anymore.
Some day I would like to spend more time in Italy, to discover great espresso, great people and great food.
In the meantime my quest continues here in Vancouver and I am happy to say in the process I have met some of the nicest people.
Ciao
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jester
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Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 33
Location: Vancouver
Expertise: Professional

Posted Thu Feb 7, 2002, 12:26am
Subject: Re: uh oh...
 

I hear what you're saying, I really do.  I realize that the Pacific Northwest is like coffee nirvana compared to most anywhere else in North America when it comes to cafe culture and sheer density of coffee shops.  There are a few exceptional roasters, baristas etc. that do a bang up job and really take coffee to the "specialty" level, flirting with the cutting edge of blending, roasting and espresso preparation.  However, in Vancouver I would be hard pressed to name one in one hundred shops that deserved to belong to this select group.  The difference between where you live and where we are here is that where you only have one shop to go to for an awful espresso or for a glazed look when you order a "red eye?!?!" I  have hundreds of shops to chose from for the same experience.  I'm not sure we're much further ahead here in Vancouver than you are in Washington.  Shocking I know.  
Things improve significantly when you cross the border and get down to Seattle.  There is a seriousness and a professionalism towards espresso that does my heart good and renews my hope for the future of coffee/espresso in Vancouver.  We'll see how things shake down in another 5 years.  What will be interesting is seeing what happens when Tim Horton's comes to town.  Huge across the rest of the country, they have only in the last year made a push into Vancouver.  For $2 you get a donut and a coffee.  The quality of either won't change your life but it ain't bad in a pinch either.  There are waaaaay more people who will be very satisfied with such an offering.  I think that the pretenders in the "specialty" segment of the market who have ignored training and maintenance will be caught with their pants down.  Hopefully they'll decide to get serious and suddenly be jolted into reality and the need to invest in their coffee program...the coffee program which up to this point has been paying the bills but that they've been reluctant to invest even a $100 in.  "New grinder burrs cost how much?!?!  Oh no, I don't want to pay that much..."
Don't get caught up in the "grass is greener on the other side" thinking.  I'm on the other side, and it's not greener.  I know it looks like it is but really it's not.  :)
Aaron
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jester
Moderator


Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 33
Location: Vancouver
Expertise: Professional

Posted Thu Feb 7, 2002, 12:45am
Subject: Re: Re Re uh oh
 

Thanks for sharing your story.  I love how many people have fond memories of their family and coffee.  Everyone's parents seemed to have some sort of coffee ritual associated with their habit.  Whether they roasted the beans in the kitchen, brewed it some special way or only bought a certain type of coffee...Eight o'clock coffee from A&P-100% Colombian or Bokar, ground in a Braun blade grinder, brewed in a single cup Melitta cone.  Few things made my father happier at 3 in the afternoon.
Something about coffee (& drugs in general :)) that lends it to a ritual nature.  A way of marking time almost.  Might have to research some of the current trends and rituals in coffee preparation by the afficianados that read the site.  The order that things are performed...often arbitrary yet sooo critical.

Also interesting how marked certain coffee experiences are in our minds.  "The best shot of espresso I ever had was at Cafe X...I was rubbing my La Marzocco key chain at the time, 3:28 in the afternoon.  I paid with exact change and the barista pulled the shot twice...my life has never been the same since and i have yet to experience coffee that even comes close to that fateful day.  *Eyes closed, deep sigh*

What is it about coffee?
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