Wednesday, February 18

A Quick Update, Yet Another Apology, And Some Great News...

Well, today was the UKBC Northern Heat. My heat. The reason I haven't really been all. But, all my preperation was for...well...nothing. I screwed up my espresso, cappuccino, and burned the chocolate sauce for my sig drink. But I came fourth! Awesome! And now I know how to kick arse next time!

But yes, sorry about the delay to the Birmingham write up. It's half written, and now I should have time to finish it. That will be done soon, hopefully. Again, very sorry, but I'll have it done very soon.

Also, I have a new video on the site! Katie (a local barista) and I were interviewed for BBC Look North. The news piece is here:

Hope you enjoy!

Post soon,

Wednesday, February 11

Second Time Lucky On The Title...Oh, And An Update...

It's 6:27 am. It's cold. I can see my breath condense before my very eyes. I'm waiting at Durham train station for my ticket to Birmingham. I have a Costa double ristretto (do I ever learn?), and a cheese and ham toastie. Slipknot is playing very loudly, and I think the guy at the table opposite disapproves.

I'm headed for the Midlands Regional heat of the 2009 UKBC, partly to cheer on my good friend Chris Weaver, partly to be the first blog (to my knowledge) to do a write up of this year's comp. Mostly though it's to rip every screed of info I can in preparation for my own heat inn a weeks time.

The upshot of this, however, is that I can get back into blogging with a minimum of pain. I should probably apologise for not posting in over a month, but I have been tremendously busy, and the last thing I've wanted to do is take my job home with me. I was recently made Head Barista at Coolaboola, which includes writing up a training manual. We also took on a new barista. Some of you will already know him; Richard O'Connor, or RJames as those on CoffeeForums will know him. I'll post on his development as a barista (and mine as a barista trainer) at a later date, but suffice to say he's coming on brilliantly, even in the face of my training.

The two main reasons I've ignored Third Wave, however are both very simple. Competition has terrified me, and I got bored. Doing coffee day in, day out is fantastic, but coming home and blogging about it does get tiresome. After Christmas, with my competition preparation ramping up (at least in theory), Third Wave became nothing more than a distraction at best. So I knocked it on the head for a month. Now I hope to resurrect it.

Today I hope to put out two posts. This one, and a full run-down of the Midland's regional. One thing I've noticed as a competitor is a lack of any real information on what to expect. Aside from a few conversations with Stuart Lee Archer (of Pumphrey's Coffee, the host of the Northern Heat), I know almost nothing about the comp, except that it won't be a lot like Copenhagen was. So by the end of today I hope to be able to tell you the grinder which is provided, the layout of the competition, what the atmosphere was like, and much more besides. I'll also do my best to write up the competitors, so don't expect anything like a short post. Then again, when have I been known to write short posts? You love it really.

Anyway, I'll dash. Need to read through the Pro Barista Handbook and rip what I need for the Coolaboola manual lol.

Chat soon,

Sunday, January 4

2009 And A Much Needed Cup o' Joe...

So, New Year has been and gone, and 2009 is upon us. With it comes the Common Grind podcast (something I have still not had time to listen to), and James Hoffmann's 2009 predictions. After getting 4/5 right last year (by public opinion...I still think it was 4.5), I'm very interested in seeing how he does this year, especially as regards the WBC and his grinder prediction.

So, what of me? Well, as we speak I've had two hours of sleep out of thirty, and today is my last day off work. So of course, it's now that I've chosen to taste the first of my Christmas coffees...well...write it up anyway. I'm tasting the Brazil Inglaterra Toca Da Onca Canario 2008 Crop. Whew...every Brazil I taste always has a fe'k off long name...

Anyway, today I'll be using a pour over. I've been following Mr. Hoffmann's advice (see the Square Mile or JimSeven blogs), but I up dose slightly. Today I'm using 20g to 300ml water, with a medium grind (literally halfway along on my Starbucks Barista grinder). The smell of it brewing is amazing. There's a really tropical, yeasty and heavy aroma.

Before I taste this, I'll be honest. At the moment my mouth feels like rat crawled in there and died. Just in case I do taste nothing but coffee, I do have Steve Leighton's notes for reference lol. So. In the cup the tropical fruit shines through, a refreshing change from the zesty citrus I've become used to. This coffee has a great mouth feel that stays with you, and compliments the boozy, chocolate finish.

My favourite thing about this coffee is it's blend of fruity flavours, while retaining an almost earthy texture and body. After my last foray into a Brazilian coffee I'll be honest, I wasn't sure I'd be a fan of this, but I was wrong, I love it. A robust enough coffee to get you up in the morning, but with delicate enough flavours to be interesting.

Another thing about this coffee, according to Steve it works wonderfully as an espresso, where the acidity and pineapple, in his words, smack you around the head. It's something I'll be trying if I can get my hands on a machine, so I'll let you know how that goes.

But of course, like I said, my mouth feels awful. For a more in depth cupping, check out the Common Grind podcast (see above for link) where Chris Weaver and his companion Ash Porter will make a much better effort of than I. They're both fantastic cuppers, and have much better palates than I. If you haven't already, check out the podcast and the blog. I promise you won't regret it.

Anyway, I should probably get out of my dressing gown and do something other than drink one of the best coffees roasted last year. Cheers for reading. 2008 was a better year than I could possibly have hoped for, and Third Wave seems to be doing well despite my best efforts lol.

Anyway, here's to another great year, and may all your endeavours be prosperous.


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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