Friday, February 29, 2008

Things are happening...

Just a brief update. I've gotten a couple emails from a couple of Helsinki-based (important) coffee people, thanks to some help from my new friend/personal hero, Sarah. No matter what comes of them, it feels really amazing. If you would have told me a year ago that i would have accomplished this, i probably would have said, "Yes, i will accomplish that by now," but on the inside, i'd have been doubtful.

In any case, i feel amazing blessed at the moment. And just thought i'd share.

Friday, February 22, 2008

A funny thing happened in DC...

So as you saw from the previous posts, i, by some miracle, won the Millrock Latte Art Competition. Before i even made it to the finals, M'lissa and i were joking around, and she said if i made into finals we should get matching latte art tattoos. I told her there was no way i could afford a tattoo right now, but said if i won money, we'd do it. The joking went further and i said if i won the top prize ($5000), then Tony, she and i would all get matching tattoos and that i'd pay for it.

Well, i won. And yesterday we all got tattooed (by Jason Kelly of Timeless Tattoo, who already had tattooed both M'lissa and I). And above is the evidence. Pretty crazy.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Katie Duris on TV!

Katie Duris, one of our friends at Murky coffee in DC and one of my personal favorite baristas ever, was featured in a CBS news story while we were at coffee fest. It kind of talks about the Millrock Latte Art Competition a little bit. Although doesn't really mention it by name....

In any case, go check it out at the Murky site over here.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

If you're curious what a $5000 latte pour looks like....

People have been asking for a picture, so here it is. This was my winning pour. It's the middle one.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Live-blogging the MARBC Finals tomorrow!!!

Tomorrow (well, i guess technically later this morning) M'lissa and i will be live-blogging the MARBC finals over at her blog which if you don't know by now, is over here all along this underlined blue stuff. I will be taking pictures and M'lissa will be commentating on all the action! It's going to be awesome! Blogging will start around 10:30ish.

This is a little surreal...

I'm a little bit in shock. I know i was supposed to finish posting about Day 1 of stuff, but i'll have to do it tomorrow. I'm in no position to say anything coherent right now. All that needs to be said for now is i won Millrock. Chris Owens taught me everything i know about pouring. Helsinki friends, i'm coming to see you soon. Lots of bills will be paid. And i'm FINALLY going to get my sleeve finished.

More later...

Friday, February 15, 2008

Coffee Fest/Millrock/MARBC: Day 1

Day one of Coffee Fest seemed more like a couple or three days in one. M'lissa (read her accounts of our weekend here) and i walked to the convention center from our hotel, which was a Holiday Inn close to Union Station. It's actually really nice. Top notch. M'lissa and i both slept very well. Tony (beloved boss) however, who's 2 floors below us.... not so much. Anyways, we get the convention center really early (about 8:45) because we wanted to watch the Millrock Latte Art Championship. For those who don't know, this is a latte art competition (purely visual, taste does not matter) and the top prize this go around is $5,000!!! Tony and i had tried to register me for it, but we did so the day the application was due, and we didn't hear back, so we thought i didn't make it in.

Before i go any further, i think it's important to note that Octane's very own coffee boss, M'lissa Muckerman, my barista coach/dear friend/co-worker, is on this month's issue of Barista Magazine. It's hard to stress how awesome this is. Let's just say Heather Perry (two time USBC champion, 2nd at last years WBC, coffee
celebrity) pointed out that she's only ever been on "the ass of Barista Magazine", never the cover.... If Heather Perry thinks it's a big deal, it is.

The reason this is important is because there are literally HUNDREDS of this month's Barista Magazine being given away, and M'lissa is having to mentally prepare herself to be stopped by a lot of people this weekend saying, "Wait, that's the girl on the cover of Barista Magazine!" "Will you sign this mine for me?" "Can i take a picture with you?" and also for her friends to come up and congratulate her/embarrass her.

We're at the convention center pretty early, around 8:30 in the morning, because Millrock starts at 9. We're saying hi to people we know, M'lissa is introducing me to some awesome people (shout out to Sarah Allen, editor and co-founder of Barista Magazine, who's going to hook me up with some contact info for some shop owners in Helsinki) and then we sit down and get ready to watch people rock some latte art. They're about to get started and all of a sudden Sarah (one of the judges of Millrock) calls me over. I come over, and i find out they had me on for
today......... yeah. Crazy. I proceeded to stutter my way through a statement of acceptance, and then went to sit back down with M'lissa.

There was impressive art poured, including the above done by Phoebe from Gimme! which was a heart with an arrow through it for Valentine's Day. Pretty bad ass.

I went through the almost the entire morning not knowing exactly when i was going on. It kind of worked out well though, because i was completely relaxed, and didn't stress too much about how i would do. All of a sudden, within 5 minutes of not knowing when i'm going on, i'm pouring some latte art. Earlier, when i had been nervous about whether or not i actually wanted to do it, i realized i didn't bring a tamp with me. M'lissa, not wanting me to miss this opportunity, gave me the great honor of letting me break in the tamp she was holding on the cover of Barista Magazine.

That is correct. Let it sink in....... the above tamp, which was custom made with Louis Vuitton fabric by one of Octane's most beloved regulars, Curt, was broken in by me. The Louis Vuitton tamp on the cover of Barista Magazine being held by my barista coach/dear friend/co-worker, M'lissa Muckerman, i used for Millrock. I used it first. Forgive my excitement, i just think it freaking rules.

To cut to the chase, i choked a little bit, and only got out one decent pour, but somehow it was enough to propel me into second place! So after day 1, i'm in second.

My pour, which you might be able to see better on if you click on the above picture, is second in from the top left corner. I think i can do better if i make it to finals, which i'll find out if i made in about three hours. There's 20 people today, so as long as 8 people don't do better than me, i'm in.

I need to run, but i'll post on the rest of Day 1, and some a Day 2 later on tonight.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Coffee Fest and MARBC here we come!

So in just a few hours, M'lissa and i are on our way to D.C. for Coffee Fest (coffee trade show) and the MARBC (the Mid Atlantic Barista Competition, at which we are volunteering) and we're really excited. Technically it's kind of a work thing with Octane, but basically it's like a little mini vacation, which i need really bad. In any case, look for pictures and tales of awesomeness in the coming days.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Saila is going to get obsessed with this...

Okay, before i explain anything, i need to you click on this link for me. CLICK HERE TO HELP POPULATE MY MINI CITY.

Okay, have you clicked yet? Good. So basically, what this is is a little mini city that gets built by unique visitors to the above link. You can visit once a day. Each visit i get, i get an inhabitant to my city. Apparently it gets more complicated the bigger my population gets, but i just started.

And just so you know, my city is in Finland and it's named Lehtonen after the Thrashers beloved Finnish goalie, Kari Lehtonen.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Samantha Brown in Helsinki

So about a month ago a friend told me that he was watching Samantha Brown: Passport to Europe on the Travel Channel (great show), and that she did an episode where she went to Helsinki. Needless to say, i was super excited and went home to see when it was going to re-air. Long story short, i saw that it was going to air again in about a month, so i set a date reminder in my phone and waited.....blah, blah, blah.

Well, today my phone went off and reminded me and i got to see the episode! It was so great. I knew about or had been to 80% of the places she went. It was awesome, yet made me homesick at the same time. (Can you be homesick for a place that isn't your home yet?)

The best part of the episode for me was when she told a Finn she was out drinking with that she heard Finns drink more alcohol per capita than any other people in the word. This was denied by the Finn, and i laughed out loud... I'm not saying it's true or not, but it made me laugh nonetheless. I also laughed when she talked about licorice because i remember one time Sini gave this licorice candy and i thought it was super nasty.

There really isn't much else to say except that now i'm a little depressed i'm still in Atlanta..... *sigh*

And yes, Saila, i know the weather sucks there right now, but i'd still trade places with you in a heartbeat. (And thanks again for my Six Degrees magazines you sent me. You're the best!)