Tuesday, April 27, 2010

2010 Barista Championship

One of the more memorable extra-curricular activities at SCAA '10 was the Latte Art Throwdown on the first evening of the show.  The competition was head-to-head with single elimination - but that doesn't mean it went quickly! Each barista had a few pours to get a latte they were happy with, and the crowd helped judge by cheering the lattes (as judged from a big screen feed).  Proceedings were greatly helped by the enthusiastic MC who continually encouraged outed competitors to buy back in for $5.

On a larger scale than the throwdown - the USA Barista Championships were going on from April 15 - 18 in conjunction with SCAA 2010.  In the end Michael Phillips was crowned as the 2010 United States Barista Champion.  Check out the listing of winners on Barista Magazine's Website, and see photos of the competitions on Barista Magazine's Facebook Page.

Monday, April 26, 2010

SCAA - Coffee Circus in Anaheim

A note from Coffee Catcher co-inventor, Nate Jones:
"SCAA was a blast.  It was one giant circus, complete with clowns (coffee aphrodisiacs anyone?), ringleaders, sideshows and food your stomach regrets. At times, I felt lost in all the chaos, but my job was clear: set up an attractive booth and brew the best coffee possible. We warmed up our Zojirushi boiler, set out our scale and proudly displayed our coffees: Estate Honduras from Water Ave. Coffee and a very special Lake Toba Sumatra from Herkimer Coffee.
"Friday and Saturday were crazy, with lots of cafe owners, media people and company execs trolling the booths. Many of them stopped to ask about the Coffee Catcher and some (if they weren't over-caffeinated!) tasted the Coffee Catcher difference in our coffee. Visions Espresso even created new Coffee Catcher fans by doing a head-to-head tasting between a traditional French press and a Coffee Catcher-assisted press.
By Sunday, everyone was dressed casually and exhausted. During my times away from the booth, I got a chance to try out the new Synesso concept machine, visit with friends at the Slayer booth and check out the new Bunn Trifecta coffee maker. Boothmate Tom Pikaart of PouredOver was in hot demand, he even took a turn manning the Roust About Slayer booth (formerly Hario USA).
"The coffee world is huge! A whole part of the show was all about drink containers - thankfully most were being touted as reuseable or compostable this year. There were syrup people. And the cookie and snack food people. There were even water people! To make tasty coffee, water needs to contain a certain percentage of dissolved minerals (in most places, you get pretty close from the tap) and companies like EverPure are devoted to filtering and adjusting the mineral balance in water so that the cafe can focus on producing quality coffee from that water.

"The activity wasn't limited to the trade-show floor. On Friday evening, a large cross-section of the convention piled into buses and headed into LA to the Intelligentsia Roastery for a big coffee shindig. Intelligentsia brought in Brat trucks, $2.50 tacos and plenty of ale courtesy of Eagle Rock Brewery (with whom they are producing a coffee beer).  DJ's were throwing tunes from the coffee storage lofts and barkeeps were pulling espressos from hand-held mypressi TWISTs.
The whole party was worth it for a look at Intelligentsia's LA roaster. Wow. What a beauty. The roaster's an old German machine from mid-century. It's built with super-thick walls and a double-barreled construction for thermal stability. There are two separate heat sources (air and direct) and belly dump doors so the coffee is removed super quickly when it reaches the right point. The whole thing was painted with Intelligentsia orange trim and hooked up to a laptop for detailed roast profiling. (I've attached some pictures below.)

"The show was a big success for the Coffee Catcher. We made contact with a couple of big distributors who could help us to reach market more quickly, and we met and made friends with many coffee people and companies from around the world. Enjoy the pictures!

Tom is so happy to start work! :)

Brewing endless French presses...

Intelligentsia Roaster pic 1

Intelligentsia Roaster pic 2

Tom dons a Slayer shirt and tamps for the team.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

notes on a Victrola cupping

Nate Jones, co-inventor of the Coffee Catcher, at a recent cupping with Austin Bustad of Victrola Coffee (Seattle, WA):
I enjoyed tasting the Coffee Catcher difference on Victrola's production line equipment at the 15th Ave. location, using a metal press and a thermos. Austin and tasted an El Salvador that was fairly well-balanced.  Austin enjoyed the clean Coffee Catcher taste and was really surprised at how the coffee held up over time in a thermos. At 1 hour, he observed "this is exactly the same cup." After two hours, the coffee had decayed some, but not to the point where coffee would traditionally be at 1 hour, if that makes sense.  He's eager to try the Coffee Catcher again to explore coffee lifetime more specifically.
Also, we talked for a long time about coffee producers and the different trade arrangements made with them from country to country. Some countries, particularly in central America, have laws that make it easy for coffee farmers to work directly with outsiders. Others make it much more difficult. We both enjoy Indonesian coffees a lot, so perhaps we'll try Victrola's Sulawesi next time!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Caffe Culture, 2010 & the World Barista Championship

We're excited to confirm that the Coffee Catcher will be in booth P8 at Caffe Culture, 2010 and the World Barista Championship in June.  As per the Caffe Culture website:
Dates: 23rd - 25th June 2010Venue: Olympia, London
Caffè Culture is the leading trade exhibition exclusively catering for Europe's growing cafè bar market. Now in its fifth year, this highly targeted event not only provides a unique opportunity to generate new business and network, but also to gain a valuable insight into this fast moving sector.

Working very closely with the Speciality Association of Europe (SCAE), Caffè Culture is very proud to announce we will be hosting the prestigious World Coffee Championships (WBC) and SCAE's annual event, including four SCAE world championships.

Taking place over three days and with more than 50 countries competing for the coveted titles of World Barista Champion, over 10,000 visitors from the global coffee community will be descending upon London's Olympia to be part of the largest European coffee event in 2010.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Coffee Catcher Tasting at SCAA, 2010

In addition to exhibiting at SCAA, 2010 Coffee Catcher will also be conducting daily tastings in the main exhibition level cupping room.

We're pleased to be offering a variety of coffees from Herkimer Coffee and possibly some Water Ave. Coffee as well.  Also, we'll be bringing in coffees from our friends at SCAA to taste with the Coffee Catcher. nWe will compare the flavor and cup-life of traditional press coffee with coffee brewed with the Coffee Catcher, offering tasters a chance to experience the drink consistency we've gotten so excited about.

All three sizes of the Coffee Catcher will be on display in the Coffee Catcher booth (#2731), and booth visitors can enjoy tastings and lively conversation on the flavor and function improvements that the Coffee Catcher brings to the table.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

notes on a Visions Espresso cupping

From Nate Jones, co-inventor of the Coffee Catcher, regarding a recently attended cupping at Visions Espresso (Seattle, WA):
I had a great time tasting a naturally processed Ethiopia Yirgacheffe coffee with Klif and Natasha at Visions. Natural Ethiopias tend to have very bright bursting fruit flavors, and this one was full of blueberry flavor. The Coffee Catcher really gave a clean taste to the coffee, allowing the natural flavors to come through, unobstructed by sediments.  Klif really got excited about the coffee as it aged. He told a colleague to "come taste the best 35 minute old coffee I think I've ever had."

Monday, April 12, 2010

gearing up for SCAA

So we're headed to SCAA in a matter of days. It's exciting and it's crazy.

Sometimes we think we're going to explode with all that's going on - here are a few of the fish we've got frying: Another batch of samples is en route for use at the booth (booth # 2731, be sure to stop by!) and posters are at the printers for a local Seattle coffee shop that's been using the Coffee Catcher for their clients.  On top of that, we're in this midst of a round of pre-SCAA meet-ups, introducing ourselves so people know to look for us at the show.

And the most exciting news of all is that we're adding two new team members to the Coffee Catcher crew, as well as having some excellent follow up conversations with our Coffee Catcher testers and tasters to see how our baby is performing in real life.

We're thrilled with how things are unfolding and also excited to keep things rolling into next month as production fires up.  People are excited to try the Coffee Catcher and we know they won't be disappointed!

Monday, April 5, 2010

thoughts on sustainability

We think a lot about sustainability in the Coffee Catcher offices and we wanted to share some of the focuses we follow as we develop new products.  The Coffee Catcher, for example, was designed to clean a French press efficiently with less water. (In fact, it was designed largely in response to living in an area experiencing a water shortage.) In a one liter press, the Coffee Catcher can save more than a liter of waste water every time it is used.

Furthermore, the Coffee Catcher eliminates the problem of over-extraction and bitterness in French press coffee by removing dissolved solids from the brew. This allows the user to enjoy all the coffee in the press over a longer period of time than when using the Old Fashioned French press method. 

In addition, the Coffee Catcher is made of reusable stainless steel and is packed in recycled cardboard.  We're constantly looking for new ways to invest in sustainability, so we look forward to coming up with more ideas as we develop new products.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

siphon coffee making

Siphon brewing is one of the two big fads sweeping the specialty coffee world right now, along with pour-over coffee. Check out this New York Times slideshow where it's pretty clear that siphon brewing makes a massive mess (slide 6, for example). The traditional brewer uses a cotton hanky filter that must be carefully rinsed (after all the gunk is removed) and then steeped in hot water and then stored in the fridge in clean water until you use it again. Otherwise it grows mold.

We just learned recently from Alex Negranza (www.whynotcoffee.com) that the Coffee Catcher fits the new siphons from Yama.  Here's what he posted, via his Twitter feed:
"Oh snap! A @CoffeeCatcher works with my Yama Syphon! Easy Clean Up! Best thing for cleaning glass coffee apparatus since microfiber towels!"
Great news, we love to learn new places we can help!