Sunset Junction Parking Lot Art Show

Saturday night brought us another unique opportunity to build relationships with the people of Silverlake. For those who haven’t heard, the Silverlake store will be in the middle of a complex of shops called Sunset Junction… just on the corner of Sunset and Sanborne. Parking for the shop will be in the parking lot located behind the building… But for one night a year, the parking lot is filled with moving trucks and artists showcase their work on the walls of the truck. This year, our land lord, Garreth, and his wife asked us to bring some gear and rock some ‘spro. So, we packed the GS3 in the back of my car and setup a couple tables.

Peop this for a taste of the happenings…

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Smack Downs and more…

I feel like I’ve been pretty quiet the last week or so. It’s probably because we’ve been locked in the Intelli.LA training lab for past couple weeks. Official training has been carrying on for a bit now and we’re taking so much in. This week brought us time with K.C. O’Keefe and lessons on green coffee, farms, exporting/importing, and the whole shah-bang!

Anyway, somewhere in this mess of training, we managed to pick up our new barista… Mr. Stephen Morrissey. Stephen will be with us about a month for sure… and from there he’ll probably keep on wandering. In the mean time, it’s been great to hang out with him… and man, this kid can cook! The past three nights we’ve all had dinner sitting around the big table in the dining room of the bungalow… a first for this house since I’ve been here. The food has been incredible!

Somewhere in the middle of training, we all need to find a source of comic relief. So, we have introduced the Intelli LA Full Bar Smack Down… The game is simple… we set up a mach bar that resembles what the coffee bar on Sunset will look like. Then someone places orders and the two people on bar race to produce all the orders as fast as they can with as much professionalism as they can. I caught up with Kyle Glanville right before the Smack Down to ask him a few questions about his past USBC experience and how it relates to the Intelli LA Full Bar Smack Down…

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrOePjQnR7Q”>
The day was long and the competition was hard… There were four teams in todays event. Team Sha-Boom featured Stephen Morrissey and, ex-Vivace barista, Deanna Mustard. The second team, Team Management, featured Kyle Glanville and, Intelligentsia Silverlake manager, Colin Mahony. My good friend Devin Pedde rocked the bar with, ex-Victrola barista, Jules Manoogian… and finally, yours truly was paired up with former Klatch roaster, Nick Griffith… making us Team Shiite Happens… To You.

The battle was rough… Team Sha-Boom rocked the house and finished in a sheer 7:45. Team Management caved under the intense pressure. A cappuccino was spilled early on and set Management back. They recovered will, but still finished in just under 10 minutes. Team Salsa hit us all hard with a great soundtrack featuring Amy Grant. They rocked it steady, but simply took too long finishing around 8:30. Finally, Shiite stepped up to the plate and we did what we could… We hit it hard, but still finished at 7:47, simply 2 seconds behind Team Sha-Boom…

Devin Pedde grabbed the camera and managed to catch up with me right after we finished our round…

Judges K.C. O’Keefe and Stephen Rogers took sometime too calibrate in the back and finally emerged with the scores. Fourth place went to Team Management. Third place went to Team Salsa. Finally, second place went to Team Sha-Boom. Team Shiite Happens… To You won by having a sense of professionalism and keeping things fairly clean. However, Team Sha-Boom was definitely the cleanest, and apparently, the best latte art came from Team Management…

Next week we’ll be offering another Smack Down… Hopefully, we’ll have more video… I’m paired up with Colin for next week, so we’ll see what happens… Team names will be determined shortly…

Another Weekend in Portland

Well, I’m typing this on the plane as I am reflecting on a pretty rock-solid weekend in good ol’ Portland. It’s been an eventful past few days and looking back I think some of the experiences will be sticking with me awhile. Then again, I guess that’s the mentality I should have being that I just watched my little brother graduate a few days ago.

It was the people who were in town with me that made this trip unique. Katie Carguilo was in Portland with a ‘series’ of Murky baristas. It seemed like everyday that we hung out, she had to had to either drop someone off at the airport or pick someone up.

We rolled all over town and check out the usual spots like the Albina Press, Crema, Stumptown’s Ace, and Lava Java. We also hit a newer spot that I feel needs to get more credit. The dudes at Coffee House Northwest are awesome! The shop can be found at 20th and Burnside and is an experience. The place seems to be run by total coffee geeks. These guys know there stuff and have no problem digging deeper to learn more. The barista’s there will pull you shots till your stomach lining is begging for mercy. Here’s the catch… There’s not a sign of snobbery. That’s right kids… they are excellent in the customer service realm and extra friendly… It’s awesome. Much love to those guys. (The picture is something they have framed next to their machine… kinda cool.)

Cupped a few coffees this weekend too. We’ve been up to mad cupping action in LA, so it was cool to take my slightly more exercised skills and put them to the test. I went both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday the Guatemala Finca El Injerto was pretty bangin’… Sunday, it was a whole new ball game in the best way. The roast date was the same both days and on Sunday this coffee peaked so beautifully… It was so sweet with hints of jasmine, orange blossom, and deep dark chocolate. I’m totally stoked to rock the Arturo mug I bought as well.

Another coffee that Stumptown is rocking is their Panama Don Pache lot. This coffee is so sweet and full of life. It hits your pallet with bright ginger like sweetness. Balances out to sweet pear-like nectar. The Kenya that was on the table was also rad. It had this odd passion fruit note in the middle, but never crossed into negative territory. Beautiful.

Last night was the perfect cap to put on a great weekend. The UK kids finally landed in Portland last night. Stephen Morrissey, James Hoffman, & Annette all arrived and the beers were flowing. It was great to finally meet two of the great minds of this industry. Their trip is not over and we will be seeing them in LA soon. I’m stoked to cup with Annette… I mean, really, the World Tasting Champion.

Well, this flying out at 6 in the morning is ridiculous. I’m dead tired, so time to put the laptop away and crash. That is all for now…