Normalicy.

We have a dude who comes into the coffee bar at least once a day. He orders one of our screwy, but delicious ice drinks. It’s at the point where we no longer ask him what he wants… You know how it is… You just que it up and go…

It’s good to be back to life as normal…

…And Tonx if you’re reading this from your iphone, I hope Burning Man is amazing.

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Ponderings and Discoveries…

So, I guess you could call this phase two of my existence as a Clover-ized barista. My experience with the Clover has been epic to say the least. I went from being an ignorant, espressoholic to an actual coffee advocate. It was the Clover that lead my heart toward single origins. Where, once I discovered how amazing each coffee can be, I began to become concerned with the farmers producing the fruit. I really wasn’t too worried about Fair Trade and CoE before I fell for what coffee really is.

However motivating these discoveries have been for me, it all goes back to that lovely, aesthetically pleasing machine that is so expensive, but produces one cup of coffee at a time. Magical.

Lately though, in a new region, things have gotten more complicated. Before I continue, I would like to say to Anastasia, David, Zander, and all the other great people at Clover, I, in no way, have anything negative to say about the Clover and all it’s glory. This has nothing to do with you. Please take no offense.

The LA Times decided to write a lovely piece a few months back. One featuring this dream of a machine. Thus sparking a county wide interest in the Clover. Thanks to that God-forsaken newspaper, everyone in LA has heard of this multi-thousand dollar brewer. Here’s where it all goes wrong… Customer walks in and is greeted by the friendly, smile wielding barista. Barista throws out the normal questions, “How are you?” “What’s going on?” “What can I get for you?” Then customer, mid way through order, breaks his sentence and shouts, “Is that one of those twenty thousand dollar coffee thing-a-ma-bobers?!?!” Immediately, they go off about how they have to try a ‘clover.’ And so on…

It’s not a bad thing. It actually, many times, has opened the door for me to introduce them to one of our finer coffees at a higher price point. And, generally, they walk away from the experience, totally satisfied in having something delicious and fulfilling… However, it has lead me to giving a new speech a hundred times a day. Not one of how the machine works, they assume that one on their own. No, no… It’s a speech on the basic elements of what makes the Clover special. The coffee.

I’m sorry friends, but not everyone with a Clover has the quality of coffee we are able to offer. In fact, I know where most, if not all, of the Clovers are in Minneapolis, and I can tell you that only 3 are using excellent coffee. With the changes at Groundwork, who knows what coffee they will begin to buy, and how it will be roasted. Anyway, I wrap this up now, simply by saying, we must not forget what it is we stand for, why we care, and what it really is about.

Exhausted is an understatement for how I feel right now. It’s been a very long and emotional week, a roller coaster if you will… From opening to postponing and back. Had this all been pushed back another week, I’m not even sure how I would have even taken it. But that’s a big what if…

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Ladies and gentlemen, we are open. Open for business in a way we’ve only been dreaming about. It couldn’t have come at a better time. Noon brought us a healthy trickle of customers that lasted all day. I arrived at the bar at 10:30AM. Started working at 11, and left somewhere around 12:30 PM… I think.

The party is over and it was a mad house. 6 kegs, 14 cases of wine, and 8 cheese platters later, the place was ridiculous. It was rad to meet some of the coffee geeks that showed up. Oh, and the coffee celebs who graced us with their presence. Eton Tsuno was in the house, as was Chuck Jones, and Ric Rhinehart. Of course, Tonx was there… Much thanks needs to be given to him for the work he did put into the place.

Now, my life can be kinda normal again. Normal in that sense that I can have odd days of the week off. I can have a normal full time paycheck. Tip money. I can be up at 4:30 in the morning for a reason. This 9-5, Monday through Friday thing throws me off. It’s not meant for a barista.

Update…

Intelligentsia will be opening at noon tomorrow for sure. Mean, I get to be on shift for the first 7 hours of our official existence.

Don’t forget about our party tomorrow night. 7PM Sharp. All are welcome…

I’m exhausted now. The bar looks great… See you tomorrow!

Intelligentsia Silverlake Day -03

Well, today marks the first day the Intelli.la crew was able to operate behind our actual cafe bar. No, we’re not open… Cross your fingers for Wednesday (15th). It was nice though to get a feel for the real experience. It was enlightening to say the least.

However, I will lay my pride on the line and say we got our asses kicked… You may be asking yourself how, when we weren’t open… But keep in mind this whole time we’ve been harassing each other the worst we possibly can to prepare one another for anything. I mean, last week, Mr. Marcus Boni, after he’d been working in our office space for hours, came running into the room shouting about how he had just spilled his drink and everyone needed to be careful… No one knew if he was serious or not. It was so random. We just kinda stared trying to figure out whether we were supposed to go mop something up or not.

In that respect, today was no different. With questions of whether our coffee was shade grown or not flying everywhere, we busted out some seriously quality beverages and tried to keep our heads above water. The problem today was that all 12 of us we as acclimated to our space as if we were new employees. We were battling the constant search to find something else to finish a drink. It was some sight I’m sure.

We broke into two groups and I have tomorrow off. Ms. Deanna Mustard and I will be in the training lab in the afternoon to refine cappuccinos while the other group is at the coffee bar. I meant to take pictures today, but my battery was dead on my camera… Sorry, Thud. The place is magnificent, as the world will soon see!  That’s all for now.

The Silverlake Store Cometh.

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Well, it’s here… Finally. We open next week. I’d tell you what day, but we have one more inspection to get by. Let’s say Wednesday, August 15… and I’ll let you know if that changes… cool? Ok.

So, for those of you who can make it! We request your presence at our party. August 17th, 7PM will bring us a night of great music (DJ NightDogg spinning all night long), Ron Zacappa (23 anos, not 15), some great kegged beer, and some fine wine (most likely provided by the always rocking Silverlake Wine). And of course, the finest coffee in Los Angeles.

The Blackcat in all it’s merlot-esque, deep chocolate, sweet caramel, and mild tobacco goodness has been banging today. Descriptors all across our bar staff board ranged from different chocolates to orange blossom and black berry. The espresso alone has been so wine-like and full of body. We all tasted some 5 oz. caps and it was equally banging in milk. When we open the bar will be fully equipped with our 3 group Synesso and our 3-phase Roburs… with timers. It’s a dream.

Upon opening, the bar will be filled with some of the finest Direct Trade coffee Intelligentsia has purchased yet. Each year, these projects continue to develop and improve and this year they’re all rocking all across the board. My personal favorite right now is our Tres Santos micro-lot (meaning it has consistently cupped a 92+) El Mirador. This coffee is so sweet and full of orange blossom. It’s nice and syrupy sweet and lingers sweetly on the palate for days.

Anyway people! We are opening soon and there is no soft opening. This is an all-hands-on-deck, full out, kick off! So, please, stop by and let us make you something delicious!