coffee fest 2008 – washington dc

17 02 2008

espresso machineI attended my first Specialty Coffee trade show yesterday. Washington hosted a Coffee Fest trade show for coffee industry folks, and I was able to make my way in and mingle with some pretty important folks in the worldwide coffee scene. In addition to chatting with equipment suppliers & manufacturers, I was able to watch world-class baristas do their thing in both latte art competitions and while making drinks for the attendees.

I tasted coffees roasted by the top names in the country, and made on the most elaborate & best espresso machines on the planet. I was extremely pleased to find out that the coffee I roast & brew at home Zoka espresso(whether on my Bunn ES-1A espresso machine, Cory vacuum pot, French Press, or whatever) is right on the mark with the best of the best (in my humble opinion!) I had espresso shots from Counter Culture Coffee, Intelligencia and the like. The only shot of espresso that stopped me dead in my tracks was from Zoka of Seattle – their coffee was ‘best in show’ in my book. It was a real standout, and I know where the bar is set now.

I finally got to meet someone I have known for almost 2 years through online forums &kuban111 & dmankin correspondences. Reinaldo Miguel (aka Michael or Kuban111) is a home coffee roaster & in-house barista like me, and we finally got to shake hands in person & spend the afternoon checking out the show’s exhibits together. Michael, his lovely wife Ale, their acquaintance Andrey and I walked & talked (and drank, of course) coffees & espresso shots from around the world together.

I can’t wait for Coffee Fest 2009!

down in front!

9 02 2008

Hurray Peter! Yesterday, he received his award for Special Achievement from the principal of his school. There was a small ceremony in which a handful of students received this award. All recipients were hand-picked by their teachers.

Peter was the youngest to participate. Mom & Dad hid from view as Peter was brought into the auditorium – seeing us would have thrown him into further confusion as to why he was being pulled from his classroom to attend the ceremony. He sat with the other recipients, quietly & maturely.

CosmoAt the start of the ceremony, the school mascot entered the arena – Cosmo the Crocodile. Island Creek Elementary is filled with crocodile images and likenesses. Even little Peter is used to seeing them everywhere, but Cosmo entered the room, walking, smiling, green, and 6 feet tall! As he entered, one could hear the sounds of a preschooler becoming slightly unsettled.

Wisely, Peter’s turn came very early in the program. Each student was to receive a certificate from the principal, shake hands with her, walk over to Cosmo, shake the reptile’s hand, turn to the camera for a photo op, and be reseated. Peter carefully took his certificate from Dr. Owner and the vice principal, the fuzzy beast maintained a safe distance from the whimpering lad, and he returned to his seat.

I, on the other hand, had my own battle to fight in the audience. I borrowed my brother’s video camera to record Peter’s academic milestone. I emerged quietly & stealthfully from my hidden position in the crowd, sat myself on the floor in front of the audience – so no one could obstruct the camera’s line-of-sight. Peter’s shining moment was all of maybe 10 seconds, and I wasn’t going to miss it.

No one, however, told the man who apparently thought Peter was cute… so cute that he wanted to get him on videotape. As Peter was receiving his certificate, and was now facing the crowd (still upset about Cosmo), this guy jumps down in front of me, completely blocking me (and the camera) from seeing Peter’s proud moment in the spotlight. Now, while figuring out a foreign videocam, I had to get up and move to see the action!

Anyway, here it is – captured on videotape. Don’t blink – it’s over in a hearbeat!

You’ve done amazing work this year, Peter Mankin.
We Love You!


1 02 2008

The mailman brought us a surprise today –
a letter from Peter’s school principal.
Our son will be receiving an award for “Independent Skills”.

Peter’s Award Letter

Way to go, Peter.
We’re beyond proud of you and your accomplishments.