Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ennui, WBC and Coffee

Despite the whirlwind that was the WBC, over the last month or so I found myself less enthused than ever about coffee. A few notable exceptions aside, really good coffee seemed to be pretty scarce on the ground. Fortunately, a few stunning coffees have sparked my interest again. This post is a news update that will be followed up by a coffee update within a week or so.


What a ride. I have been mulling over what to post about it ... how to capture the tremendous amount of work that went on behind the scenes and the bittersweet sensation of Dave's sensational second place finish. Well, I guess that I have pretty much summed it up in that last sentence.

I'll keep it short and sweet. Watching Dave's performance from 2nd place at the ABC last year to WBC this year has been nothing short of inspirational. Whatever you might say about Dave, you have to concede that he is an incredible barista and approached the task of winning the WBC with boundless energy, enthusiasm and effort. It was certainly an honour to be able to tag along for the ride. I hope that whoever wins next year avails themselves of the experience and expertise that Dave and the Veneziano crew have acquired. And, yeah, I guess that I have to concede that some of the coffee that I got to taste was pretty damned amazing!

End of an era

With my final semester at uni upon me, I have made the decision to resign from working Saturdays at First Pour. For the past four or five years, I have pushed myself to the breaking point by overloading at uni, volunteering and working a few jobs at once. I count myself extremely lucky to have had all of the opportunities that life has afforded me, but I look forward to focussing on my studies this semester and taking my last opportunity to enjoy the life of an undergrad.

It's fair to say that I have probably learned more about coffee from working at First Pour and the big V than I have from anything else. Dedication to producing great coffee is a given, but perhaps one of the other truly special things about the big V is the company's willingness to support its junior staff in learning more about coffee and advancing their careers in the industry. I will certainly miss working at such a fun place. I will also miss having customers with such good palates and a dedication to coffee that sees them travelling down dodgy-looking industrial back-alleys to get their weekly fix.

David Seng is back at university and has taken over from me at First Pour on Saturdays. He is joined by a new trainee, Ben. Frankly, Sengster is probably a better barista than I am - at the very least he's faster - so it ought to work out well for the customers. It is hoped that having an additional staff member on Saturdays will facilitate a few extra activities that I was never able to run by myself.

I'll still drop by Veneziano to keep up with the goss and leech off the guys as I did before and from time to time you might well see me filling in behind the bar or in some other capacity.

Yeah. I'll miss that Robur and FB80.

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