Tuesday, September 30, 2008

coming up

Catalina Coffee is the man.  Or are the men.  And women.  Or something nice and props-able.  I was so happy to be able to be in Houston for this event (see post below) and to be a part of Texas' growing coffee scene.  Having grown up in Houston, the city has a sentimental place in my heart.  But with the advent of Catalina and a small crop of fresh new coffee spaces (think Inversion, Taft Street and others) they are eschewing the soft-market sentimentality of feeling as though they have to offer the five "S'es" (sandwiches, soups, salads, syrups and smoothies) and going for the gusto by putting the coffee first and letting the chips fall where they may.  And if my time at their recent Latte Art Throwdown (and my subsequent Sunday afternoon visit) were any indication, the chips are definitely falling their way.

Space is the enemy here, and geopolitical boundaries seem to be the enemy of our coalescence.  Because the entity is known as "Texas" it seems to make sense that we should all be one big happy family.  But as the interstate sign makes clear as you cross into Texas from Louisiana, this really is a big, big place.  The sign reads:  WELCOME TO TEXAS!  Beaumont = 15 miles; Houston = 150 miles; El Paso = 798 miles.  Thus, we have to make the best of our situation by grabbing every opportunity for community, no matter how frequency and geographically-challenged and those opportunities are.  

Coming up:  the second annual SCRBC in Austin and a chance for our corner of the world to continue to build both momentum and a tighter sense of community.   

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Friday, September 26, 2008

refereeing a fight

my camera was sick and we sent it off to hospital lately.  thus, i feel as though my creative impetus had been on hiatus.  now it's back and here i am hitting the blogosphere again.  coincidence?  mayhaps.  

so what's been up?  i'm going to houston in a few hours to--get this--be a judge for a latte art competition.  me.  the guy who can consistently and perfectly pour the foam amoeba.  but you know what they say...those who can't do, judge.  or some such. 

anyway, catalina coffee in houston, where the event will take place, has quietly done a solid job
 becoming houston's most thoughtful espresso destinations.  a few weeks ago catalina's owner,
 max, called me up out of the blue (we had never met) and asked if they could order 50 lbs of Jacinto.  he explained they have an enthusiastically pursued guest espresso program and they have been buying stuff from around the country and featuring it until the order runs dry.  the espresso got there in good order and then...hurricane Ike.  max says they kept power for
 most of the time and that
 they were one of the few places around who had power, which, one can hope, means all the Jacinto got consumed and, one can further hope, enjoyed, by desparate, powerless houstonians.  

so one thing led to another and here i am making final preps and doing final roasts before going to houston to be part of this indieundergroundcoffeeevent.  $20 to pour.  winner takes all.  who knows but that the winner might just be a hurricane victim and this could be the most direct charity line from fundraiser to relief distribution in the history of coffee.   fun times in texas.  hey, even the weather has cooperated.  one thing about hurricanes:  they definitely bring cooler (read:  coffee buying and drinking) weather in their wakes.  

cheers, all.    

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