Here we go again. Back into the world of the obsessive coffee geek. So, what's happened in the two and a half years since my last post? Well, I stopped caring. For many reasons, frankly. It went from being the love of my life, to a job, to something I hated more than anything else in the world, to being something I did to keep petrol in the tank. I stayed at Coolaboola throughout, doing my job to a varying degree. I was promoted to head barista, then bumped down to senior barista because I was so regularly late. My latte art soared to heights I never imagined during my competition days, then deteriorated again. So I looked for a new job. I even looked at buying a friend's business, and running my own coffee shop. In the end, Pumphrey's advertised for jobs, and now I work for them as a line barista.
A new passion? At Coolaboola, we did a great job. We served great coffee, we prepared our milk well, and we had a passion. But the majority of it, I've since discovered, was guess work. We did it right, but didn't know how or why. And hell, a lot has changed since my last post. The first major difference is my attitude towards preparation. At 'Boola, when dialing in a grind, we kept running shots until they ran to about 21 seconds. Now? Now I have to take into account coffee dose, grind size, grind time, brew weight, TDS, contact time, etc, etc. I care about temperature stability, and the effect of temperature on extraction rates. I actually understand the term extraction yield (a phrase I'd never even heard of), and MojoToGo is one of my favourite coffee toys. I love coffee again, and I want to know everything I can. I want to learn how to fix machines, what acids and lipids make up green coffee, the perfect brew ratio for every coffee that Pumphrey's sells...I take every chance I get to play with the Uberboiler. Hell, I've kicked off Third Wave again.
So, my thanks. Well, first of all, a huge shout out to Ru and Lu. You hired a 19 year old lad who hated coffee because I was the best of a truly appalling bunch. I hope (and without wanting to blow my own trumpet, I think I did) I made a difference, and I really do thank you for getting me into this world. Without coffee, who knows what I'd be doing. Something crap, probably. I'd have never met some of my favourite people, and I can't imagine my life without hands stained brown from ground coffee. I don't think it's much of an exaggeration to say that I owe who I am now to you both. Cheers. Oh, and poke Maisie-Boo's cheeks for me and Kat.
Secondly, Stuart Lee Archer for being the geekiest SOB alive. And for buying Ubers. I have a passion now that I didn't have a year ago, and it's a passion I'm desperate (as he may have noticed...) to share. Many thanks for the chance...now, onto UKBC!
Thirdly, everyone I've worked with. I know it's not always easy, but thanks for not punching me. Congrats to Ace, who pipped me to the post (by a good few lengths) in getting Union's Northern Trainer job. When I stopped caring, he really started. He is a tremendous barista, and I wish him the best of luck. I also hope to see him at competition, and if I don't I'll be asking why. You've been warned Ace! Also, best of luck to James Andrews. An amazing barista from down south (and up north...he lived in Glasgow while at Uni), who is opening his second shop. Hope this one goes well, and I'll make sure when to pop in! And I won't forget Leeks, Russell, Ben, Richie, Sam, Dane and all the guys I work with at Pumphrey's.
Fourthly, Kat. My girlfriend of two and a half years, we started going out in January, as I prepped for competition in February. She's seen every stage of my life in coffee, or at least every stage of my passion, and has been a supportive coffee widow from the start. I love her to bits, and in fact am writing this on her laptop, in her flat, drinking a Monsooned Malabar that she made with my V60. It's lovely. And she listens to me go on about coffee, and even picks it up herself. I will have her converted, and it isn't even taking that much effort.
So what are my plans for the future of Third Wave? Well, I want it to be more scientific. I want it to, in part, chart what I learn, try to pass my knowledge on to other people. I'll also continue with cup tastings, local events, stuff like that. Hopefully it'll be half decent.
Well, speak soon. And thanks for reading. Without you guys, I'm just some idiot throwing stuff out into the void.