Saturday, December 11, 2004

Wud it like?

So here we the North Eastern winter...making sweet shots and missing the sun. Whats been going on....first lets start with the Latte Art Video/Seattle Coffee Fest trip.
After winning the Latte art competition in D.C. I was approached by Bruce Milleto of Bellissimo Coffee Info group and asked if I would like to participate in a New Latte art video being produced that upcoming fall. Of course I said yes. So come the fall I called Bruce and Matt and we arranged the shoot to coincide with the start of the Seattle Coffee Fest. Now I'm on a plane going to a two day video shoot in Portland. Sweet!
I get there and check into an awesome Hotel...the Hotel Lucia. Very posh. They had this theme of silver bowls of green apples all over the Hotel...kinda weird...but tasty.
The next day I got my first taste of Portland coffee at Stumptown Coffee on 3rd and ash. Killer place with a very sweet espresso. In milk it did'nt do much for me ...good none the less. I then met up with Matt Milleto and Billy Wilson who also are in the Video as well as Austin Gregory. We spent the day doing scenes of us walking, drinking coffee, kicking puppies, etc. and they did scenes where the just sat the four of us down and said-Ok now talk about coffee-....
Now normaly getting started is not a problem but whn there are cameras on you it is strangley difficult. Austin did a great job of jump starting the conversations with questions and once we got going it was all over. Blah blah blah coffee, blah blah blah espresso and so on. Real geeky. At the end of it all, believe it or not, I had no more interest in discussing least not right after.

We ended the day with a fabulous Family style Italian dinner. Tommorow, the pours.
The next day we met at the American Barista and coffee school...newly opened by Bellissimo. We spent the whole day shooting Latte art and some time arguing over which espresso techniques would be on the many different views on this, we (those who were'nt being taped at the moment)were asked to leave the room so no more rabbit trails of coffee discussion and contention would rise and get in the way of shooting. This was understandable because we only had that day to shoot. I love it. We were so into it we had to be reffereed.
I ended up pouring five designs...I hope they are all on the video after editing.
They included...the ornate Single Rosetta, Tripple Rosetta, Fire breathing dragon, Leaf super imposed on a rosseta, and the autumn leaf five leaf design.
The film crew was awesome.
The next day we left for Seattle where I competed in the Latte art competition....the meeting of Champions. Most all the Artigiano crew was there and a few guys and gals from Japan... It was a great trip cause I got to meet alot of new some guys from Zoka, Artigiano, Billy Wison etc.
I left my pitchers in Portland(Which is mytrade mark move after also having lost my pitchers in D.C. due to the fact that they were in the car when the car was towed) so I had to buy one to practice with...I had no milk so when I was at my luxury suite at the Travel Lodge I would spend an hour or so pouring water. and right before going up I was -air pouring- the five leaf.
Round one.
I went up second after a guy who did not even get a decent shot out cause of a funky grinder. Felt sorry for him. I went up and He must have over adjusted because the grounds were as big as drip coffee grounds...with 5 minutes to prepare I had adjusted three times with whole half turns...same result. Now I am in the competition time and no good shots...the last shot....I had to pour milk in swirl it for fake crema and barely eeked out a big rosseta. Whew!
Last round.
The rosetta had gotten me to the finals and I planned my five leaf design for the win. I was pretty shaky before hand. I was air pouring the five leaf the whole time before going up. Finally I went up. I checked the grinder first thing....nice and dialed in. Did some practice pours. Then With only one design in mind I went at it and produced two five leaf lattes. 'The Autumn Leaf" The crowd and judges were sufficiently wowed. And I was happy with the last one( even though I have done better ones while practicing) Then the main competitor that would compete for first was up...J.C.Morris of Caffe Artigiano. He did a traditional design of a n intricate rosseta and heart on the tip. Very nice.
In the end...I thought I had first wrapped up with this first in Latte Art but the Victor turned out to be J.C.Morris by 2 points in the area of color infusion.
I actually am glad to have taken second with a cool and progressive design, than first with a traditional one...But J.C. deserves his props. He is a great Latte artist and I look forward to future tigh races :-)
You can see the five leaf on Coffee Fests web site under the special attractions category.
In February I will be teaching latte art at Coffee Fest as well as competing. Maybe I will see you there. Bring your mittens baby.