More technical issues

...but not with any of the equipment this time. We started the hiring process the day Jim finished up his work installing all of the brew equipment. We had almost 50 people apply for barista positions in response to an ad in the student newspaper. By Saturday we had narrowed it down to 17 that we wanted to bring in for extended interviews. Against all expectations (and not really realizing how exhausting the process would be for us), we were able to schedule all 17 for extended interviews over Saturday and Sunday. Janet and I were floored by the quality of the people that we were able to interview; given a choice, we would have been happy to have any of them on staff. We made some difficult cuts and made offers to five people on Monday. All accepted, and training began first thing Tuesday morning with Alexandra Switzer and Chris Clements from Intelligentsia.


The training absolutely rocked. The best moment: when one of the new hires tried pulling her first shots on the GB5, she looked like she was getting frustrated with dosing and tamping problems. After tasting a few of her under- and overextracted shots of Blackcat, she absolutely nailed it with a perfect shot. With a big grin on her face, she looks at Alexandra and asks, "is it really supposed to taste like this? Can coffee really taste like when you first bite into a ripe Rainier cherry?" On Wednesday we had our first staff cupping. After spending a few hours building a common flavor vocabulary to describe all of the coffees that we'll open with, we moved over to the Clover and spent the afternoon experimenting with dosing, grinding, and dwell time variables. Our target was to dial in the Clover to best match what we found during the cupping. We had a few happy accidents-- by shortening the dwell time by two seconds on the El Salvador Finca Matalapa, I found that it picked up a barley malt syrup-and-fresh baked bread overtone that was unexpected and amazing. Two seconds longer and 2 grams more coffee (as in ~8 coffee beans) and the profile was transformed completely to more closely match the notes from the cupping.

Unfortunately, I was so busy with staff and guests that I didn't realize that both of my cameras were out of commission. On Tuesday I discovered that I'd left the Pentax turned on over the last few days and had flat-lined the battery. The backup Lumix had a corrupted SD card and ended up scrambling all but a few of the photos. On the second day of training I had charged the batteries for the Pentax but didn't notice that I'd left the SD card sitting at home. It has been that kind of a week. I've been spending so much time at the shop that my own dog hardly recognizes me.