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Last Week With Ben Blake: March 9th, 2013

Last Week With Ben Blake: March 9th, 2013

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#KostaFreaka—Baristas Unleashed!

At this very moment, 6 of your 2012 regional barista champions are raking in their reward in Costa Rica for the Cafe Imports Origin Trip. If you’ll remember, these trips to origin are only in their second year, and have quickly become an important part of the USBC Competition Cycle. More from our coverage:

“Baristas will meet with and hang out with Costa Rican barista competitors, cup coffees with exporters, shake the hands of dry millers, meet the families at farms, go ziplining, drink Zacapa, tread white water rapids, and learn how to surf from SWRBC champ Jared Truby.”

This year, our own Zachary Carlsen is embedded in the middle of the trip, and has already braved a Devin Chapman snoring bout, thrown down in a latte art jam, and been mesmerized and hypnotized by Density Sorter. These trips to origin are fun indeed—but they’re much more than that—they’re an opportunity for incredible learning and important interactions. Be sure to follow the gang as they roll around Costa Rica on their Coaster Rica bus— more on Instagram using the #kostafreaka hashtag, and catch up with all the coverage on Sprudge via the Cafe Imports Origin Trip archives.

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Delicious Peace—Ugandan coffee farmers make an album

The folks at Smithsonian Folkways teamed up with coffee farmers in Mbale, Uganda to record an written and performed by the farmers themselves. Titled “Delicious Peace,” the album takes its name straight from the Peace Kawmera cooperative in Mbale. A bit more from SF on this super cool collaboration:

“GRAMMY-nominated Tufts University professor and Rabbi Jeffrey A. Summit recorded the album in various Ugandan locales from muddy coffee fields to local synagogues.The performers combine various Ugandan languages and musical styles, occasionally adding Swahili, Arabic, Hebrew, and English. The people of Peace Kawomera come together to sing of the benefits of interfaith cooperation and, through music, teach new members how to produce great coffee.”

You can listen to a sample of “My beautiful wife, come back and we’ll grow coffee” right here.

Look for the album to drop on April 9th, and be sure to check back on Sprudge for a full review. Oh, and all the royalties from the album go straight back into the community, helping fund schooling and education for the kids in the Mbele community. Cool stuff.

Central City Coffee aims to make an impact in Portland

Sprudge.com recently had the privilege of sitting down with our friend Marcus Young (formerly of Batdorf & Bronson, a longstanding partner of Sprudge) to chat about his latest project on the streets of Portland. Mr. Young has teamed up with Central City Concern—a non-profit homeless social outreach group—and Portland Coffee Roasting to embark on the bold and awesome task of starting a coffee brand that helps homeless folks in the PDX area. Central City Coffee‘s goals are as follows:

1. Source really great coffee and roast it well.

2. Provide employment opportunities in the coffee trade for clients of Central City Concern’s network of social services and housing.

3. Tell Central City Concern’s story through coffee.

This little blurb can’t begin to do Central City and Mr. Young justice—read more about the fascinating and innovative work they’re doing together. Good things are happening in PDX.

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In other Cafe news — Irving Farm Coffee purchased a massive new location in Lower Manhattan, and the #KostaFreaka Krew stopped by for the soft opening of the Mutude Cafe Tarrazu Boutique in Tarrazu, Costa Rica.

Best (and least best) of Zagat’s Coffee Week

Quite a lot of “stuff” happened during Zagat’s recent foray into “Coffee Week.” Now that it’s behind us, we took a little bit of time to put together a list of the “bests” and “least bests” from the entire adventure. There were a lot of unpleasant surprises throughout the week, but also some really nice shout outs. Check out the list for some Zagat-centric #CoffeeWeek nostalgia!

Speaking of surprises…

Huffington Post had a bit of a whinefest when they put together this list of “5 Snobby Videos That Prove Coffee Culture Has Gone Too Far.”

“The internet is full of self-aggrandizing, over-the-top, sometimes ridiculous coffee-centric videos that, while beautifully shot, can be incredibly silly. Where to begin? Drinking a well-prepared cup of joe will not bring you closer to the deity of your choice. You will not hear music playing when you take a sip. Making something entirely by hand does not inherently make it better. These videos, however, seem to suggest otherwise.”

Oof.

Did your favorite snobby coffee video make the list? And did Huffington Post actually write fresh copy for this article? There is only one way to find out for sure and that is by clicking this extended hyperlink.

Video-of-the-Week: Third-Wave RomCom Film with Irish Hunks

“Liam & Sé love their lives in Lahinch, Ireland: following their passions for coffee – under the guidance of their coffee guru, Peet – and for surfing. Paradise! But, with the money running out, the guys need a new survival path. So, with Peet’s help, they head to America to become Third Wave coffee masters.”

The rom-com you’ve been dying to seen, or the pitch for a very different sort of film altogether? Either way, sign us up.

 


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