Saturday, February 13, 2010

It's A Jam, Hon!

Something savory, something sweet.

As project hampden was nearing completion a few weeks ago, Lindsay came to me with the idea of hosting a barista jam. Having attended and instructed at barista jams, I honestly wasn't too keen on hosting one ourselves. Too much work and so much to do before we open.

My first inclination was to say "no." But the enthusiam... how could I deny the enthusiasm?

By now, I'm feeling a bit like the Old Guy at the Party. I've been doing coffee for (technically) seven years or so. That enthusiastic naivete of 2003/2004 where everything coffee was exciting has passed. The experience of cronyism, embezzlement, circling the wagons and other coffee industry politic tomfoolery has me a bit jaded and more than vehemently against the moronic title "Third Wave."

Jenny discusses the finer points of Eva Solo.

But everyone was so enthusiastic about hosting a jam that I would be a moron to tell them "no." Of course, the reality is that staging a proper jam requires us to shut down normal operations for a day - and shutting down for a day not long after opening to the public was not going to fly. It had to be before we opened. Lindsay and company set off at high speed to get things rolling.

Of course, the Blizzard (or Snowmageddon) of 2010 foiled our plans for February 6th, forcing a "snow date" for today - the day before Valentine's. Happily, more than a few baristas were willing to spend part of their Valentine's Weekend with the crew from Spro.

Ilenia and Rebecca talk vac pot.

To be honest, the event is all due to Lindsay. I did very little. She brought the staff together, planned the workshops, called the guests and made it all happen. The event went off very smoothly and while attendees trickled in and out throughout the day, I thought it was well-attended, informative and worthwhile for the participants.

More importantly, the jam was free. Unlike jams across America where the attendee pays, ours was free. Every one donated their time and their effort. Our Special Guests came from far and near, our roasters, creamery and sponsors donated their product generously and for that, we are tremendously grateful.

Allie and Jeremy work the Linea.

Milk Sponsor:
Trickling Springs Creamery

Breakfast and Lunch Sponsor:
Puffs and Pastries

Latte Art Throwdown and Dinner Sponsor:
Woodberry Kitchen

Coffee Sponsors:
Hines-Origins Organic Coffee
Intelligentsia Coffee
Barefoot Coffee Roasters
Counter Culture Coffee
Caffe Pronto
Southern Skies Coffee
Bluebird Artisanal Coffee
Zeke's Coffee
Callao Coffee

A crowd gathers.

Alternative Brewing Workshops:
Eva Solo - Jenny Nelson
Abid Clever - Joy Davis
Vac Pot - Ilenia Madelaire & Rebecca Dowding
Chemex - Kimmy Fung
Aeropress - Jeremy Hyman

Barista Competition Workshop - Scott Conary, Carrboro Coffee

Latte Art Workshop - Phil Proteau, Counter Culture Coffee

Phil, Peter and Jade sit down for lunch.

Some Towson customers stop by for a brew.

Lehigh Valley Represent!

Jin, Larry and Tim do a little coffee cupping.

Scott Conary (of World Barista Championship fame) discusses competitions.

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