Monthly Archives: January 2015

Audio Cafe 044: Why Coffee Professionals Should Go To Origin

Reasons to Visit Coffee Origin

I would think you agree that baristas and roasters, anyone else in the coffee industry should consider traveling to coffee origin to see a farm in production for themselves. Its a wonderful time and some see it as a ‘right of passage.’

Knowing that some baristas are having a hard time showing the value of visiting coffee origin, I asked Christian Ott, the Director of Coffee from Stone Creek Coffee, to come and share his thoughts.

Personally, I’ve been to origin before, and Christian brought up some great points that I hadn’t even seen. Wonderful stuff.

Some of the questions we cover:

  • When did Stone Creek Coffee start visiting origin?
  • What if a customer cares more than you do?
  • How did you pick the first origin?
  • How does it improve your personal coffee skills?
  • How does it elevate the team?
  • “I’m finally going to origin” statement by barista rubbing Levi the wrong way.
  • What assumptions about origin need to be removed?
  • Water Avenue Coffee in Portland covers a % of the cost to visit origin, is this a good idea?
  • At what skill level should a barista consider an origin trip?
  • What types of updates should you give your customers and staff?
  • Besides coffee quality or origin conditions what type of information are you bringing back to your staff?
  • What is the value for the farmer to host your trip?
  • What is the most important thing to keep in mind when at origin?

Of course add in your thoughts about why its a good idea to visit coffee origin.Christian Ott Director of Coffee Stone Creek Coffee

Audio Cafe 043: Cooking With Coffee

Kenny Buckley is a friend of mine and is the Executive Chef at Airways Brewing in Kent, WA. I reached out about cooking with coffee, he gave me some advice, then we hopped on a call. No recipes in this episode, just mouth-watering-ideas that are surprisingly easy to employ.

Ken Buckley Bio:

Executive Chef at the Beer & Bistro

Ken found out about Airways through a meeting of the Impaling Alers, Kent’s homebrew club. “It was love at first sip when I went to my first Cask Thursday in February of 2012. Tickle Your Zwickel was on tap that night.” After offering his services when the Bistro needed backup, Ken became a full-fledged crew member in August of 2012.

Ken has made his mark behind the scenes with flavorful new dishes, and is now responsible for menu and team development during an upcoming kitchen expansion. “I hope to ‘come original’ with some of the tastiest foods that Kent has to offer. I also expect to contribute to some mean food and beer pairings, and I’m awaiting the next brew that Alex is ready to challenge me with.”

Ken brings with him a wide range of experience including culinary training at the Art Institute of Seattle, and work in a variety of culinary outlets including a local winery, where his taste for local, original, tangible culinary arts blossomed.

When he’s not homebrewing or cooking, Ken is a family guy with two boys and a lovely wife. His six and eight year olds even help separate their homegrown hops for homebrewing.

Favorite Airways Brew: Jet City ESB. “It’s the best of both worlds (hops & grain), and also does an amazing job bubbling around bratwurst or completing the perfect beer batter.”


  • Time guide to show you what was covered:
    • 3:50
      • Dry vs brewed coffee
      • pH levels in cold brewed coffee
    • 6:00
      • Whiskey barrel aging
      • Making desserts
      • Can you re-use the barrel?
      • 12:00 (Woodenville Whiskey)
    • 13:30
      • Grilling with open flame
    • 17:30
      • Different ingredients and how they work with coffee
      • Tofu, terriaki non-chicken dish
      • Coffee can help tenderize lamb, bring earthiness to flavor, works well if you balance it with vinegar as well
      • White meats work well with cold brewed coffee (think ginger, scallion, yuzu, citrus).
    • 22:30
      • You want coffee to be the background flavor not the forefront
    • 26:00
      • What can you make in a café?
    • 33:00
      • Why isn’t your menu working out?
      • Talk to your clientele/staff and learn what is/isn’t working on the menu
      • How does the food compliment with your beverages
      • People want something that is your personality, when they love you they know what’s you and what’s not
    • 40:00
      • “Guided freedom” how much should you rely on your staff to create menu items?
      • Build a team that compliments your skills, allow your staff to lean on their unique skills
      • Give your team some guidelines like the ingredients your shop has on hand, then let them be creative and unique
    • 49:00
      • Parting 3 questions
      • John Matthia
    • 54:00
      • Cold brew on tap

Audio Cafe 042: Starbucks Reserve Location

Thoughts from Visiting the new flagship Starbucks Reserve location

barista at Starbucks reserve

This is not a complete description of the Starbucks Reserve location, but select observations from visiting it between Christmas and New Years. If you don’t like Starbucks then you may not like this episode ;-]

Link to my bullet point blog post, with additional links about Starbucks.

Audio Cafe: 041: 2015 Foodservice Predictions

I found this article which has 10 predictions that I totally agree with. You can see them all here.

Building off that list I wanted to add some of my own food predictions:

fortune cookie future predictions

  1. Video Blogs Replacing Menus
    1. Helping you plan a head and answering all the questions you may have. Wouldn’t it be impressive to get a text with a link to a video of a chef explaining their seasonal specials?
    2. Videos of the chef selecting meat, or playing around with new dishes that aren’t on the menu yet.order food through your iphone
  2. Voting Online for the Next Direction
    1. From main dishes to cocktails, restaurant managers will be taking notice from KickStarter and letting the public in on what they have in mind, allowing them to vote a head of time.
    2. In the end this will create super fans who can say “I voted for this dish” and now have to order it, and will allow restaurants to populate their menu with the most popular pre-selling dishes.retro salt and pepper shakers
  3. Guest Chefs or Culinary Icons Crossing Food Genres
    1. I’m looking forward to seeing more experts combining forces for one unforgettable experience. Like Kaldis Coffee Roasters in St Louis, who periodically creates a restaurant popup and hosts meals with coffee. They feed up to 30 people  up to 9 courses! Nine! Every one of them has coffee (their coffee of course) as an ingredient in the dish. All of the wait staff and chefs are actual employees, from baristas designing menus, loading dock workers creating desserts, to the Marketing Manager playing chef for the night.giant macaroni
  4. No More Secrets Between Competitors
    1. In the coffee world I am already seeing direct competitors sharing their secrets with each other. The truth is the coffee community is tight, and there are a lot of friends serving the same customers. Rather than trying to protect their secrets more businesses are embracing their differences as a marketing point. Maybe they have realized there is enough business to go around for everyone.BigCentral uppercut boxing gym 2014
  5. Turning a Job Into a Career
    1. More baristas are finding ways to make a living and even support a family off of what used to be an entry level position. As more information is available and more competitions are springing up for different niches, so the most elite barista/bartender/sommelier/mixologist/ect are being rewarded.history of whiskey
  6. Telling the History Behind the Food or Drink
    1. Who invented Irish Coffee? Why is it a Tom Collins, or Arnold Palmer? What difference does Saigon cinnamon make over another cinnamon? These new menus will explain why that ingredients matters and create a connection through stories. It will also be a great springboard for conversations between guests.

Anything I missed? Better yet, if you have seen one of these please let me know on Twitter (@Boyrista) or in the comments.