Mercadito Mi-Amore!

Mercadito Miami is the latest outpost of fine-casual, Mexi-centric Mercadito Restaurants, who specialize in tapas and tequilas.  They’ve been a hit in Chicago for a few years now and their first foray into Miami is nothing short of spectacular.  With some of the finest tacos THIS dude has ever consumed and a ridiculously creative cocktail menu designed by the mixologists at Tippling Bros,  this is a must-see spot if you’re in the Miami area.  Seriously… the carne asada tacos… BANGIN!

I’ve had the distinct pleasure of hanging out with these guys on the few occasions I’ve found myself in Miami, but my most recent trip was really something special.

Miami serves our Octavio Cafe line of coffees with a killer espresso program and some awesome drip coffee to boot!  But with all this great coffee floating around, I was surprised to hear they had never participated in a formal coffee cupping experience.  This could not stand!

So armed with a couple pounds of coffee, some glassware and a few spoons, I made the pilgrimage to Miami’s Design District to introduce the staff of Mercadito Miami to the wonders of an organized coffee cupping.  And boy did our noses thank us for it.

As a group we explored the wondrous aromas of Octavio Cafe ground dry, whilst steeping and eventually participated in the ritualistic slurping and spitting that are the hallmarks of a formal coffee tasting.  The coffee was brilliant, if I do say so myself, exhibiting chocolatey, nutty aromas and a sweet, smooth caramelly finish.

At the end of the cupping, we were all a little wired and our noses were exhausted.  What ever were we to do?  Enjoy a beautifully-crafted mezcal cocktail of course (it being very much after 5 pm at that point).  The sun was shining, there was a slight breeze and music was dancing lightly throughout the air.  I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend an afternoon than with the folks down at Mercadito.

So, next time you’re in Midtown Miami, stop by Mercadito and ask for Fraser.  He’ll whip you up an unforgettable cocktail and maybe show you some bar flare while you wait for your guacamole and carne asada tacos!

Nashville’s Finest Mobile Movers and Shakers

It’s been a big year for coffee in Nashville, TN.  The city has seen a true influx of specialty coffee in the past 5 years, but this last year has seen the town lovingly embrace one of the country’s hottest crazes: MOBILE FOODSTUFFS FOR THE MASSES!

We at Dallis Bros. were honored recently by the gentlemen of Beve Mobile Coffee, Nashville’s first-ever specialty pop-up cafe, in sponsoring their first ever Free Coffee Thursday at Avenue Bank in Cummins Station.  Avenue Bank is a Nashville local that has been highly supportive of the small business scene in town for the past few years, and are truly beloved in the area.  Their motto is “The Difference is Real,” and the guys over at Beve thought our coffee suited that motto perfectly.

Needless to say, much awkward blushing abounded over the course of the morning as our own Dan Mueller assisted the boys of Beve in brewing a variety of our Cup of Excellence and Micro-Lot offerings from Central America and East Africa.  The event was a resounding success, as Dan and Beve brought specialty coffee to an utterly unsuspecting crowd.  For the folks that came down for a free cup, it was love at first sip!

Look forward to more small-business partnerships such as these as we at Dallis Bros. continue to support any and all passionate coffee geeks looking to push the envelopes of quality and expectation.

Thanks go to the gentlemen of Beve Mobile Coffee, Avenue Bank of Nashville and the great city of Nashville, TN!

Gearing Up to Wind Down

Today marks the final day of the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s annual Event.  On this day we’ll honor our new ambassador to the world coffee stage that will represent our country in the World Barista Championships in Bogota, Colombia.  At the same time we shall crown the first-ever national champion manual brewer to represent the United States in the World Brewers Cup in Maastricht, Netherlands.

It’s been a long road for everyone involved in this years’ competition circuit, but with along with the eventual exhaustion we all experience towards the end of the year lingers a sense of nostalgia.  Over the past few months we as an industry have shown progression in craft, rapt attention towards the future and a resolve to face the challenges of that future head-on.  Along the road we’ve all forged new friendships, drank some awesome coffees and maybe even learned a thing or two.

Now, it may have come to the readers’ attentions that we at Dallis Bros. Coffee were somewhat light on updates at this particular event, but rest assured that we weren’t resting on our laurels!  Our Flickr account is rife with photos from every aspect of the event.  If you want to see the competitors in (semi)action, or just scope out some of the latest and greatest in coffee-related paraphernalia, shoot on over to our Flickr and give our photos a gander.

Also, we have plenty more material we will be posting up in the next couple of days, so make sure to check back often for a deeper look into the lives of coffee professionals in the modern world!

See and be USB-seen!

A new day in Houston, TX brought with it sunny skies, a nice breeze and an overwhelming need for bananas.  As the day winds down we’ve witnessed some of the best coffee this great country has to offer.  Whether you came for the semifinals of the prestigious United States Barista Championships,  the same round of the still-fresh Brewers Cup, the immense specialty coffee trade show or any of the other myriad educational, developmental or recreational goings-on at the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s annual Event, attendees had no shortage of coffee geekery to amuse themselves with.

Front and center for The Event was the United States Barista Championship semifinals.  The presentations this year were heavy on the close relationships that modern roasters are developing with the farms they support, and how those relationships benefit an industry in the midst of crisis.  Never before has this industry looked to the coming years with more uncertainty, but also never before has this industry looked to our partners overseas and in distant lands and thought that maybe that distance wasn’t quite as ominous as it ONCE was.  More and more we look towards the future and see not just our shops or our superstar baristi glowing in the halo of glory, but we now see that limelight shared with the farmers, processors and importers that provide us with those sweet, sweet beans that we’ve sworn our lives to.

Amongst the rumblings and hushed but urgent conversation buzzing about the convention space were spoken fears about rising C-Market prices, harsh global swings in supply and demand and the eventual stabilization of global coffee culture.  Are these problems that we as an industry have the ability to change?  What lasting impact will these crises have on the industry as a whole?  Do current coffee prices and demand even leave room for Specialty Coffee.  The answer to all these questions is, of course, a resounding “YES!”

The coffee industry on the whole has seen it’s share of cyclical ups and downs, but that unpredictability simply cannot stand any longer.  With drastically increasing green coffee prices showing no signs of slowing their meteoric rise, retail coffee prices are reaching a critical psychological threshold in the eyes of the consumer that, once passed, demand a greater contribution on the part of all involved in the distribution chain.  That means that growers must grow better coffee, and more of it.  It means that roasters must delve deeper into the science and art of their craft to roast coffees that defy and exceed expectation.  It means that the superstar baristi mentioned above must give their lives to their craft, not just pursuing that elusive perfect cup but achieving it, over and over again.

What’s so special about this years’ USBC is that more than ever, we as an industry are beginning to see these goals come into fruition.  The competitors this year are showing more and more the value of supporting the supply chain to a fault.  Local sourcing, fanatical and loving care for the final cup, an emphasis on hospitality and stewardship to the almighty brown bean are all hallmarks of this competition.

It’s an exciting time for our industry and all the billions around the world that rely on the beverage to add value to their lives.  The bad news is that the future does hold uncertainty.  The good news is that we, as an industry, are intrepidly gearing up to face down the greatest challenge we have ever faced.  The consumer can rest assured that the next few years MUST produce the finest coffees the world has ever seen, or we shall simply cease to be relevant.

And by golly, we all know that can’t happen.

Dallis Bros Coffee is thrilled by the coming challenges we face, but we want to know what the consumers are thinking.  Drop us a line and give us your thoughts.  Leave a comment.  Check out our Twitter and Flickr feeds.  Most importantly, just get involved.  Without the guy or gal on the other end of this whole thing drinking these coffees that we pour our hearts into, there wouldn’t be much of an industry to worry about, would there.

The competition is still in full swing, with a whole other day of finals rounds to look forward to, so keep tuned and let us know what you’re thinking.

 

See you out there!

and the NERBC 2011 finalists are…

Congratulations to the NERBC 2011 finalists!  This year’s finalists are (in the order of their appearance tomorrow):

1 – Sam Penix, Everyman Espresso

2 – Philip Search, Dallis Bros Coffee

3 – Mike Jones, Third Rail Coffee

4 – Wiggles Peters, Irving Farm

5 – Brandon Duff, RBC NYC

6 – Park Brannen, Cafe Grumpy

Finals will begin tomorrow at 10:30 a.m.

Congratulations to all of the baristas who have competed this year are most certainly in order.  Their collective efforts have been truly inspirational and a testimony to just how remarkable the coffee culture in NYC has become.  Thank you to you all!

Abe Carmelli does the Twist!

Watch that dastardly Dan Mueller corner yet more prey in the shape of one Abe Carmelli, moderator on Home-Barista.com

Abe discusses the NERBC event space, trends in the home barista set and schools all those spro-mateurs out there in the gear they need in their own kitchens.

If you thought that was cool, keep tuned to dallisbroscoffee.com/nerbc and witness the unfolding action for yourself!

NERBC Day Two, take a bow…

And with that, we bring day two of the Northeast Regional Barista Competition here at beautiful Milk Studios to a close – but fear not!

We had a couple technical hiccups throughout the day getting all this great footage to you, the viewers, but that doesn’t mean the cameras weren’t rolling.  As we get through the night we’ll be posting all the video we took throughout the day but couldn’t get online immediately, so look forward to an abundance of new video to catch up on after you catch up on your zzzzz’s.

WHAT AM I SAYING?!?!

There’s no sleep on the schedule for the crew tonight, and we hope you make that sacrifice with us.  Join the barista crew at The Highline Loft tonight for what has been dubbed The Greatest Latte Art Throwdown of All Time, hosted by Dallis Bros Coffee and Cafe Grumpy!  The fates of the brave baristas will be tested, pairs pouring head to head the design decided upon by The Great Wheel!

Come see our heroes put their meddle to the test, or even pour yourselves.  The prizes include… eh hmm… a plane ticket and travel expenses to Brazil to hang out in the Alta Mogiana region at one of Brazil’s premier coffee farms, followed by a coffee and culture crawl through São Paulo.

Other prizes include a top-of-the-line Baratza coffee grinder and a fabulous manual brewing package provided by Cafe Grumpy.

There will be booze.  There will be well-coiffed company.  There might be dancing.  You’ll regret not coming.

So come out and celebrate the coffee lifestyle with the baddest bunch of baristas this country has to offer!

Benjamin Turiano from Joe Bean Coffee Roasters

With 3 minutes left on the clock and a very cool and calm approach, Benjamin Turiano whips up some latte art for the judges with a rockin latte.

http://www.joebeanroasters.com/

Sam Penix from “Everyman Espresso”

Sam Penix from “Everyman Espresso” rocking with an exceptional performance. Sams final beverage included an egg yolk to increase density in the beverage. Great Work!

Dan Mueller teaching the Renaissance of Latte Art

Dan (Raphael)Mueller of Dallis Brothers Coffee teaching some home baristas on the art of steaming milk and a dabble in latte art. Rosetta Anyone? Ill take one. Great job Dan.