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So you think you can write - with Don Genova · 13 January 2015 by colin newell

Don Genova online writing course

In the year 2015, required participation in social media and online writing has become as commonplace as the plethora of personal communications devices that festoon our bodies.

But just because you can pick up an iPhone and tweet a few characters or blog every whim, that does not make you a creative writer. Writing is hard. I know. I am doing it right now. And I am making lots of mistakes. But you don’t have to.

So Step up. Consider self-improvement.

Want to get some words on the page and not be so off-putting that your reader changes channels or retires to the solace of a monastery?
Then consider Don Genova’s UBC Continuing Studies Courses. It’s aimed at helping you be a better blogger, or getting you into the exciting field of food and travel writing.

You have likely heard of Don Genova – he is the beloved host of Food Matters heard weekly on CBC Radio 1. He is a food journalist with a Masters degree in food history from Italy. He is also the author of a best selling book “Food Artisans of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands” available on Amazon.ca – so he knows his stuff.
If you have been lucky, as I have been, and hung out with him on occasion at a local coffee shop, I can assure you: You will come away with a lot more knowledge about the subject of food, food sustainability and the ability to accurately express yourself on the subject of food. So there is my recommendation.

Anyway, You have three options:

Food and Travel Writing In-Person. Eight Monday nights starting January 26th.
Or you can take this course online over the same time period.
Each week you open up a module of new readings and assignments, with much personal interaction with Don Genova and your classmates through online forums.
The third course is Creating and Sustaining Your Blog, also offered 100% online beginning the end of January.

The advantage of the online courses is that you don’t have to be in the same place at the same time for eight weeks in a row, which works better for some students.
Others prefer the ‘face to face’ aspect of the in-person class.
Either way, you can own Don Genova for two months and you can use his knowledge in these fields to get you going or improve what you’re already doing. Sounds like something I need.

For more information or to register, you can find all the courses on Don Genova’s UBC page at the Continuing Studies website. And you can always contact Don Genova at don at don genova dot com.

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Second Crack Coffee Lab on Bridge Street in Victoria · 22 December 2014 by colin newell

Aaron Tann of Second Crack Coffee Lab Victoria

Aaron Tann focuses intently on his pour over brew bar. He is in the middle of preparing a very tasty Ethiopian coffee with the Hario brew system. He slides it across the bar towards me, warning me to give it a couple of minutes to cool.

Aaron is a recent transplant to the city of Victoria. Born in Windsor, Ontario and a former mechanical engineer in Detroit with the Magna corporation, Aaron is pretty new to the coffee business. At the tender age of 37, he has lived in Sweden where he learned a lot about coffee culture. He also lived in Thailand where he met his wife Veronica.

Second Crack Coffee Lab is in one of Victoria’s vibrant industrial neighbourhoods. Aaron is very much into the airy, open and bright look that is available in his 100 year old warehouse space. Andrea and I compared it to some of the bigger cafe roaster facilities that we encountered on our last trip to San Francisco. Additionally, Aaron is making a lot of the necessary changes to the space to give it the required physical integrity appropriate for a seismically active location while at the same time maintaining a cool and hip vibe.

Brewing Hario pours at Second Crack Coffee on Bridge Street.

I asked Aaron about the name and its connection to his preferences on roast profiles. He pushes all of his coffees long and slow except for the delicate Panama Geisha beans. This philosophy sets Aaron somewhat apart from the rest of the pack in Victoria. The local coffee market, in fact, leans heavily towards first crack or medium roasts to maximize flavour impact.

Andrea and I finish up a shared mug of Ethiopian coffee that is impeccably balanced and yet roasted a tad darker than what is normal in the industry. The fruit flavours, however muted at the beginning, start to bloom as the coffee cools. Much to our delight, the coffee’s true complexity continues to develop and surprise our taste buds in the fifteen minutes we were sipping it.

Second Crack Coffee Lab is now open at 2612 Bridge Street. The cafe is across the Bay Street bridge. Travel one km west on Bay Street and turn right on Bridge Street. It is two city blocks down Bridge Street on the left.

Second Crack Coffee is an awesome and welcome addition to the Victoria coffee scene. Welcome Aaron, Veronica and family!

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We interview Joey Kramer of Rockin Roasting Coffee · 16 December 2014 by colin newell

Bonus audio interview |


Joey Kramer and his new cafe!

We spoke with Joey Kramer of Rockin Roasting Coffee from Austin, Texas. This is our second conversation with the man who has taken his steady rhythm with the band Aerosmith to the world of specialty coffee. You can read that interview over here

A man of virtually limitless energy, Joey has been tackling the challenges of building a successful coffee business from the ground up. And as Joey makes it abundantly clear, there are no short cuts to success. It is all about putting in the work. Celebrity or no, Joey and his equally energetic partners, Ron Mann and Frank Cimler have discovered that the road to the top is paved with every imaginable challenge.

I think that Mister Kramer was more astounded than I with the achievements over the space of one year; placement in thousands of grocery stores, a partnership with the trusted food company SYSCO and now a bricks and mortar coffee shop in the works.

A coffee shop alone, as any cafe owner will tell you, is a lot of work in terms of development, placement, branding and just getting great coffee into an appreciative audience.

But for Mister Kramer and his tireless dedication to the cause, an actual cafe is a natural extension of his brand of organic coffee beans. Hard work or not, it is just another milestone in what will obviously be a long career in caffeinating the nation.

Hats off to Joey Kramer, and his line of coffee and his dedicated team of professionals.


Listen to the interview |

Podcast – If you cannot see the audio player above, click here for the mp3 download.


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Kick starting a new cup of coffee - on the net · 24 October 2014 by colin newell

Bruvelo Kickstarter Project

Have you ever noticed the dramatic difference between the delicious coffee you get at a fine coffeehouse and the mediocre coffee you often drink at home when you don’t pay attention to all the critical details?

Click on the photo for the big view!

Amazing coffee is the result when fresh roasted beans are brewed to perfection, with keen attention paid to every step – water quality, grinding, measuring, blooming, heating and steeping… and if you have any energy left over, you get to enjoy the fruits of your effort.

Me, I do it all by hand. I measure the water and the beans and I grind the coffee precisely to fit the method that I am using. But what if there was a coffee machine that would force me to think less about the details and let me concentrate on the great taste of my java jolt?

Inspired by the timeless tradition of handcrafted coffee and modeled after the skills of a well-trained barista, Bruvelo was built to be simple, smart, and to do one thing – extremely well.

Whether you want to easily brew an amazing cup of coffee with a push of a button or want complete control over every detail, Bruvelo will allow you to enjoy fine, handcrafted, pour-over coffee in the comfort of your own home.

But wait! There is more! The Bruvelo is WiFi enabled and you can access it from your smart phone – saving and setting all your favorite preferences – so that great cup of mud is ready to greet you at your door.

So says this exciting new kickstarter project that you can check out over here.


Colin Newell is a long time Victoria resident and coffee expert – when he is not out looking for a better coffee experience, he is looking for better coffee for you!

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Daylight Mind coffee flies Alaska from Kona Hawaii · 2 September 2014 by colin newell

Daylight Mind Coffee in Alaska Airlines

Starting October 2014, Kona, Hawaii-based Daylight Mind Coffee Company will supply locally sourced, tropically inspired desserts on all Alaska Airlines flights departing from Kona, Hawaii

Kona, Hawaii September 2, 2014 —Island Thyme Gourmet, caterers to Alaska Airlines, introduces a new line of desserts from Daylight Mind Coffee Company, a Kona artisan coffee roaster.

We are thrilled to partner with a local company that creates the quality of desserts we want to serve on Alaska Airlines,” says Clare Bobo, owner of Island Thyme Gourmet based in Hawaii.

Daylight Mind’s locally sourced desserts will tempt Alaska Airlines’ first-class passengers and complement Island Thyme Gourmet’s meals. Desserts include their award-winning Kona Coffee Espresso Opera Cake, a gluten-free, flourless, chocolate sponge cake with coffee buttercream and dark chocolate ganache, and a Sacher cake, made with local Macadamia nuts, chocolate butter cream, raspberry marmalade and ganache.

Fodor’s Travel and The Huffington Post list Daylight Mind Coffee Company as one of America’s 25 Best Coffee Shops. Located on the Kona waterfront, this company includes a farm-to-table restaurant, bakery, coffee roastery, coffee school, event space and a coffee house.

Nowhere else on earth can you find a business that teaches you about growing coffee, trains you to taste that coffee, feeds you a meal that incorporates that same coffee, and then offers you an ocean-side seat to a spectacular sunset while drinking that coffee,” says Shawn Steiman, co-owner of Daylight Mind. Steiman, who has a Ph.D. in coffee science, is the author of The Hawai‘i Coffee Book (Watermark Press, 2008), and co-editor of Coffee: A Comprehensive Guide to the Bean, the Beverage, and the Industry (Rowman & Littlefield, 2013). Daylight Mind Coffee Company’s Founder and CEO, Colin Finn, has extensive expertise in designing and operating coffee houses and restaurants in numerous countries, most recently in Australia.

Alaska Airlines offers the lowest fares from the West Coast to the Hawaiian Islands. The carrier has 30 weekly, peak-season flight to Kona from Anchorage, Alaska, Seattle, Washington, Portland, Oregon; and Oakland and San Jose, California.

And from yours truly: I know: In 8 consecutive years flying to Kona, Hawaii in the Winter time, Alaska has been the number one choice of the CoffeeCrew.com team.

About Daylight Mind Coffee Company

Daylight Mind, open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, takes its name from the literal translation of the Hawaiian word for enlightenment, na‘auao. By weaving a love of scientific exploration together with a deep respect for the wisdom and depth of its Hawaiian roots, Daylight Mind is the place to learn more about the art of all things coffee.

For information on Daylight Mind Coffee Company, visit us online at www.DaylightMind.com or in person at 75-5770 Ali’i Drive, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

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Book Launch - Food Artisans of Vancouver Island & the Gulf Islands · 31 March 2014 by colin newell

Don Genova Book Launch at the Hudson

Andrea and I are going to a book launch at the Victoria Public Market at The Hudson on Thursday, April 24th —
and I thought it would be a great opportunity to coordinate an evening out of sampling food and drink in an open and friendly environment — and throw in a book launch for good measure.

As it happens, CBC Food Matters host and food journalist Don Genova is launching his first book,
Food Artisans of Vancouver Island & the Gulf Islands. This evening event will feature Don talking about his book with
a vast array of special guests — bearing food and drink.

We have attended cooking classes with Don as well as various food history and food security events -
Don is a very well informed food guy – and he is genuinely engaging on one of the subjects we love the most: Food!

Since this is something that most of us can relate to, what better opportunity than to get a few faces from the Victoria together to explore the market and sample some of the fare that will be provided as part of this ticketed event?

In attendance, showcasing their culinary and brewed expertise:

Organic Fair Sodas of Cobble Hill
Dad’s West Coast Awesome Sauces – Hot sauces of Lake Cowichan
Cowichan Pasta – pasta – Shawnigan Lake
Golda’s Pesto, Mill Bay
Tree Island Yogurt – Courtenay
Venturi-Schulze Vinegars and Wines – Cobble Hill
Sea Cider – Cider, Saanich
Merridale Estate Cidery – ciders and spirits (and anything else they make there) – Cobble Hill
The Creamery at Cheese Pointe Farm – cheeses – Cowichan Bay
David Mincey and his wife Paige – Chocolate and Canning – Victoria (see below for more info)
Spinnakers, Victoria, will be sampling vinegar, beers, and shrubs (a drinking vinegar)
Perk up with Drumroaster Coffee, Cobble Hill, serving espressos and macchiatos made from their special Don Genova Roast

Chef and foraging expert Bill Jones will demo some recipes from his new cookbook, The Deerholme Foraging Book.
http://www.deerholme.com/

David Mincey will be talking about Chocolate. http://victoriapublicmarket.com/preservation-foods-chocolate-project-at-the-hudson/
All this is included in the price of admission – $50 for a couple / $35 for singles and 1 signed copy of Don’s book is included.

Bonus – Early bird ticket buyers (first 50) will receive a specially-labeled Bean-to-Bar chocolate bar from Organic Fair! Be sure to select early bird option on the event ticket site if you see that it is still available!


The Ticket event link for the Don Genova book launch is here

Additional vendors of the market in attendance will be:
Ravenstone Farm – Local Artisan Meats, with special guest Cory Pelan of the Whole Beast Salumeria
Salt Spring Island Cheese
Silk Road Tea
Cowichan Bay Seafood
The Spice Trader – (Vancouver Island Salt Company)

A bit more about Don Genova:

Don Genova is a Cobble Hill-based award-winning freelance journalist specializing in food and travel. He also teaches cooking classes, and courses in food and travel writing and sustainable gastronomy. His stories on radio, television, in print and on the web share the fascinating backgrounds of farmers and food artisans passionate about what they raise, grow and produce.
His latest radio column with CBC Victoria is called ‘Food Matters’, and delves into the world of sustainable eating in British Columbia. His first book, Food Artisans of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, was published in April 2014 by TouchWood Editions.

Don earned a Masters of Food Culture from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy in 2007. He also holds a Bachelor of Environmental Science from the University of Waterloo and is an Honours Graduate of the Humber College Radio Broadcasting Program.

MC at the event will be CBC’s own Jo-Ann Roberts! Join us, it will be fun!


The Ticket event link for the Don Genova book launch is here
Colin Newell is a Victoria area resident, and long time writer on the subject of food, adults beverages and coffee culture – he website Coffeecrew.com has been online since 1996.

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