Sunday, January 23, 2011

Black Coffee Nights! #2

There was yet another exciting foray into the world of coffee last weekend! On January 14th, we here at Barista Life collaborated with...err, Poznan's Kawiarnia Sweet Surrender to host a stimulating evening of lecture, cupping, and roasting. Glen Gregory of Warsaw's You Bean and Java Coffee Company is a roaster/speaker/cupping master extraordinaire! Glen dazzled us with a slide show presentation that provided a detailed explanation of the Cup of Excellence program and its impact on the coffee industry in Rwanda. The guys at CoE -lead by the impossibly dedicated Susie Spindler- award the "Oscars of coffee" every year to the finest coffees in countries around the world. Glen described the intense 3-day cupping process and the various intricacies of the incredible coffees that qualified for the final round of cupping. On the final day of the competition, the growers of the country's ten best coffees were presented with Cup of Excellence awards. Glen recalled how the room absolutely exploded with applause as the farmers made their way to the front of the auditorium to accept their prizes from the Rwandan Ministry of Agriculture. Glen's description was enough to convince you that this is what it's about! After the Powerpoint, Glen -we kid you not- roasted coffee in front of the audience (pictured here). It was unlike any roasting we've ever witnessed! His tiny roaster was basically a miniature leaf-blower-slash-hairdryer with a funnel on top for the coffee to rotate in. The audience was enthralled as the 25 grams of beans reached first crack. The roaster whirring and the beans crackling were like Pop Rocks on an airplane. One Poznan barista described the opportunity to witness coffee being roasted close-up as "a life-changing experience." After the fascinating roasting demonstration, a cupping was in order. In each of Sweet Surrender's three main rooms, a large table was set with a three sets of coffees Glen had prepared the week before at Java. The blind cupping was, in a word, eye-opening! People of all ages and levels of expertise attacked the samples with gusto. Coffees with bright, shiny acidity really intrigue me, and I initially preferred Sample #1. As the coffees cooled, however, Sample #3's bubbly personality began to shine through. In the end, Glen revealed that Sample #s 2 and 3 were in fact the same coffee (Guatemala FInca La Perla), but that the first sample was taken out of the roaster 20 seconds sooner. The difference was truly striking! I hadn't even noticed Sample #2 while cupping, yet I eventually awarded its brother, Sample #3, my highest CoE-based score! After all of the lecture, cupping, and scoring fun, it was finally time to brew the coffee Glen roasted during his demonstration for the audience to sample. Sweet Surrender baristas used Beehouse dripper cones to prepare two pour-over coffees for event attendees and staff to sample. Not including Glen, it was certainly the freshest coffee anyone in attendance had ever sampled! All in all, our January Black Coffee Night event was the best thing to happen to specialty coffee in Poland since the Aeropress.
For even more delicious coffee night pics, check our Barista Life's photo album here!
Our next Black Coffee Night on Friday, March 4, promises to be just as thought-provoking as previous events. The fabulous Ɓukasz Jura, 2007 Polish Barista Champion and 2009 World Aeropress Champion, will explain and demonstrate a number of different coffee brewing methods -just one more reason you'll want to stay tuned for more information!
**Barista Life is a community of Polish Baristas sharing passion, knowledge and life. To join us or view our events, go to

Thursday, January 13, 2011


We are anticipating a fabulous Black Coffee Night tomorrow night! Welcome all baristas and lovers of coffee to our Poznan, Poland shop Friday night Jan 14ht at 7pm at Sweet Surrender Poznan. We have the incredible Glen Gregory, "Polmerican" roastmaster extraordinaire! He is bringing coffee, grinder and demo roaster, oh my! It will be the most exciting thing since the Hario pour-over cone (we hope). Barista Life is graciously sponsoring the event, and we are happy to have them (yeah, ok, I'm a member too :) Aaron and I have been to coffeeshops all over Poznan chatting it up about this event. Check out this blog for a tell-all re-cap this weekend. Be there, or be...somewhere else.