Well, I thought that, having been back to Central Bean this morning I would update you all on it's progress. For those of you who missed it, Andrew Hetzel was nice enough to reply to my review, and to explain some of the criticisms I made. As for the quality of the espresso he said this;
"With respect to that over extraction, I suspect that the problem was with the coffee; specifically, the coffee over-freshness. I can explain all of the details to you tonight, but essentially, the stuff that we were bringing in was way too fresh out of the roaster, so we're letting it age a little while before it hits the hoppers."
This is fair enough, and seems to be proven by what I taste in the cup. Like I said in the review, each coffee I have had has been better than the last, and today's was no different. I had a lovely 'classic cappuccino' today (basically a traditional, competition cappuccino). The espresso tasted stronger than it has previously, but had a wonderful taste, but was possibly a little overextracted. The milk was a little bubbly, but perfectly smooth and tasty.
In regards to my criticism of the milk, Andrew wrote;
"I've been working with the guys here all this week to keep to our standards and it's looking better than ever. I was here for two weeks bookending Copenhagen and left about a week before the soft opening. We're 7 weeks in now and I'm really impressed with how it has all come along. Super guys, really committed to the trade; lots of good stuff to come."
Again, this is proven in my experience of Central Bean. The milk has gotten better and better each time I've been. The guys there seem really committed to the quality of the coffee, and the owner really cares about his cafe's reputation for serving great coffee in a town which sees Costa and Starbucks as high-end speciality espresso. I was speaking to the owner today and he seems very interested in entering his baristi into competitions, and building the local coffee scene. So, watch this space!
Okay, the blog. We're doing well! Nearly 700 hits, people viewing all over the world, and everything going very well across the board. This, in conjunction with my wanting to help the local coffee scene, has given me the incentive to expand Third Wave UK and be more proactive with the site. So, there are currently three things on the cards. First, I'm planning to use Third Wave almost as a brand name, a kind of neutral organisation under which coffee-based events can be hosted, with the help of local sponsors. Hopefully this means that the industry can become more integrated, rather than cafes simply putting on their own events, polarising both the baristi and the customers. I hope that by using Third Wave as a neutral group the baristi of Newcastle can come together and help one another, and customers can be shown just how wide ranging coffee can be, rather than simply seeing one company's interpretation of coffee.
My second idea is to host Third Wave independently. This would involve either building my own website, or hosting this page on a separate server. This is a much more long term plan, brought about by the limitations of Blogger, and also my desire for a more professional approach to the day-to-day running of the site. This might also include adding a membership option, the introduction of a newsletter, or possibly CoffeeGeek-style articles. None of this is certain, and is simply a vague idea floating about in my head, but is one I will defiantly evaluate.
Thirdly, I'd like to introduce a new blogger. His name is Dane McGreevy. I'm in the process of adding him to the site, and hopefully he'll add a new life and perspective to the blog. We both work in Coolaboola, and he loves coffee almost as much as I do, so I look forward to seeing his contribution to this site, and to Third Wave's plans for the Newcastle coffee scene. I know he's already had the idea for a Newcastle Barista Championship!
So, exciting times. If you have any opinions on all of this, please let me know. You know the deal, e-mail me, comment on this post or hunt me down in Jesmond Metro Station.