It’s that time of year – it’s time when journalists both old and young cannot resist the urge nor deny the editorial mandate to publish “Year in Review” features on coffee. We’ll be rodeo wranglin’ them all up for you here in this post, but here’s what we have so far! Feel free to write in with lists you’ve spotted to YearinReviewRevue@sprudge.com – thanks!
Tien Nguyen is rocking a very LA Weekly-centric wrap-up of the Los Angeles coffee scene in 2011. She manages to link to her own content a whopping 18 times in just one 11 paragraph blog post, setting some kind of record for mainstream media and making her, for this column at least, even more self-referential than Sprudge. (Ed note: We suggest that next year she call her coffee awards “The Noogies”.) Read Tien Nguyen’s Year in Review here!
The Seattle Weekly is the paper Northwesterners turn to when they can’t find or have already read this week’s copy of the Stranger - except for the food writing. The Seattle Weekly has since the dawn of time just absolutely skunked The Stranger when it comes to food writing. This was especially true when SW employed Jason Sheehan, who is probably the best food writer to ever work in Seattle and has the James Beard Awards to prove it, but it’s a true and ongoing thing – The Stranger uses its food column as an excuse to send music writers and political muckrakers out to lunch. Their food writing is only interesting when the byline is Charles Mudede’s, and that’s because, rest assured, the ensuing article will have nothing to do with the restaurant in question, and will instead be a lengthy exegesis on either Mr. Mudede’s childhood in Africa, adulthood in America, or both. The Stranger will not be publishing a year in coffee review this year – if they did, it would go something like this: “We went to Caffe Vita every day, the end.” Meanwhile Seattle Weekly has its very own coffee writer – Rose Tosti, she of growing “Handsome Roasters are the Backstreet Boys of Coffee” infamy – and they’ve just published a Northwest-centric “Best In Coffee” feature in Seattle Weekly’s web column, Voracious. Go ahead and read it here.
Meanwhile, some yutz working for the Mom’s Guidebook folks at Zagat’s published this list, “The 10 Coolest Independent Coffee Shops Across The US“, featuring such notable entries as El Beit (a Brooklyn cafe in the beating shithead heart of Williamsburg; 1/2 of Sprudge.com has been openly mocked by members of the NYC specialty coffee community for so much as charging his cell-phone there), Philz Coffee in San Francisco (really? Philz was the “coolest independent coffee shop” you could find in San Francisco? Did your criteria include “must serve 69 different blends?”) and Ristretto Roasters in Portland, which is really just like…a terrible choice for the “coolest independent coffee shop” in PDX, or anywhere with a pulse, actually.
This whole Zagat’s business got some people pretty cheesed off, none more cheesed than Jason Dominy of Batdorf and Bronson Atlanta, who took to his blog to excoriate Zagat’s at length. Fortunately our buddy Brian Ludviksen (Counter Culture Coffee / PR director for Bojangles Chicken, Piedmont region) is a voice of calm in the maelstrom, and has put together his own list of the lists as a way to paint the whole thing as ridiculous.