Rosettas For Relief, Seattle Area Competition

19 02 2010

Hello!  We’re really excited for Saturday’s event!  Everything is coming together well.  Generous sponsors have come forward with donations of milk, coffee equipment, prixes, food, and time!  We’ve got some fantastic baristas competing, and a bunch more coming down to hang out, enjoy the fun and cheer them on.

Here’s what you need to know:

*There’s no limit to how much money you can raise.  In fact, we have a pretty rad prize for whoever raises the most money

*We will have food at this event, but it’s BYOB.  If you don’t want to come empty handed, please consider bringing a six-pack, a bottle of wine or your prefferred nonalcoholic beverage.

*Even if you aren’t competing, come on down to have some food and drinks, enjoy the camaraderie  We’ll have an open kitty you can donate 5-10 bucks into so you don’t feel left out!

*We have special guest Sam Penix, orgnaizer for the nationwide competition all the way here from New York City.  So Seattle baristas better represent!

If you have any questions please contact event organizers, Sarah Dooley & Daniel Humphries any time of the day or night! &

Tell a friend!  Come on down!  It’s gonna be so much fun, and for such a great cause.

Here’s what we still need:

Microphone to plug in for Daniel

Cooler of ice for beverages

Here’s what we have:

MC- Daniel Humphries & Pizza Sponsor

DJ- Klif Borja

Milk- Sunshine Dairy

Visions- Space and Prizes

Espresso Parts- Prizes

Stumptown- Coffee Prizes & 5 lbs Espresso

Neptune Coffee Roasters- 5lb Espresso Sponsor

Kuma Coffee-Espresso Prizes and SOE

Event Photographer- Zachary Carleson

Outline for the night:

1. Doors & Registration opens at 6PM

2. Competition starts 7PM @:

3. The Coffee Enhancement Lounge @ Visions

2737 1st Ave South  Seattle WA 98134

Reminder to have your donation and or checks payable to:

NYU School of Medicine- memo – “Program in Global Mental Health”

A full list of prizes and fun will be available upon arrival- Thank you to all sponsors and participants!

Yours Sincerely,

Sarah & Daniel


thank you for your patience,

1 12 2009

I realize there is a lot of information and as some have kindly added, more paragraphs to break it up and or pictures.

Also, I need to do a better job proof reading.  Try to see past my shortcomings for now.  It’s from the heart and sometimes that makes me anxious.


Training a team of professionals…

25 11 2009

For me, this is a never ending duty.  I can never assume, like most “students of coffee” that I will be the most valid voice of “all things coffee”.   The current flow of information coming to me daily is all very humbling.  I can attest that learning is a an insatiable frustration of mine.  I love it…every fantastic detail excites me.   It is not enough to know if you cannot experience, so experience I shall!

Recently at Visions, really within the last three months, we decided as a company, to speak with a more similar tone and voice.  Our buyer, sales reps, technicians, accountant, controller and company president made time to go through a training on the “basics of coffee”.  The overall goal was a similar mindset and vocabulary which is an important calibration tool for communication.  Communication between each other and to our clients.  It also was to extend an honest feeling of knowledge to customers calling in or arriving to the sales room floor, who may need direction.  Now by direction, really to give them guidance as to what inventory or tool would best suit their needs.  We cannot just assume that the bookeeper, Patricia would absolutely know the specific rpm’s that a grinder should operate by, but I can help her to understand the components, the  “waring portions” of the machine and what the tool does in general. For so many reasons this is a good thing; inventory control, invoicing etc.  (She ended up being quite a pro, and has asked for further classes to work on latte art and shot extraction.)

Now the reasoning behind the training besides the obvious is too aid in the space being safe for all to prepare beverages in.  Newer employees, Trevor from shipping had a pretty obscure idea of the drink preparation process.  He made several good attempts with the skill set he had “viewed” at local shops or read about.  He did a really good job after the machine made sense to him.  Including a deconstruction of the grinder.  Also, this will help him to do his job better by understanding a little about the equipments accessories.  Hopefully also prompting him to point out bad beverage tactics in the consuming market, sending training leads our way.

Hundreds of reasons to make staff training a must.  From the coffee side of it to the “not so coffee side”.  The largest point I would also finish with is, if a company involved in the coffee industry has just made the transition to implementing a training facility and program, wouldn’t it make sense for a Coffee Business to do the same?  Is it enough to hire attractive people, or by good equipment?  Is it enough to hire experienced people who have done nothing except “interview well”?

The coffee business success relies upon the final product.  What have you done to insure that cup?  Is your training program current?  Does your roaster and all associated vendors have your business growth in mind?  How are they adding to your coffee program?  Is it a value that keeps growing?  Are they partners in your business growth?  Does your cup provoke thought and better business tactics around you?  Are you building up the specialty coffee industry?

Training is one of the best forms of support that can come from your vendors/partners.  That is another subject topic for a later date.


5 11 2009

It doesn’t just start at PM.  Unfortunately, and as stated your machine has been in a compromised state for a period of time.  Much like a car, if you  forgo the recommended services, based on mileage you will create a higher bill through “stress” on other components.   Equipment has to be brought up to a “warranty status” in order to comply with most companies ability to guarantee future work.

Additional maintenance done by non-warranty parties may void the PM contract.  Be careful, if choosing to cut corners that they don’t create a conflict.

This is often hard for business owners to make sense of.  “Why can’t I just fix that problem?”  Because, your delayed response has created other issues. Which have caused the one component you are mending, to work incorrectly.  Can’t tell you what to do, so the best thing to do is prevent problems.  Create protocols.  Stick to your recommended maintenance.  Never assume your staff is just “doing it”.  They are not, I promise.

Customize your PM package for your machine, equipment, volume &  water filtration. Do the routine maintenance your self and learn what you need to have done quarterly and bi-yearly.  The more dedication you show to the supplier, in regards to the service, the better.  We tend to think of you more often, especially if you are looking for effective ways to add consistency and value to the cup.  These things don’t just work “any ol way they come”.  These details are important to the beverages and bottom line.  Understand the entire process you are getting and where the value comes from.  Some cars age gracefully while others need an entire overhaul every 50k.  Neither are bad, just be prepared to maintain and know when to let it go.

Preventative or Reactive Maintenance?

12 07 2009

Before we get into this, some would say my motivations are selfish with this post.  Here is where I will put that note to rest.  As an employee of a service driven company the benefit of Reactive Maintenance and revenues far out weighs the benefit of a Preventative Maintenance driven company.  Reactive Maintenance pays the bills baby.  It is usually after hours and or on the weekend, which equals to time and half for the technicians hourly rate.  If all of our customers used a Preventative Maintenance plan we would suffer financially…fortunately for us, most have no PM plan and rely soley on our 24 hour availability.  However, the customer is the most to suffer in this situation which catches me up to the present day issue,  Preventative Maintenance or Reactive Maintenance?

Let me tell you personally as both a customer and barista trainer why a PM package is so important.  BEFORE YOUR EQUIPMENT FAILS YOU IT WILL PRODUCE A COMPROMISED CUP OF COFFEE.  If you are unaware as to the warning signs of when it is time for some deeper the every day maintenance – you are serving those cups to your customers, ignorantly.

Fact:  The average customer visiting your shop 4 days a week creates an annual revenue of  $1,o40. (based on a 208 visits in a year with an average ticket of $5.)  Can you afford to serve compromised beverages?  Can you afford to not be impressive every time a new face walks through your doors?  Probably not.


For one, the PM package is the checks and balances for the cafe cleaning regimen.  If a routine quarterly technician, either in shop or by hire is actively doing a check up on your equipment you are going to have a better gage on how procedures are or are not being handled.  Secondly and probably most importantly; waiting for an issue will undoubtedly mean the worst.  For a season, God knows how many drinks were served while the equipment was slowly compromising the desirable parameters of your coffee beverages!  This is crazy.  For example, water restriction due to poor or expired filtration begins to compromise coffee  and equipment in many different ways.  Excess strain on your pump and solinoids.  Build up of  undesireable mineral content in your boiler and throughout your equipment. Restricting and false water flows.  Poor water quality for a beverage that is 98% water, not a smart problem to have.  True, it’s a miniscule amount of examples to a horribly huge dilemma.   I don’t have to list them all, we know most of them.  Yet time and time again, we don’t get the service call until the machine can not pass a drop of water…you get where I’m going with this?

Here is why a Preventative Maintenance program is so entirely beneficial.  Your goal is to serve consistent and extraordinary coffee every time you serve a cup.  Of course we all have the best of intentions.  Don’t let the most preventable variables sneak up on you.  There are probably close to 25 different companies here in the greater Seattle area that can either design a PM package with or for you.  Meaning you can send in your own barista lead or technician to learn the basic tune-ups.  They will charge a one time fee to educate.  Most of the time you can even call in during the process and have them guide you back through what will take a few “hands on” experiences to master.  If you have a “engineers mind” or are an engineer it will be the most fun you have ever had.  Your new skill set will have you preventing problems and inventing new ones :).  The other way to incorporate the program is to pay for one.  To hire one of those 25 companies to check up on your water filters, pumps, gaskets, grinders etc.  Just to check that things are working in tip top shape and also giving you the kind of input that lets you know your 120 gallons away from a 20% effective water filter.  (It’s just an easy example).  Or your burrs are at 500 pounds of usage, defining the results depending on the grinder and giving you the option of replacing them before they hit 800- 1200 pounds-when they don’t do a damn thing consistently except heat up the coffee and create irregular grind sizes.

Sales men sell you equipment.  The good ones tell you the truth about maintenance.  The ignorant ones read the box and believe the advertising.  The jerks…well they inflate the usage, make light of the details and hardly know your needs.  PM packages work well with all three types of sales people.

In a world of temperature controlled,  pressure surfing, water supplementing, modified grinders with fans, fantastically sourced coffees with delicate tendencies; do we really still have the issues of dirty machines resulting in preventable breakdowns.  How about this, if you are the dude or gal who still needs the red light to go on, telling you it’s time to get fuel…you need a preventative maintenance package.