My best/worst of 2008 (coffee)

Best local cafe:  Steve-o-reno’s  (runners-up:  Smiling Goat and Java Blend — tied)

Best local barista:  zane kelsall

Worst local barista: ME or all of the superautomatics in the city

Pet peeve (coffee) of 2008:  ‘baristas’ that will serve you a shot that they either know is bad or don’t know enough to know they shouldn’t serve it  (i.e. most of those who press the button on the super-auto machine and serve what ever is spewed out, regardless of its appearance)

Best barista imports of 2008: Robert Csar (Van); Nicole Bertram (Montreal); Jonathan Howse (NFLD)

Best coffee event of 2008: Non-barista championship & Latte Art Jam @ Zane and Alexis’ place, very nicely covered by Andrew Murdoch of The Coast

Other best coffee event of 2008:  S-o-R switching to 49th Parallel — like to think my blog and pestering helped !  Although it seems some people still miss the old blend !  Don’t go back !

Funniest coffee event of 2008: Krups Kup of Excellence — well I mean the coverage in The Coast

Worst cafe in city:  too many to list, but some of you know them! … I mean isn’t espresso supposed to be bitter, long, and have blonde crema (or no crema at all!).

Best cafe away: Intelligentsia (Millenium Park)  (runners up: Cafe Myriade; Mercury; Dark Horse; Caffe in Gamba; 49th Parallel; Elysian Room; Wicked; Manic; Wild Thing in no certain order — )  ((still to come in 2008: Ninestreetespresso; Cafe Grumpy in NYC))

Most educational cafe visited:  Cafe Myriade — almost like a coffee/espresso lab

Best cafe for music:  Cafe Myriade (or any place playing Beirut, Sufjan Stevens, Radiohead, or Sigur Ros vs. anything from my top of 2008 list)

Favorite Espresso blend of 2008:  49th Parallel Epic (runner up: the old Intelligentsia Black Cat); of course I must reserve judgement as I will be drinking Stumptown Hair Bender before the end of 2008.

Favorite Single origin of 2008:  49th Parallel Ethiopia Yergacheffe Beloya Selection #3  (runner up 49th Parallel Ethiopia Yergacheffe Aricha Micro-Lot #33).  This summer, I loved when Geoff tweaked Java Blend’s Yirgacheffe Natural and served as a great example of a single-origin shot (SOS).  Getting blueberries in my ‘spro was a real eye-opener for me in the world of coffee.

Worst espresso/macchiato cup:  burgundy cups @ Steves

Favorite espresso/macchiato cups:  Intelligentsia vs. 49th Parallel  (still mourning the loss of the single Caffe Artigiano cup at steve’s)

Nicest espresso machine seen:  ‘Automotive White’ La Marzocco FB/80 @ Dark Horse vs. Mirage @ Cafe Myriade vs. Mistral @ 49th Parallel

Best new local coffee website:  Java Blend

Worst local coffee blogsite:  mine!

Most thoughtful coffee website:  especially his postings on Trust/Pricing/Expectations/Educating

Best coffee photography:  tonx

Best coffee toy I purchased:  Hario 3-cup coffee siphon

Best invention: iPhone allows you to photograph, and blog this website, while listening to the top CD’s of 2008, without using a laptop !

Coffee wishes for 2009:  get to Four Barrel and Ritual in San Francisco and Stumptown in Portland (not likely); buy a home machine (STILL sitting on the fence); try Square Mile coffee; get Stumptown into Steve-o-reno’s (not likely); convert Uncommon Grounds on south park to an Intelligentsia-only cafe — wishful thinking, but I think it could be the East Coast’s answer to Wicked Cafe II on Hornby — I used to camp out at UC); Halifax will send 3 people to the Eastern Canada Barista Championship.  Hope that the number of truly “third wave” shops in the city can increase beyond THREE (listed above).  Fil and AJ will move back to YHZ.  Finally, as requested I may start a sister blog site, called


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