Last Week With Ben Blake – Week of October 1...

Last Week With Ben Blake – Week of October 19th, 2013

Image - Oct 14, 2013 01.52.13

Maybe you spent the last week learning to pull shots, steam milk, and pour drinks like me, and now your hands and fingers are burnt and numb—or maybe you spent the week loitering at LA coffee spots, hoping to catch a glimpse of Jerry Seinfeld. Whatever the case may be, here’s all the coffee news you missed in the last 7 days —all in one spot. It’s like a large pumpkin spice latte condensed down into a macchiato cup and carefully crafted with pumpkin purée and butter.   


Milan, Italy is the coffee world this week – This weekend, the city of Milan is playing host to three huge coffee events (Host, WBC All Stars, and Out of the Box), and the Sprudge editorial team is on site to bring you all the latest. You may be asking yourself “so what? Why do I care?” Well, fancypants, here are three good reasons:

1. Because Host is the biggest hospitality industry expo on the planet.  If the annual SCAA Expo here in the United States is the speciality coffee world’s Comic-Con, then imagine Host as if Comic-Con, the E3 expo, PAX Prime in Seattle, Big Green Eggfest in Atlanta, and Tales of the Cocktail got together to have a well-dressed Italian baby, all under the same roof. It’s a huge show. Because like events such as Comic-Con and E3, Host is when many specialty coffee manufacturing companies around the world choose to debut new and exciting products.

2. Because WBC All Stars is perhaps the greatest assembly of barista champion talent ever put together for one event. I mean, just look at this line-up:

Pete Licata (2013 World Champion), Raul Rodas (2012 World Champion), Alejandro Mendez (2011 World Champion), Gwilym Davies (2009 Champion), James Hoffmann (2007 World Champion), Stefanos Domatiotis (perennial Greek champion and repeat World Finalist), Colin Harmon (perennial Irish champion and repeat world finalist), Matt Perger (2013 Australian Champion, 2nd place at 2013 Worlds), Francesco Sanapo (Italian champion and World Finalist), and Fabrizio Sencion (2012 Mexican champion, 2nd in the Worlds in 2012). Also contributing via video segments are Stephen Morrissey (2008 World Champion) and Michael Phillips (2010 World Champion).

3. Because La Marzocco’s Out Of The Box is its own fascinating counterpoint to Host, and this year’s event will see LM podebuting a wide variety of new research and information, including the fruits of their collaboration with Illy and the University of Florence, and a presentation called “Filp That Bar” from students and faculty at the European Institute of Design. There will also be talks from noted coffee brainiacs like Dr. Timothy Schilling (World Coffee Research), David Griswold (Sustainable Harvest), Francesco Illy (Gruppo Illy SpA), and Scott Guglielmino (La Marzocco USA /

Be sure to following along here on Sprudge for all the latest from these incredible events.


Five Regional Food-Coffee Pairings You’ve Gotta Try – Sometimes, you just want to enjoy some good food with your coffee—is that too much to ask? Well, we’ve put together five fantastic regional pairings for you to try. I’ll leave it to my editors to poetically explain a bit about them:

“Our selections aren’t “high end,” but if you’re too “Third Wave” to enjoy any of the following, you need to check yourself, lest you wreck yourself out of enjoying some of the most delightful food and coffee pairings known to man.”


8 Things Every Coffee Geek Knows To Be True – Sometimes, it’s tough to be passionate about coffee and also be surrounded by people who just don’t care that much. We’ve all had that “it-all-tastes-like-coffee, why-do-you-care-so-much?” experience with a family member at some point. Well, we sympathize with you, so we put together this list—complete with hand-picked GIFs—to prove it to you.


Why Oakland Coffee Matters – Leif Haven penned a lovely piece on the Oakland coffee scene and why it matters. He (passionately and lovingly) talks about Oakland’s “scrappy” coffee scene and walks through a few different places to grab coffee in the area. It’s a really nice feature on a Bay Area city that might tend to get a tad overshadowed by its neighboring counterpart.


40 Hours of Chicago Coffee, Pt. 1 – Alex Bernson recently spent some time in the Second City to check out Intelligentsia’s Logan Square location. While there, he stopped off at a few other places with great coffee and fantastic design elements. This time, he takes us through Caffe Streets and Gaslight Coffee Roasters and reminds us just how awesome Chicago’s coffee scene is.


A Cafe You Should Crowdfund (Right Now) – Liz Clayton has the scoop on “The Monkey & The Elephant,” a mobile Philadelphia coffee pop-up started by Lisa Miccolis to help former foster youth get into the workforce. The idea first took shape in Miccolis’ mind as a way to connect former foster children—a branch of formerly at-risk youth that, once no longer youth, are too-quickly scuttled out of the system and into a work force for which they’ve had little preparation.

Her current set up is nice, but it’s a but to offer these former foster folks more stability, Miccolis herself wants to create a cafe with stability. To that end, she’s launched a crowdfunding campaign via to secure everything needed for opening her bricks and mortar cafe, including a Synesso (currently on layaway from Coffee Lab International).


Ben Blake is the genius behind Draw Coffee (@DrawCoffee), a working barista at Peregrine Espresso in Washington DC,  and a regular contributor to Read more Ben Blake here!




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