Blog of Ian Callahan and exciting new specialty espresso and brewed coffee bar, Bar 9


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Esmeralda Special Online Auction

Taken from
"The Best of Panama 2009 cupping event took place May 7 thru May 9, in the highland town of Boquete. A select panel of international judges led by Ric Rhinehart, Head Judge of the event and Executive Director SCAA cupped and scored the coffees. International judges in attendance were: Willem Boot (Boot Consulting), Tracy Allen (Brewed Behavior), Chino Lizano (Deli-Café), Francisco Mena (Exclusive Coffee's SA), Mette-Marie Hansen (Kaffa), Doug Welsh (Peet's Coffee), Bob Williams (, Thompson Owen (Sweetmaria's), Wendy DeJong (Tony's Coffee), Barry Levine (Willoughby's Coffee), Jeremy Tooker (Four Barrel Coffee), Mike Ebert (President SCAA) and Phil Anaker (Flying Goat Coffee)"

Last night the highest scoring coffee, Esmeralda Special (93.06 pts. HACIENDA LA ESMERALDA) went to auction online at stoneworks.  The event happens live, with registered anonymous bidders located in any country able to try and outbid others to try and secure some of this outstanding coffee from various different allotments.  Visitors to the site can view the action and once the auction has been closed and finalised, the winning bidders names are finally revealed.  You can see the results here.

Usually the who's who of the international roasting and green bean society are present and this year was no exception with some very big names securing some of the allotments.  Wataru picked up the bulk of the coffee, with other notable mentions coming from PT's, George Howell, Intelligentsia , Sweet Maria's, Stumptown, The Coffee Collective, Counter Culture and Cafe Imports.

The two biggest hitters were SAZA COFFEE Co and Fortnum & Mason, securing the first and second allotments respectively.  Saza is a coffee roaster based in Japan and Fortnum is a very prestigious  gift basket (hamper) distribution company based in London (however they do ship internationally).

As to what will happen to the exquisite coffee now is anyones guess, though undoubtedly some of it will (eventually) hit our shores.

The best thing (for me anyway) about this event vs the last was the online buzz centered around it.  Twitter was very much alive with commentary throughout the auction.  Speculation, excitement, frustration and all many of theories (like, who's bidder 58? etc) made for a very entertaining night.

Best of luck to all of those that secured their lots and to the rest of us, if you get the chance to try any of this amazing coffee be sure to go out of your way for it.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bar 9 - an update

Well it's about damn time I put up an update on how everything's coming along.  Finally today (after five very longs months) the Burnside City Council has finally given me the building rules classification approval that I've needed in order to proceed.
So now the signage can go finally go up and I can remove that very dodgy sign that sits in the front window at present.  Most of the machinery  for the cafe is in transit and will be being installed shortly.  My baby, the cyncra, is having a few tweaks done to the boiler and it will be here shortly after.
The blends have been pretty much worked out (there will be some tweaking when the cyncra gets here) as has most of our supply lines.
After all the machinery is commissioned and running there will be a few cosmetic changes to the store (making it look purdy) and we will do a bit of a soft launch that will involve giving away a whole bunch of coffee, a few specialist coffee nights and events, running the cafe open but without food to allow us to ease into the neighborhood and meet everyone, and finally a big open day.
I'm getting some pretty damn special coffee to coincide with all this so if you're mad nuts into coffee you probably won't want to miss out.

So in short, we're slowly getting there, but still have a few more hurdles to cross.  I'll let you all know more as I do.  Thanks for your interest and I hope we can start serving you some pretty amazing coffee soon! this space

Mazzer sweep mod

Well it's about damn time!  One peril that has plagued the otherwise almost untarnished reputation of the fantastic family  of Mazzer coffee grinders is the fact that they constantly chuck to the left, spraying coffee everywhere.  It's messy, wasteful and altogether damn annoying!
Different theories have been put forward as to whether it's best to pull slowly on the dosing lever (so as to slowly coerce the coffee to fall with little sideways momentum) or to thwack the hell out of the dosing lever to allow the coffee to 'bounce' back into the center of the puck.

There are also a few online templates of how to cut up a piece of plastic or paper and shape it to help 'fix' the problem.  Me, i usually jam one of my business cards into the exit chute of the dosing chamber to help the problem.

However none of these temporary fixes a) last long or b) fix the problem entirely.  What has always been missing is either 1) Mazzer just re-design their damn exit chute 2) Mazzer develop an official attachment that fixes the problem or 3) someone else develop an aftermarket 'unofficial' modification, and cash in on the many thousands of unhappy mazzer users world-wide.

Well finally someone has decided to do just that.  The Elvinator is a small piece of custom designed plastic that screws onto the existing screws on the front of your mazzer grinder.  Curled up like a funnel, it  stops the grinds from spitting everywhere.  Best of all, it's damn cheap (around US$10).

Check out Espresso Parts for more info