Thursday, June 21, 2007

new stuff rules

picked up my 2007 crop of fvh today. very pleased to have that in hand. also, shirts are on their way! pre-order stuff will be up on my main coffee site very shortly. super excited for these. i say pre-order because, as mentioned below, i'll be on vacation and not be roasting/delivering shirts until i get back in july.


road trip

so it's that time of year again, the time when people get itching to get out on the road and go somewhere, do something. i'm not impervious to that bug so off i go. the fun thing of it is that much of my 'vacation' will actually be work (coffee) related.

early next week i'll be in dallas spectating at the scrbc. i really had hoped to be able to help in some capacity--as a judge, volunteer or some such. but my wife's work schedule precluded that. we'll be heading farther north from dallas so we all needed to have the same schedule in place. anyways, i'm very much looking forward to seeing the competition because of what it means for the continued building of our fledgling coffee community here in texas. many people have the misnotion that because we are geographically isolated coffee-wise that we are somehow less passionate about coffee and coffee culture. the fact is there are some very passionate people in this state whose only trouble with being a regular part of such a vibrant coffee culture is the fact that it can take literally a full day driving just to get from one good cafe to another. we're talking el paso actually being closer to los angeles than it is to houston. size does matter but that won't stop us from growing as a vibrant outpost of coffee culture.

i'm taking pics and submitting a little report on the event to barista magazine, so keep your eyes peeled for that in the next issue.

anyways, immediately after dallas--and i mean very much immediately, as in, i may be running out the door as they announce the scrbc winners--we'll be driving up to tulsa to visit with one of my clients for a special chocolate/food/wine/coffee dinner event. i'm stoked about that, as i'm told these events are very cutting edge regarding pairing the aforementioned types of foods. the next morning i may lead a quick, small cupping with the staff there--they are a chocolatier/restaurant at one location and they have a full coffee house as a second location. or we'll just spend some time working on their GB/5 and tweaking my espresso for their machine. i'm excited to spend some time working behind their bar to optimize the parameters for the espresso i've created for them. they've given me some outstanding feedback on it so far and i guess it'll just be cool to see it from their perspective.

by 10 a.m. we have to be leaving tulsa to be in st. louis by around 3 p.m. where we will pick up my friend at the airport and drop off my wife and kids with her parents who are are from indiana and are meeting us there to take them to indiana for a few days. my friend sean and i will be heading a couple hours north to cornerstone festival (we go every year) for a few days of too much music and maybe too little good coffee. sunday we both head over to indiana to spend a couple days with my in-laws and for me specifically, to get a first hand update on how the new roaster project is progressing. (by the way, the beer keg i referenced a couple posts ago is being used as housing for the chaff collector. cool!) i'll try to take some pics of that as well and keep everyone updated on that. i'm pumped about that, of course.

after that it's drive home with everyone. we'll drop off sean in austin on the way home, where his company has a satellite office, and then we'll continue on the 80 miles down the road to good old san antonio. home sweet home again.

we'll talk soon. wish us well.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

we knew you when...

tomorrow will be a good day. it is a big day for my friends at finca vista hermosa as they participate in their first cup of excellence. we are praying for a huge day for them in particular and, of course, for the continued push upward of super-premium coffee into the consciousness of the consuming public from a commodified morning necessity--basically, the coffee-as-fuel ethos--to something truly special, cared about and paid for based on quality, not gimmicks or hype.

we are praying for the advent of quality as the sole qualifier of price. and, guatemala being among the best of the centrals in cup quality year over year, we keep our fingers crossed to see huge gains in prices paid for quality tomorrow at auction.

am i rambling? maybe. i guess i'm mostly just nervously excited for my friends and want them to do well and gain more fans. it's the same way when you discover a great uberunderground band and want everyone to know you knew them way, way before all others by sporting their t-shirt. i feel a little this way about fvh and am insanely proud to have my name associated with fvh, if even on such a tiny scale as brown is able to produce.

whatever. go fvh! we knew you when...

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007


a quick update on the build-a-roaster project. as mentioned previously, i am watching far away on the sidelines (read: out of the way) as my father-in-law helps build a roaster we are designing from not-necessarily industry specific parts.

though the project has been a little slow ramping it is beginning to steam forward a little bit, as many of the basic parts are being compiled. below is a picture of said father-in-law unit, with the unit, such as it is today...

says he:

I just got the stove [the other] day and you can see the burner assembly at the bottom center of the picture. Everything is coming up 30”. The box below will be the cabinet for the drum drive, blower, gas regulator and controls, and the tan colored sheet metal (center with insulation on it) is the inner lining of the drum housing. The drum is 20” in diameter and looks like it will be about 27” long to fit the housing. The stainless steel keg (below with the electric motor setting on it) will be the cyclone machine. You won’t see the keg because it will have insulation on it. I am going to recycle part of the hot air through it and don’t want to lose the heat. Not shown are a set of stainless steel legs that will support the s.s. cooling tray on the side.

so that's what we know for now. i mentioned to him how somehow figuring out a way to keep the keg showing would do worlds for my popularity. but i guess i'll have to submit my sense of fashion to the crushing needs of necessity. somewhere, a college kid's dream is dying.

in other news, i recently lost my warehouse space i was storing greens. our little pantry at home is paying the price right now, as is our ministorage space. our not-so-very-much-climate-controlled ministorage space. so someone is on the hot prowl for new storage and delivery space. i think we found it, downtown san antonio. and yes, climate will be controlled. so we should be back in business in a couple three weeks on that.

more soon.

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