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Last Week With Ben Blake – Week Of September...

Last Week With Ben Blake – Week Of September 7th, 2013

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It’s been another busy week in coffee, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned since I started here at Sprudge, it’s that the Sprudge Machine never sleeps. It just keeps on going, and there’s a pretty good chance you missed something this week. That’s okay, I’ve got you covered—here’s a whole week’s worth of coffee content, rolled up into a nice, round bouncy ball.

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Colombia: We took an in-depth look—though really we only scratched the surface—at the second staged Coffee Farmers strike this year in Colombia. Somehow, this latest strike has slipped under the radar, but coffee farmers are participating in a strike that has been dominated by mass mobilizations and blockades of major highways, riots in the capital, protesters dead, dozens of police injured and hundreds arrested. The government called out the Army to restore order. Michael Sheridan helped us break it all down.

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Coffee Uncut: There was a brand new episode of “Coffee Uncut,” a podcast we host here on Sprudge. This week’s episode is part two of a discussion on customer service. This time, host Alex Littlejohn talks shop with John Martin (Lamill – Los Angeles, California), Teresa Pilarz (Espresso Elevado – Plymouth, Michigan), and Andrew Villa (Bellano Coffee – San Jose, California).

Speaking of Podcasts, we announced yesterday that our Sprudge Media networki s now the home for “Portafilter Interviews with Nick Cho.” (The very first episode dropped late last night on iTunes). More from our coverage:

“Portafilter Interviews is a “new edition” of the Portafilter.net podcast, originally hosted by Nick Cho and Jay Caragay. The show went on hiatus in 2008 and had a resurgence in 2011 with Nick Cho and Mark Inman. Now, Portafilter Interviews has a fresh new format. Portafilter Interviews is “conversations by, for, and about the people and personalities in the coffee industry.”

In the first episode, Nick Cho interviews SCAA Executive Director Ric Rhinehart. Mr. Rhinehart talks about his early days eating wings as a KFC fry cook in the 1970s – and how that lead him to his role today. It is a compelling hour of radio – and we hope you’ll listen.

Inside Copa Vita (Photo: Sofia Wolfson)

Inside Copa Vita (Photo: Sofia Wolfson)

Copa Via: Our Los Angeles contributor Julie Wolfson sat down with Copa Vida owner Steve Chang to talk about the brand new coffee spot in Pasadena. This brand new space is in Old Town Pasadena, surrounded by high end stores, and just a stone’s throw from Intelligentsia Pasadena. Mrs. Wolfson’s rhetoric and photography put you right in the action and provide a fantastic glimpse of Pasadena’s newest coffee spot.

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Crossley Street: Eileen P. Kenny took us behind the scenes of Seven Seeds’ brand new espresso bar “Traveller,” located on Crossley Street in Melbourne, Australia. More from Ms. Kenny:

“The space for Traveller is petite, highly functional, and very inviting. Walking in the door from Crossley street, you’re immediately hit with the warmth of the light wood, the velvety-looking red benches, and the streamlined espresso bar. There are no seats, and the space is oriented around the takeaway coffee, with a little window looking out onto the street and a cosy ledge for city-workers to pick up their coffees from.”

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Classic: Ms. Kenny also spent some time at Patricia Coffee Brewers in Melbourne, soaking in the aesthetics of the cafe and providing readers with yet another glimpse into the awesome coffee scene that’s blossoming in Melbourne. More from her time there:

“Opened in December 2011 as a joint venture by Bowen Holden (formerly of Seven Seeds, Brother Baba Budan, De Clieu) and Pip Heath (formerly of Dead Man Espresso), Patricia—named after Pip and Bowen’s grandmas of the same name—is an aesthetically beautiful and quality-driven coffee bar in the heart of Melbourne.”

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Cutting Ribbons: We took a look at the brand new Onyx Coffee Lab as part of our Buildouts of Summer (BOOS) feature. The folks at Onyx took what was formerly known as “Arsaga’s” in Fayettsville, Arkansas, and turned it into a brand new shop in just five days. Husband and wife team Jon and Andrea Allen installed hand-made wooden shelves and bar tops, a pour-over bar, several cold brew towers, and a Modbar. They gave us the latest scoop on all the goods.

Also as part of BOOS, we talked with Supagroup’s Guitarist Benji Lee. Mr. Lee owns The Saint Bar & Lounge, an iconic dive bar and tiki joint in New Orleans, and has spent the summer building out HiVOLT Coffee in the Lower Garden District of New Orleans.

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Combo-Brewers: Our own Liz Clayton penned a nice little article over on Serious Eats entitled “5 Coffee Splurges That Aren’t Worth the Money.” Liz has some great advice in there, but we wanted to take a closer look at one of the items on her list—the combination coffee brewers. These “convenient,” “efficient,” and “spacesaving” Rube Goldberg machines have all the bells & whistles these days. We think they’re ridiculous, but you should go see for yourself.

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Citroen: We chatted with Intelli’s Stephen Morrissey to find out a little bit more about the new set of wheels parked outside the High Line Hotel Intelligentsia in Chelsea, NYC – the brand new Intelligentsia Coffee “Mini Bar”, housed in an elegant 1967 Citroen HY Van. The van was found in France, rebuilt in Jersey, and ready to travel – Intelligentsia plans to mobilize it once the New York City weather shifts to Winter-mode.

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Coffee Orders: And, we released what may be the biggest coffee development of the entire week

“After years of exhaustive research, the team at Sprudge Labs have built the Most Annoying Coffee Order Ever generator. This generator is finally out of months of beta testing and officially released under version 1.0.”

Go on, getcha some.

Ben Blake is the genius behind Draw Coffee (@DrawCoffee) and a regular contributor to Sprudge. Read more Ben Blake here!


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