The other All-Star Game

How long does it take to press and serve 20 or so coffees to an editorial panel of up to six people while they slurp, spit and jot notes? Apparently about three and a half very, very caffeinated hours. And roughly the same number of innings as the MLB All-Star Game!


The backstory is that I was called upon to assist a bit of an ambitious if informal coffee tasting in the offices of a magazine 'round these parts, in advance of an upcoming issue (thanks to my training in editorial-calendar secrecy, that is all I will say about the details for now; I was only peripherally involved, but I still know how to zip my trap sometimes). The coffees on that table were among the very best in the world: Intelligentsia, PT's, Counter Culture, Gimme!, 49th Parallel, Stumptown, the Roasterie, etc., etc., etc.… While I didn't really get to spend any time poring over individual coffees (mine was to answer questions, bloom grounds, plunge at four minutes and divide the sacred liquid into cups), I did sneak a couple sips here and there, and I will tell you that I was floored by Stumptown's Finca El Injerto (bourbon). Just a beautiful, clean, sparkling, crisp, floral, delicate cup. I was so grateful to have snatched a taste.

There are few things more pleasurable than facilitating people's enjoyment of coffee—even when you're too busy passing out mugs of it to really savor any yourself. But watching round after round rush by me and into the hands (and mouths) of happy, excited, receptive (and eventually somewhat jittery) folks who were talking about it in a really inquisitive and thoughtful way reminded me of why I'm drawn back into this world.

Next time, however, I might suggest cutting back on the number of samples sipped in one morning. I fear that may have been a lesson learned the hard way…