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Grinder for sale · 10.12.13 by colin newell

Baratza Vario for sale
My colleague and friend – Katie Zalazar e-mail [email protected] – is selling her near new Baratza Vario grinder – ideally in the Vancouver or Victoria area.

In her words…

Hey there readers! -

I have a Baratza Vario grinder that I am looking to sell. I won it in a competition but have hardly used it at all. I would love to sell locally in Victoria or Vancouver (or on the island).

I’m wondering if you know of anyone who might be interested in buying a used (all cleaned up!) grinder. As you know it retails for about $470, so I’m looking to sell it for about $400. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated! Note my e-mail above. Thanks!

Colin here – there you have it – help a gal out and get a great grinder in the process!

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Thanksgiving - Life in the coffee time-tunnel · 12.10.13 by colin newell

Past and Present - Dave Reimer at Cafe RomaIt was a seasonably hot August of 1968 as I walked down East 6th Avenue, Vancouver, towards Commercial Drive.

This was my first trip off of Vancouver Island and my first trip on the fairly new B.C. Ferries.

Picture – Regular contributor to my website – Dave Reimer at the 2005 version of Cafe Roma.

My anglophone mother, who grew up in a multicultural enclave in Montreal, Quebec and spoke 3 languages, including conversational Italian, had brought me over to Vancouver for the weekend to visit the Pacific National Exhibition and see a piece of the big city.

Turning onto Commercial Drive and on this sunny Saturday afternoon, my cousin, Dennis and I walked down wide sidewalks past Italian deli’s, corner grocers and bustling cafes.

As now, the street had a life of its own. From a child’s perspective, everything seemed brighter, louder, busier and decidedly more fragrant. From a kid from small town Victoria, I might as well have been on another planet.

The aroma of strong coffee, cured ham and fresh fruit drifted over the concrete beneath my feet. I stopped for a moment in front of a busy cafe. It seemed to be packed with men, young, old, mostly old men entangled in a random circle of loud conversation and broad hand gestures. They spoke Italian, a language my Montreal raised mother used with me when she was displeased with my behavior.

A young couple caught my eye. They seemed disconnected from this humming umbilical of community.

A gal, likely in her mid-twenties, wore a canary yellow sun-dress and her male friend a wool suit. The suit seems softened by a few years worth of wear and somewhat sticky considering that it was a hotter than usual summer. Between his sips of strong looking coffee from an impossibly small cup and her demurely drawing from something that looked like a milkshake, they talked in a musical banter – words only they appeared to understand.

My cousin grabbed my shoulder and pulled me along. I can see the couple nodding and laughing. The ladies hair moves up and down held in place by a daisy-yellow hair broach. Now we are walking again and he steered me into a green grocers hardly a door away from the Cafe. I had 90 cents in my pocket and in 1968, that is a lot of money. I bought a chocolate bar, a butter-finger as I recall, some pixie-sticks, fizzy candy in a paper tube and a cola.

We exited the store and turned left towards the Cafe again.

The Cafe is buzzing louder as we strode towards my cousins avenue. The table where the young couple sat was now empty save for a cup and a glass. I spot them exiting onto the boulevard, hand in hand, her dress burning a permanent image into my mind, the itchy smell of his suit offering contrast. They vanish into a pulsating hive of urban humanity – a Saturday morning blend of shoppers, smokers, the odd smattering of fashionably clad hipsters and one wide-eyed child – me.

I look in the cafe window again flashing forward to the presemt. I stand outside of Caffe Roma on Commercial Drive and time has stood still just for me. My reflection in the window looks alternately young and slightly older.

Clouds pass by offering a broad selection of flattering light. CoffeeCrew contributing member Dave watches me for a moment before holding the door.

“Colin, let’s get some coffee…” he says.

The smells and sounds of the the Cafe and the street envelope me like an old gloved hand. For a moment I hold in my palm the paper tubes of fizzy candy and a half-eaten chocolate bar. Dave asks again, “What are you going to have, dude?”

I order my usual when I am in a cafe for the first time – double espresso and a snack. In this case, they have very tasty looking apple turnovers. I get one.

The intensity of the Italian coffee and the tangy sweetness of the pastry are the perfect match. As I sip the beverage and feel the caffeine perking within me, I can almost hear the whispered conversations of the young lovers from so long ago at a nearby table. Where are they now? Have the years been kind? Most likely, their grandchildren are half-grown up, much as I was in 1968. I think about my marriage, now almost 2 decades in length, and how in places like these, time just stands still.

In the final moments before we leave for our next stop on the drive, the owner pops by to gather up our spent cups. I tell him the coffee is fabulous. His expression is priceless and without words – a combination of ‘of course it is son…’ and ‘I have a cafe to run today…’

As we step onto the still vibrant sidewalk of Commercial Drive, two ten year old boys approach on skate boards. One sails past me like a low flying seagull.

The other swishes to a stop and is immediately hypnotized by the activity in the cafe, the noise, the smells, the starling chatter of the old men.

The cycle continues season by season, year by year through the generations. We are thankful for our memories and the time we have ahead of us. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

While in Vancouver, you can visit The Drive – Do so. You will be glad you did.

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Talking coffee on CKNW with Gord MacDonald · 5.08.13 by colin newell

Listen to the Podcast |


Talking coffee on 980 CKNW

We were talking coffee with Gord MacDonald from CKNW – 980 from Vancouver — with some really good questions.

This podcast (interview) is around 11 minutes long – so strap yourself in.

I average around 20 radio, TV or newspaper interviews annually and this was one of the better ones – a lot of these radio hosts are affable, enthusiastic and well read before they undertake an interview – honored to chat on the subject of my passion. Coffee. Love it.

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

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Talking Rockin and Roasting Coffee with Joey Kramer of Aerosmith · 28.06.13 by colin newell

Listen to the Podcast


Joey Kramer of Rockin and Roastin Coffee!

We spoke this morning with a man who is very passionate about the coffee bean – and so much so he has decided to do it right… for himself, for the consuming public and the farmers who grow it – and beyond!

And with 40 plus years, under his belt, with the band Aerosmith – a demanding full time job all its own, a very youthful Joey Kramer has managed to visualize, develop, and market a potentially winning concept.

Chatting with Joey today, I quickly realized that he is a team player – not only with his band of brothers but also with all the mechanisms and machinations that make for a successful venture into the fairly cluttered and confusing coffee marketplace. Because, as Joey pointed out, a lot about coffee is in the education and in the awareness.

Years of touring into every nook and cranny of this Rock and Roll hungry planet left Joey with the sense that he needed a better and more accessible cup of coffee. For Mister Kramer, an avid coffee drinker since his early days, his daily caffeine rituals were often interrupted by simply bad coffee in some unexpected places. The only solution (knowing full well what a great cup of coffee tasted like) was to have some part in producing his own personal great cup of coffee… a cup of coffee he could enjoy on the road, at home, and a product he could share with the rest of the World.

The idea for Rockin and Roastin coffee was born.

And, he added, you cannot do it all yourself. He has a great coffee team – and like the boys in the band, everyone has to pull their weight and find their strengths. If you are going to do it right, you need the right people. And with the full schedule of the touring cavalcade that is Aerosmith, he was not always able to get to all the farms and see all the stages of production – that said, he has been hands on on testing, sampling, testing and brewing his trio of great coffees – at this point he has picked 3 of the World’s most beloved origin beans; Ethiopian, Guatemalan and Sumatra coffee – three classics.

Joey and I talked about the importance of understanding the “value chain” of coffee, its path from farm to cup, the delicate nature of the coffee plants and their caretakers – the farmers who also need to receive a fair compensation for their work. Joey Kramer has done his homework – he knows the value of shade grown and organic coffees – being friendly to the environment, growing coffee in a sustainable way and not harming anything in the process.

Joey admits, “I drink a lot of coffee. Particularly during the creative stages with the band… composing arrangements for new songs…” Coffee is creative fuel, and for Joey Kramer, there is clearly a lot of coffee in his music. I found him exceedingly passionate and easy to talk to.

My next task will be to try some of this bean – and if you want to check them out, I encourage you to head on over to their colorful website

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

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Pasta - Scallops in lemon pepper and butter · 13.05.13 by colin newell

Scallops and capers in Lemon pepper butter sauce

Toast 1/4 cup of Panko bread crumbs

Put some pasta on to cook – enough for 2.

Into Saute pan put 1/4 cup of quality Extra virgin Olive oil to heat.
Put in 1/4 cup of butter
Cut 5 large Scallops into quarters – season with lemon pepper

Toss in the Scallops into Saute pan. Cook for 2.5 minutes.

Remove the scallops to paper towel – add another sprinkle of lemon pepper.

Add some more butter to the pan – add 1 heaping tablespoon of chopped
garlic + heaping tablespoon of capers with some caper liquid.

Put in 1/3 cup of lemon juice to saute pan.
Add 2 heaping tablespoons of dried parsley.

Put on low simmer.

Remove toasted breadcrumbs from oven and toss 2 tablespoons of fresh grated Peccorino Cheese to the hot bread crumbs.

Put 1/2 cup of hot pasta water into saute pan and toss.
Return scallops to pan.

Drain pasta – add pasta to saute pan.
Sprinkle 1/2 of the toasted bread crumb and cheese mixture onto saute pan and toss.

Plate the pasta between 2 plates – sprinkle remaining cheese and breadcrumbs.

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Talking Geisha coffee on Newstalk 1010 in Toronto · 29.11.12 by colin newell

Listen to the Podcast


Starbucks to feature $7 Geisha coffeeWe were talking to Jim Richards, affable and chatty host of Newstalk 1010 AM Toronto’s afternoon show.

The topic was coffee, $7 coffee at Starbucks – Geisha coffee – the exotic beans from Central America, what they are worth – who is drinking it and why.

Enjoy!


If you cannot see the audio thing above, click here for the mp3.

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