Sunday, January 22, 2012

Blog Profile: jimseven

James Hoffman, to me, perfectly embodies what a blogger should be. From his presence on the web and the content of his work, one can deduce that he's fairly tech savvy. His prose is succinct but his thoughts are detailed, complete. He writes two blogs simultaneously. is devoted to all things not coffee. On the other hand, you'd be pressed to find a post without the word "coffee" mentioned at least six times on Jim is, without a doubt, a coffee expert and an even bigger coffee geek. A resident of the UK, he won the national Barista competition in both 2006 and 2007, and went on to win the World Barista Competition in '07. His posts consist of graphics, polls, opinions, and explanations of all things coffee.
The content of Jim's posts would be of interest to anyone who drinks coffee and finds science remotely interesting. He recently uploaded an unlabelled line graph and challenged his readers to figure out what what being graphed (the rate of bean mass temperature increase during roasting, in case you were wondering). But Jim doesn't just blog about coffee stuff that he finds cool. He posts what he does to encourage thought and discussion about coffee, and he does a pretty good job of that. His readership spans from coffee professionals (including the heads of roasters and retailers) to average Joe's like you or me just trying to learn more about coffee. I was initially kind of shocked by the number of comments Jim receives on many of his posts, but I've realized that his blog is as much about his readers' comments as it is about his comments. I'm new to Jim's blog, but I've become inspired by how he connects with his readers. I hope to accomplish something similar here. What will be different though, and I've mentioned this before, is that I'm, by no stretch of the imagination, an expert on coffee. I'll be learning right along side with you. But, hey, that's what's going to make it fun.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hello there...

Hi. Welcome to Morning Dial In! You might be wondering what you're doing here, or what I'm doing here for that matter. It might seem like this blog is about coffee - and it is. But that's not entirely what it's about, and to be honest with you, I'm not even sure that it's the focal point. What this blog is really about is an experience - it's about us learning about and trying something new. But before I get into that, let me introduce myself a bit more and go over some fundamentals. I'm a college student living in Los Angeles. About a year and a half ago, I discovered a new coffee shop in Pasadena called Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea. A Chicago company, this was their third foray into Los Angeles after opening shops in Silverlake and Venice Beach. It was great - good coffee, nice staff, they served drinks in mugs so you could stay and hang out for a bit. I started going every weekend, then a couple times a week - pretty soon, I was there just about every other day.
I've always been a bit of a coffee junkie, but I'm new to this world of specialty coffee that Intelligentsia touts. But what is specialty coffee exactly? Truthfully, I'm still figuring that out too. I can tell you that diner coffee is probably not specialty coffee, nor is the coffee you stock up on when it's on sale at Target. Some people would call Starbucks specialty, but I probably wouldn't. I suppose specialty means different things to different people. For the purposes of this blog, however, I'm going to define specialty coffee as coffee that's not treated as a commodity. (We'll explore this concept in more detail later.)
I'd like this blog to be a forum where we can explore in more depth the world of specialty coffee. What I'm particularly interested in learning about is how specific factors contribute to what we ultimately experience when we enjoy our coffee. I'm not as concerned with how we drink our coffee (espresso, cappuccino, latte, brewed coffee, etc), but I've gathered that different preparation can yield drastically different results.
What I'm really excited about is how we get to take this journey together. Remember, this is as much a new experience for me as it is for you. Something that I haven't mentioned at all is how we're going to do this. I'd like to test a hypothesis that the best way to experience something new is to just dive in - so that's exactly what we're going to do. That being said, we don't just want to experience the coffee, we want to understand more about it. That means lots of research. We're going to be reading books and researching the interwumbles, but perhaps most exciting, we're going to be hearing personal stories - we'll be interviewing coffee professionals and talking to "caffeine addicts" and exploring why we drink coffee.
Basically, we got a lot of cool stuff going on. I'm super excited because I'm a nerd for coffee, but if you just like the occasional latte or even if you can't stand the stuff, you're going to want to stick around for more.