Saturday, October 25

Just So You Know I'm Still Alive...

I just thought I'd post something so that people know I'm still here, and still blogging. A huge apology to you all for being so quiet for the last week, but I'm working on a lot at the moment, not least of which is a post for this site. It should be up very soon.

Again, very, very sorry.


Thursday, October 9

The Search For The God Shot...

Here we go, lets try and throw up some controversy. The God Shot. Is there REALLY any need?

I don't think so. Making a good cup of coffee is a well documented art now. With all the books out there, all the fantastic barista trainers, online resources, etc there is no excuse for making consistently crap coffee. But as any self-respecting pro-barista can tell you, the God Shot is not simply a good cup of coffee. It's an experience that transcends the usual coffee shop coffee. Flavours should explode in the mouth, and it certainly should be one of those memories which remains with you for the rest of your life. The only problem is that it's impossible to achieve consistently.

Making a good cup of coffee is entirely dependent upon your ability to control certain variables such as water temperature, the consistency of the grind, the distribution of the coffee in the puck before and after tamping, the pressure with which you tamp, and the amount of coffee grounds and water used to make the shot. The God Shot is made when by some utter fluke the barista manages to control every one of these variables. Therefore it is impossible to reproduce over and over again.

But why not strive for the God Shot I hear you say? Because I feel it gets in the way. Rather than sit around as coffee professionals at point of sale, or at home trying to make the perfect shot with what we have, why not put that effort into sorting out the coffee at Origin, making a real effort to give farmers a fair price for the coffee we all love so much. Or why not spend that time teaching home baristas, or amateur coffee lovers how to make good coffee with their little press pot, or their little Gaggia semi-auto. Education is what we as an industry need to concentrate on; both technique and the ethics behind commodity trading. Yes, good coffee is what I want to see, but lets start by educating people how to make good coffee before we sit around deciding how to make the perfect coffee.

There, your thought for the day.


Wednesday, October 8

Not so good...

Right so I've been in Durham since saturday just gone, and I've only just ventured out into the city center today as I needed my course textbook, £40! for one book. Anyways, this presented itself as an opportunity to find some coffee. 
I passed O'briens of which I'm not a huge fan, but its drinkable, so decided to have a go, must say I've not had a coffee for about 5 days now, which is torture so I walked in. Then swiftly out again, the machine was filthy, the portafillers were scruffy, the steam arm white and thick, the jugs dull and stained. I'm sure it was a health hazard!
Second port of call a small independent, coffee house by day, wine bar by night, nice set up. Ordered a latte paid up for it, watched the guy make it, bag of starbucks beans next to the grinder :( 'nough said


Sunday, October 5

Just to let you all know!

Right, I moved into my uni on saturday, been looking around durham, gonna have lots of reviews for you in the next week, or two, when I should be sober, in the meanwhile if anyone knows of anywhere good please comment!


Finding Your Third Place...

Firstly, sorry about the total lack of posts for the last few days. It's been a hectic time for both Dane and I. He went off to Uni for his Freshers' Fortnight yesterday, so don't expect much intelligible from him for a while lol. As for me, well, I've spent every waking moment building a remarkably complex website in html...God it's hard...

Anyway, I was spending some time today with the girlfriend sat in my 'Third Place'. The subject of the 'Third Place' is something I've meant to mention on this blog for a while, but something I've only recently experienced. Now, for those of you who don't know, the Third Place is a part of a concept which assumes there are three places in a coffee lover's life. These are the home, the workplace and the coffee shop. I love Coolaboola. I think we serve the best coffee in Newcastle, and I think we have some of the most committed and professional baristi in the surrounding area. But it's where I work, and for that reason I can't ever relax when I stand at the bar.

The Third Place is something which should be very important to a coffee lover; a place in which you feel comfortable, where the baristi know who you are and, of course, somewhere where you love the coffee. Every coffee shop has it's own unique feel, it's own soundtrack and it's own ethos. In my opinion the ethos is the most important. There are some coffee shops (though they tend not to last very long)who try to appeal to everyone. One coffee shop in Newcastle (who shall remain nameless, for now) which has a laid-back, Costa-style atmosphere, with multicoloured lighting in the ceiling for the local gay community. Another nice touch is the tremendously capitalist Che Guevara milkshake. At the other extreme there are coffee shops who refuse to compromise on drink quality for anyone, serving only 6oz drinks, refusing frappes, etc.

My Third Place is a mix. As a barista I love it when people challenge me to adapt drinks for them. I have total respect for the hardcore baristi who refuse to change anything, and who refuse to serve capps after 11, but I love the culinary aspect of coffee, and the creativity it allows. I love caramel capps with chocolate sprinkles. They're great. That's what my Third Place allows. A huge drinks menu, with a real chance for the consumer to play about and customise their drink. I'd love to tell you all where my Third Place is, but I would hate to upset all the other coffee shops lol.

So, go, find your Third Place! And if you already have, feel free to tell me about it! Comment, and let us all know what you love.

Anyway, I have a web book now, so the reviews should be coming thick and fast soon, and hopefully posts will be a bit more regular.


Welcome to Third Wave UK!

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Hey y'all. Welcome to the Third Wave UK speciality coffee blog. Whether you're a coffee profesional, home barista, or just interested in speciality coffee or the speciality coffee scene in the UK, this blog will hopefully have something for you. Cheers, Seamus McFlurry

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