Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Unicorn Latte (with percolator)

The Unicorn Latte (with percolator)
Originally uploaded by Mr. phelps.

A nice latte I created with a self-made piece of good luck origami. (Think "Blade Runner" Director's Cut).

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

All City Coffee !

All City Coffee - Pioneer Square pic 1
Originally uploaded by Mr. phelps.

There are only a few places where the location, scenery, and urban ambiance come together to create the feeling that one is inside a coffee shop “in” the city. One is the Bauhaus Books and Coffee on Capitol Hill and the other is All City Coffee in Pioneer Square. All City Coffee has a great location and makes a great macchiato. Stop on by if you're in the area.

Store Right, Store Airtight !

Coffee Jar 1
Originally uploaded by Mr. phelps.

When buying specialty coffee beans buy in small batches ( 1/2pound to one whole pound ) and store in an airtight container.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Lesson of the Day.

Portafilter Explosion pic1
Originally uploaded by Mr. phelps.

Don't tamp too hard. As is evident from this photo. If you tamp too hard a terrible pressure seal is formed and all the electrical and water pressure is focused like a laser directly on the head of the portafilter resulting in the bottom steel cracking and exploding right off. ... Actually I made all that up (though it sounds pretty cool). The first part is right don't tamp too hard. The real lesson to be learned is don't try to screw on a portafilter spout with a wrench and twist it so tight that it screws right off. Besides my sometimes clumsy hands it should be noted that La Marzocco espresso machines are solid pieces of machinery and haven't let me down yet (Don't hate me John Blackwell !!!).

Please, Remember To Wash Your Coffee Cups.

Look Out !
Originally uploaded by Mr. phelps.
Or else the coffee monsters will get you!

''Coffee: The Video Game'' - 8 Bit Brewing Glory!!

Coffee The Video Game pic 1
Originally uploaded by Mr. phelps.
So I was going through a box containing my old Atari and NES ( Nintendo Entertainment System) video game cartridges. Then, nostalgia and inspiration struck. Obviously what the coffee industry needs is to get hip and create a fantastic liquid coffee based video game. My self in my love for 8bit games have come up with the preliminary concept ideas and and concept-art: The Story: A bag full of used coffee cups headed for the city dump accidentally is thrown off the road (near Hanford) and lands into an old bin of toxic waste creating a race of evil-twisted-street-killer-mutant-ninja-vampire-world-dominating-coffee-cups!! Only a band of super baristas can save the day! I know what you're thinking "That is absolutely fantastic! " And you're right it is. After years of playing video games in the early 90s what other conclusion could I come to? I'd say it's some kind of pure genius synthesis. If anyone from Nintendo wants to contact me feel free to drop a comment.

Thank You Coffee Lovers!

Two of a Kind
Originally uploaded by Mr. phelps.
Thanks to the patronage (in the form of generous tips) of my customers I have been able to upgrade to a pro flickr account (see all my pics here). I once talked to David Schomer walking down Broadway on the way to the Vivace cart what he thought the best part of being a barista was. His answer "making coffee for people who love it." I couldn't say it better myself, thank you to all my customers: past, present, and future. -B.E.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Stay Tuned. Same Barista Time. Same Barista Channel.

Thank you for checking out my blog. My flickr account has run out this month so I will post new entries at the beginning of June. Check out my “May archives” link for all of my May posts and pictures. Until then the Barista Extraordinaire is going underground. Enjoy: Good coffee and good luck to you. -B.E.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Take Some Time to Smell the Coffee.

Outside Latte
Originally uploaded by Mr. phelps.
I would recommend starting the day with a Short Latte a simple pleasure for a gray morning.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Think Coffee!!

Why? Because Nietzsche would want you to. Kant too, Kant loved coffee. What do you think? Is this conclusion “You should think about coffee” a cogent inductive argument from authority or an appeal to false-unqualified-authority (a fallacy of reasoning [one of many]: “Argumentum ad Verecundiam” to be specific). You're probably best off self legislating your own will to act in accordance with thinking about coffee.(More autonomous definitely) (If you are incapable of that I as a Hobbesian Coffee Sovereign can command you to think about coffee!) Coffee and Philosophy two things that should just go together.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Don't Press my Latte!

The Right Tools For The Right Job!
Originally uploaded by Mr. phelps.

It's generally a good maxim to use the right tools for the right job. Generally, but, in this case the little press looked so lonely on the shelf that I decided that I had to make it beautiful. Presto! FantasticO! What can I say? I can work coffee miracles ... sometimes.

Practice, Practice.

Two leafs in a Cup.
Originally uploaded by Mr. phelps.

Two leafs in a Cup: It's good to have goals. One of mine is to strive for perfect latte Rosetta Leaf Perfection. Come on wrist work with me!

All You Need Is ...

There's Heart in this Coffee
Originally uploaded by Mr. phelps.

... Coffee is all you need. A heartfelt free pour Macchiato

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Tyger Tyger, Burning Bright ...

tiger espersso 2
Originally uploaded by Mr. phelps.

Brown Tiger Striping Espresso: deep, rich, and magical.

Just Around Midnight.

Midnight Coffee
Originally uploaded by Mr. phelps.

Coffee tastes great at any time of day. Morning or Night. 24 hours a day seven days a week. As this picture shows I'm just drinking my delicious beverage with the simple peacefulness of the park lights and the radio towers, ah clarity. What would midnight on top of Capitol Hill be without a fresh cup of coffee? You may ask is it ever too late for regular? Is there decaf in that cup? My retort would be: Not on your life.

Friday, May 12, 2006


Cupping, The Art of Taste.
Originally uploaded by Mr. phelps.

Coffee cupping: science and art. Coffee drinking that involves spoons, tiny cups, and a lot of slurping. The goal is to distinguish different flavors inside the specific coffee as a means of quality assurance (coffee by nature is very complex). Why go to all the trouble? Think of us as poison tasters, we wouldn't serve anything we wouldn't drink ourselves! Simply put, we slurp because we care. (That and it's fantastically delicious!!!)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Fix Me Up!

``The Fix'' pic 6
Originally uploaded by Mr. phelps.

Coffee Carts and the Seattle Coffee Scene are icons that just naturally stick together. Surprisingly, in recent years the cart scene seems to be on the decline (even in the summer season when getting coffee outdoors is such a pleasure) making the operational carts that are left a local rarity and a prize. This coffee glory can be said about “The Fix,” a fantastic cart south of the Montlake Bridge. Owner Kate (follower of the Dismas Smith school of espresso preparation) and her crew brave clouds, wind, and rain to serve up a caffeine fix for the masses. I had the pleasure of guest-baristaing a shot of espresso off of their La San Marco, Fun! Using True North Coffee this cart will fix you up. (click for pics)

Monday, May 08, 2006

Turn, Turn, Turn,

Originally uploaded by Mr. phelps.
One of many magic machines that makes life better in a special hedonistic way.

The Horror !!!!

I pulled these two shots as a much needed Public Service Announcement on what Espresso should NOT look like. This is one of many examples of what, visually, an extracted shot of espresso shouldn't be. Total Over-Extraction, notice the huge white blob inside the shot glass resembling some kind of full moon. To describe what this would taste like words like extreme bitterness and sourness come to mind. To all Baristas out there who read this I say to serve something of this nature to a customer means instant Dishonor! (click picture for more different angle pictures)

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Espresso Action!

Espresso Action
Originally uploaded by Mr. phelps.
The method, Percolation: brew baby brew. Let the Espresso Pour!

Mocha Post Follow-Up

Originally uploaded by Mr. phelps.
More mocha madness.

What a Magnificent Morning for a Mocha

Originally uploaded by Mr. phelps.
In this picture you can see that my chocolate sauce is slowly oozing into the whip cream; with careful observation you can see the direct artful influence of the Hornall School of espresso preparation. John Hornall, one of the past Barista Masters who instructed me.


Originally uploaded by Mr. phelps.
A different day a different brew!
Is the Americano half-full or half-empty? It's up to you.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

North, to Edmonds and Espresso!

Originally uploaded by Mr. phelps.

Very recently a new coffee shop opened in Edmonds: the ZuKafe. A fun addition to the neighborhood which sports some very nice machinery (Synesso) and beans (Stumptown Coffee: very popular Oregonian Roaster from our friends to the South.) A tasty treat while visiting the nice town of Edmonds.

Need Coffee Making Materials?

press to be pressed
Originally uploaded by Mr. phelps.

Between Espresso Parts , Espresso Supply, and Visions the novice and the expert should be able to find all the coffee brewing equipment to satisfy their coffee indulgences. Quality equipment can make all the difference when creating coffee concoctions.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Pure Italian Style!

Originally uploaded by Mr. phelps.

I recently checked out Robertino's on the outskirts of Ballard at 80th and 24th. This place is Lavazza central par none. If you crave that Italian espresso flavor seek them out.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Latte Art Beautiful and Tasty

Latte Art Beautiful and Tasty
Originally uploaded by Mr. phelps.

I love creating latte art; it is the delicate garnish that accompanies a delicious beverage. Just like a book you can't judge by its cover so it is with lattes. However, you can be sure that one tastes pretty good.

Put that Laptop to Use

Harness the power of the internet with a coffee shop in your neck of the woods:

Living the Good Life at the Cafe Allegro

Originally uploaded by Mr. phelps.

A great coffee house to stop in at is the infamous Cafe Allegro. This shop was established in 1975 and is part of Seattle's rich coffee tradition. In my opinion the shop itself radiates a great vibe. All of the staff “get the job done.” This coffee house can be equated with the legendary status of the infamous coffee houses of the past. The very stuff of coffee lore: "Cafe Encore on Brooklyn," "the Place Next Door on 45th," "The Last Exit on Brooklyn," and "The Door and the White Horse." With two locations check them out if you're down by the University of Washington. (click link for more pictures)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Where to Look?

Feel like crusing around Seattle and discovering some coffee shops to add to ye ol connoisseur palate? Well check out and for a couple of decent coffee shop lists. (Navigate to the restaurant selections page)

Will There Be A Resurrection?

Originally uploaded by Mr. phelps.

Recently a coffee shop on Capitol Hill "Coffee Messiah," went out of business (1554 East Olive Way). It added charm to the neighborhood and will be missed. As of this post the Website still works:

A Simple Espresso

Originally uploaded by Mr. phelps.
A Simple Espresso I poured at Hotwire, tasty!

May 2nd Blog Startup

Greetings, and welcome to my Blog.

I am a coffee loving Seattle barista currently working at a shop in North City called Hotwire Online Coffeehouse. Check them out at They are a great group of talented people dedicated to the coffee arts. A wonderful addition to the coffee scene brewing in the Northwest - Seattle area. If you love coffee and live in the vicinity you should definitely check out Hotwire's unique coffee flavor and knowledgeable staff. Viva la Cafe.