What the Venice store means to me.

Well, friends, another competition season is over. You can tell because of how quiet the online coffee world has become. My lack of blogging is a fine example. However, I think I’ve finally come out of my “Post Competition Depression (PCD)” cave. It’s something I’ve come to face every year since 2006. You gear up for a regional, step into the USBC, hopes are high, you’re on bar 30-40 hours a week, and spending countless time practicing after-hours, and then, it’s over… Suddenly you’re not traveling anywhere for awhile, your friends were left behind somewhere a couple of weeks before that regional, and you’re really not sure what else you do anymore, beyond compete and practice. Yeah… I’m glad I’m coming out of that.

In fact, there’s a lot to be excited about. My Intelli Family has recently doubled in LA. I posted some photos a bit ago capturing some of the BBQ we hosted at our place… Thanks Kyle, my fridge is still full of meat! It’s exciting to have awhole new crew training and preparing to do something epic. It makes me reflect and appreciate all the time we spent in the training lab at our roasting works. The foundation they are laying is going to play a huge roll in how the next 3-6 months of their lives will play out.

I’m anxious for the Venice store to open. Personally, I live too close and spend too much time at the Silverlake store to enjoy coffee there. I drink it and I love what we’re serving, but it’s that whole “most memorable cup” thing where it’s more about the context in which you are drinking coffee that matters more than what you are drinking.

In fact, while on the subject, I’d say these are the top 5 cups in my life so far…

1. Post USBC 2008 Ecco Experimental Espresso III @ Kopplin’s in St. Paul, MN

2. Hairbender, as Billy Wilson walked me through the layers of flavor. (My 1st straight espresso, Sept. 2003)

3. My first Cafe Niko @ Vivace Roasteria with my friend Ashley, sometime close to midnight, with still a drive back to Portland ahead of us.

4. !st experience at Broadway Intelligentsia, post an 8 hour drive from Minnesota to Chicago (Feb. 2005). My espresso was automatically served in paper (WTF). But it was the first good espresso I’d tasted in probably 5 months.

5. The French Pressed Kenya that Drew Cattlin, Chris Baca, Brent Fortune, Jared Truby, Devin Pedde, and I pan roasted last year over a campfire. (Looking forward to doing that again this year… it tasted like lemonade).

Anyway, I’m looking forward to more of those cups at the new coffee bar opening soon. The party, which I’m sure most of you have heard about it, is a week from tomorrow (5/22). It is going to be epic. Just like the store. I’ve already had a good couple of ‘soul searching’ kinda conversations in the entry way, and I look forward to many more. For the crew that will beworking this coffee bar, it will be place to scientifically dissect every part of what makes coffee so great. For me, it will be a place to finally connect with what coffee is really about… and I’m stoked for that.