Well, first things first, this Rule Of Three I use in my titles? Not always easy.
So, first things first; the past. Coffee back when I started Third Wave was a very different animal to what it is now. Maybe it was just my perspective on it, but way back when, coffee seemed to far less defined. Finding exact definitions of what drinks were, how to brew coffee, or even what was happening when coffee was brewing was difficult. Yes, it's still niche, but things like brew ratios and extraction yields were incredibly difficult to find when I first started out. Even social media, blogs, forums, etc were difficult to find. The times I did find people talking, there was very little about filter, and certainly little to do with the science of it.
Now? Well, Coffee Forums UK has grown massively since my last visit, with a healthy cross section of home baristi and professionals. It's difficult to search for coffee without finding a blog, a book or a forum, and with people like the guys at Tamper Tantrum putting out great podcasts, filled with really, really geeky knowledge, education is getting easier and easier. The public even seems more open. Looks like all those crap newspaper articles about 'speciality coffee' might have had some kind've affect.
So what does that mean for us? (If you're reading this, I assume you're a geek (or have just been directed here...probably by me), but if you're not, I apologise, because this probably won't apply to you. Please, bear with me though) We need to capitalise. Grab people's attention, make coffee accessible, appealing, make things like V60s and Aeropresses the go-to home barista kit, rather than Gaggia super-autos. Down South, I know people are doing a great job, but up North we're fighting a good, hard battle. Cuppings, latte art jams, free or at least cheap barista courses, evenings where people can come along, get in cheap, taste a load of coffees and be taught something about them. You'd be amazed how many people's eyes actually light up when you tell them what a bloom is.
So; the future. Well, for Third Wave, I'd like to develop something of a local feel. Every blog in existence tells us everything about Square Mile, the London Coffee Scene, the SCAE, etc. Newcastle has some great cafes and some great baristi, and soon, I hope, some really, really good events. That'll be my job. Which is where my other bit of news comes in...
I'd like to welcome a new writer. Dane, unfortunately, is no longer part of the coffee industry. Just so that you don't get sick and tired of my rantings, I've gotten someone on board to replace him, someone with a huge passion not only for coffee, but also for tea and (this one seems almost unhealthy...) bread; sour bread in particular. His name is Matt Pickering, and he's an awesome guy. He's been a barista for 11 weeks, and knows far more about certain things than I do. He's a very quick learner, and has a lot to teach me (and hopefully you). From what I gather (I don't hold a very tight leash on my writers...except quiet editorial control :p), he plans to do a Barista 101 in a series of articles as he reads a couple of very good books on the science of coffee. I, for one, can't wait.
Hope that's enough for now. Sometime soon I'll be posting a couple of tastings (got a Monsooned Malabar and La Ilusion from HasBean, as well as a couple of Union microlots, stuff like that), but until then, happy hunting (...for people to educate, turn into coffee geeks...go be metaphorical vampires!).