Noteworthy news coverage kicks off 2012

9 04 2012

We’re honored that several local and national publications have recently profiled La Marzocco and our people.

In February CEO Kent Bakke was featured in the Seattle Times in a story detailing his contribution to the coffee community in Seattle and beyond. The Seattle Times profile was complemented by a company profile of La Marzocco on Gizmodo the same week.

In  March, Seattle Magazine’s special “Best Restaurants” issue named Kent Bakke one of the 70 most powerful players in the Seattle food scene. The list includes “people and institutions who have had – and continue to have – the most substantial impact on how we eat, what we eat, and what we’ll want to eat in the future.”

And be sure to pick up the April/May issue of Barista Magazine. The cover story “Coffee Women of the Pacific Northwest” features our own Sarah Dooley, who focuses on coffee education and community engagement.

We recommend reading while enjoying a Marzocco-crafted beverage. Cheers!

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Tuesday Night – Barista Round Table – Be There

1 02 2010

Visions Espresso‘s Coffee Enhancement Lounge will be hosting round 3 of Barista Round Table, an interactive and highly involved forum for coffee professionals – managers, baristas, roasters, techs, et al. Wonderfully hosted by Sarah Dooley and Jared Mockli, the BRT is a means for all to come together, unencumbered, and simply geek out on all things coffee.

While some may argue that Seattle’s coffee scene has been lagging behind other progressive specialty coffee markets such as SF, NYC, and Portland, it does not necessarily represent all of us here in Seattle. Granted, there are indeed plenty of people (consumers and professionals alike) ok with the status quo of dark(er) roasted coffees or mysterious blends and defend tirelessly of Seattle’s “coffee city” repute. At the same time, however, there are also many of us that are actively working to further our understanding and appreciation of specialty coffee, collaborating with each other as well as many other leading establishments elsewhere. BRT is such a place where these people come together.

Perhaps it is a confluence of the economy, bad public policy, stagnant demand, a dash of complacency, and Seattle’s passive aggressive culture that have discouraged many progressive Third Wave cafes from opening up. Nonetheless, there are a handful of relatively new (within the past 1-2 years or so) and excellent places that are worthy of at least a visit by the most discerning amongst us.

  • Urban Coffee Lounge – Baristas Andrew and Laila came in 2nd and 3rd at 2010 NWRBC. Features Stumptown coffee prepared with care and precision.
  • Zoka Kirkland – Their new cafe is a daring departure, with two machines (one dedicated to single origin espressos) in a sexy urban setting.
  • Tougo Coffee – Serves Stumptown and Ritual (only place in Seattle!).
  • Dubsea Coffee – New cafe serving Stumptown coffee, bringing specialty coffee to an area of town (White Center) not previously accustomed to specialty coffee.
  • Stumptown Seattle – Always pushing the quality above all else, of course.
  • Makeda Coffee – Little shop in a sleepy neighborhood of Phinney Ridge, serving Seven Roasters coffee

This is not a comprehensive list of course (let’s not forget Aster, Trabant, and many more but keeping it short here to get to the point). Perhaps it is due to Seattle’s inherent culture of understatedness and avoidance of attracting attention to oneself that most of these establishments are not very well known (Zoka and Stumptown notwithstanding).

The point is, the BRT is a manifestation of the kind of progressive efforts a dedicated group of us in Seattle are actively pursuing. If you’re in town, this is your chance to geek out.





What’s Next?

8 10 2009

It’s been almost 3 years since Stumptown has opened their beautiful roasting facility and cafes in Seattle. No matter which roaster you work for or which coffee you prefer, it’s undeniable that Stumptown has had a profound influence over Seattle’s coffee scene. Without getting into who’s coffee is better and whatnot, it’s fair to say that everybody has been upping their game for sure. To that, more power to them all.

Stumptown Seattle's Mistral.

Stumptown Seattle's Mistral.

This brings up an interesting question – with the proliferation of 3rd wave coffee, what’s next? 4th wave? What are the parameters of this next stage of evolution?

With the way things are brewing (bada bing!), direct trade and ultra attentive sourcing will result in brewing methods that highlight such extensive work. These may include single origin espresso and single origin coffees by the cup via various methods e.g. pourover, chemex, press pot, etc. Equipment-wise, this means new coffee brewers and espresso machines that enable greater control over soft preinfusion and pressure profiling. Though there has not been an entire industry consensus on merits or standards of soft preinfusion and pressure profiling (whether on a Mechanical Paddle La Marzocco, Synesso, or Slayer), things are trickling in.

Advanced soft preinfusion (soft preinfusion with pressure manipulation) in its various forms have shown what’s possible to date. It doesn’t necessarily work on all coffees and, in the end, it’s still in the tongue of the beholder. In words, it’s hella debatable! The results have been impressive for us – espressos tend to be much more softer and rounded, without sacrificing its core delicacies e.g. brightness, acidity, etc. Hopefully, as more advanced soft preinfusion machines (Mechanical Paddle La Marzoccos and Slayer) find their way onto coffee bars, a better consensus can result.

However, advanced soft preinfusion is but only an incremental step towards total control a.k.a. true pressure profiling (that is, infinitely variable pressure from zero to your desired maximum brew pressure throughout the extraction process). Whatever the technology (or the lack thereof) that will get an espresso machine there, more power to it. After all, it’s all about what’s in the cup that truly matters. Well, it’s also about reproducibility as well. It’s rather difficult to use either advanced soft preinfusion or pressure profiling to make every espresso shot in a busy cafe. It’s just not practical!

To date, no production machine has been able to truly enable true pressure profiling. To that end, La Marzocco is working on a brand new, true pressure profile machine. A prototype was shown at this year’s SCAA on a down low basis and there’s field tests/feedback going on to get maximum input and feedback from those that will ultimately use it. All we can say is, watch out for it in 2010!





More Pics from Coffee Fest

28 09 2009
Killer custom Knight Rider La Marzocco Linea from Espresso Parts! Joined 2 and 3 group Mechanical Paddle Linea with two groups reverted to semi-auto, all stealth black finish, and with sliding LED lights on the bottom. No, it doesn't talk.

Killer custom Knight Rider La Marzocco Linea from Espresso Parts! Joined 2 and 3 group Mechanical Paddle Linea with two groups reverted to semi-auto, all stealth black finish, and with sliding LED lights on the bottom. No, it doesn't talk.

Matte black finish on the Knight Rider Linea.

Matte black finish on the Knight Rider Linea.

Espresso Parts' custom GS2 with glass side panels.

Espresso Parts' custom GS2 with glass side panels.

CF Esp Parts GS2 2

The Original. The GS.

The Original. The GS.

Chris Davidson from Atlas Coffee Importers double barreling with the two Swifts and the GS/3.

Chris Davidson from Atlas Coffee Importers double barreling with the two Swifts and the GS/3.

Baristas jamming on the Mechanical Paddle Linea at Victrola's Barista Jam.

Baristas jamming on the Mechanical Paddle Linea at Victrola's Barista Jam.





Seattle Espresso: A 25 Year Retrospective, 1978-2003

20 08 2009
"Seattle Espresso", a presentation by Kent Bakke in 2003

"Seattle Espresso", a presentation by Kent Bakke in 2003

Still settling in in the old Franke building and going through old files… and guess what we’ve found?! An old presentation by Kent Bakke on “Seattle Espresso: A 25 Year Retrospective, 1978-2003”. It was probably used for Kent’s presentation at SCAA 2003. Quite an interesting, if not hilarious, read, especially if you enjoy disco and CHiPs. Enjoy!

Flashback to 1978