Wednesday, September 13, 2006

where's the bar?

i'm thinking about barista jams of late. mostly, of hosting one. some issues i see. one, i don't trust very many people very easily. it's just a fault i have (so if you see i like you almost immediately, take it as a blessing). two, hosting a barista jam pretty much requires one to trust lots of other people to pull it off successfully. hence my conundrum.

maybe my inability to want to work with too many other people is my fear that somebody will say or do something or want to incorporate a vision or feeling that doesn't seem to me to embody specialty coffee. maybe i'm just a control freak. in any event, i guess i just want to start something here in texas that isn't being done. i have no aspirations of making tons of money off it. in fact, i expect i would lose a tidy sum just to host it and make it run right. that's not the point. nor is getting brown's name out there. really, it's not. it's finding some level set for the craft here in texas and starting us down the path toward higher calibre coffee and espresso presentation in our respective cafes and coffee businesses.

which to me raises yet another issue. as i have begun to really think through hosting a jam one of the earliest questions i have to ask is, 'what is the purpose and objective of even having a jam?' profit? fame? introduction to specialty coffee for more newbie type baristas? because it's mostly the last one i have to consider the programs and settings that would be most conducive to newbies learning and growing.

but here's the philosophical rub. do you make the bar really high knowing that many people may be intimidated by it and walk away, or do you water it down to make it digestable enough for everyone's current level and risk them wondering whether they feel they even got their money's worth by traveling across this big state for this event. surely one might say that it has to be a combination of both of those philosophies. i would tend to agree; but in what measures? and how much is too much?

i've always been of the mindset that if you set expectations super high and some people hit it, while a large group of people get close and some don't get very close at all, at least you've gotten some that high and others much higher than they would've normally jumped. and the ones who don't make it at all might never have gotten there anyway no matter what you do.

the bottom line is i want to have fun and i don't want texas to be a specialty coffee joke anymore. so i'll start pulling stuff together and see if we can make a run at it.


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