1. musings of a ragamuffin: The #2Dto3D Challenge. →

    jasondominy:

    image

    As many of you know, i started the #2Dto3D initiative a few weeks ago through a blogpost and Twitter postings. The goal of the #2Dto3D initiative is very simple, it’s meant to take as many of your 2D social media relationships into 3D, or “in real life.” This in turn builds stronger…

    It just goes to show that there’s not an original thought in the world, and in this case I couldn’t be more happy. When I started Counter Talk last year, I spoke about how I wanted to bring online social interactions back into the real world, with coffee as my muse. I wanted to help repopulate cafes with the sound of chatter and laughter, rather than the clack of keyboard keys. Beansprout has a similar goal, in that I’m appealing to folks who already gather digitally, and trying to bring them together in person. So, what can you do for your community? Go out and invite your digital connections to real-world meetups. It takes seconds to do and the payoff can be huge. Just go for it!

  2. Heh. I love #cmgrchat, probably this much.
whatshouldwecallsocialmedia:

WHEN I JOIN #CMGRCHAT ON WEDNESDAYS.

    Heh. I love #cmgrchat, probably this much.

    whatshouldwecallsocialmedia:

    WHEN I JOIN #CMGRCHAT ON WEDNESDAYS.

  3. The video of my talk at #140cuse went up today! Feel free to check it out - I don’t think I nailed the talk, but it was my best go yet. Still need to work on actually sounding interested, I think. I get nervous in front of people like this, and while I know the content of my talk, I start to overthink the details and let anxiety get to me. I think practice will help with that, for sure.

    Also, definitely check out the other 140challengers! As I mentioned in my last post, Isaac Budmen took the challenge prize - a speaking spot at 140NYC this June - but Jeff Pulver graciously offered to bring the rest of the challengers to NYC as well, and we may have small speaking spots as well. Without further ado:

    Isaac Budmen - Building Software For Social

    Sam Morrison - Backflip.me

    Unfortunately, Alyssa Henry was too busy rocking the backstage speaker interviews to give her talk at the event, so we don’t have a video to represent her talk. Rest assured, it was just as awesome as the rest of the talks!

    Finally, be sure to check out all the speaker videos up on the iSchool’s YouTube channel. It was an amazing conference, and I can’t think of a single talk that wasn’t insightful and worth attending/watching.

  4. Counter Talk at #140cuse

    Yesterday was the big day, the much anticipated 140cuse conference. With forty-five speakers, over 600 in attendance, not to mention thousands following online, the event was a huge success, and I was glad to be a part of it. You may remember David Rosen, who I met with for Counter Talk a short while ago; the guy deserves a million beers right now. The hard work put in by David and his team paid off big time, and more than a few speakers (some of which were frequent conference-goers) were sure to mention how well-put together it was.

    David and the Tech Crew backstage getting things prepped to start.

    The crowd starting to fill in. Not long after, it was standing room only.

    140challenge

    As I mentioned previously, I was a student speaker in the 140challenge, which saw me giving my talk about this very project, pitted against my fellow students and friends Isaac Budmen, Sam Morrison, and Alyssa Henry. Sadly, Alyssa opted out yesterday, being fairly busy with speaker interviews, so it was just the guys presenting. I went first, switching up my talk a bit from the previous format (video to come soon), followed by Sam - backflip included - and then Isaac. The crowd turnout  was pretty good despite being during the lunch hour, and all three of us were on our game, delivering solid presentations (the other two certainly did, I would hesitate to include myself). After we presented, the show returned to the main stage in the Schine Underground, and after a quick post-lunch talk by Eric Stoller, Anthony Rotolo asked us to join him and Jeff Pulver on the stage to announce the winner. I’m happy to announce that Isaac Budmen won the prize, with his stellar talk on using digital and social technologies to enhance your world and your learning, outside of more traditional educational means. His message resonates clearly with a wide audience, myself included; after all, I just got my summer job on the internet, never having met my employer face to face. The world is changing, it’s far more connected online, and Isaac is quick to point out the merits of that trend.

    Tim Pool showing off his front flip skills after the 140challenge talks.

    Jeff Pulver, however, really outdid himself, by not only providing Isaac with a speaking spot at 140NYC this summer, but also by offering to take the other 140challengers to the conference as well. He is an incredibly generous man, and I am humbled. There really weren’t any losers in this challenge, thanks to him.

    Counter Talk “Speed Dating”

    What kind of barista would I be if I weren’t finding a way to brew coffee at this event? I was turned down by food services at the school, so I wasn’t able to set up a table anywhere, but I brought my suitcase anyway, and held miniature Counter Talk sessions with friends and speakers. It was a phenomenal time, especially since I made sure everybody exchanged something of value for their brew. Well, I intended to anyway - I forgot to ask a few people along the way. I brewed a home-roasted Ethiopia Pulp Natural Guji, via both Kalita Wave dripper, and Aeropress with Able Brewing’s DISK Fine filter (more on that in an upcoming post). I wasn’t completely happy with this roast, but I didn’t get any complaints from others, so I think they were satisfied. Here’s who I got to brew for:

    @carolshares

    Carol is a fellow iSchool grad student, who is enrolled in my social media class. She shared a comical story from her days as a pipe fitter and welder, when a piece of slag fell down behind her protective apron and into her bra. As she struggled to pat it out, she noted that all the male fitters around were awfully eager to lend a hand. Anything to “help,” right?

    @jrwalco

    Another social media student from my class, Jessica spoke with me about her volunteerism with The Future Fund of CNY. They are a local organization, part of a non-profit, which she described as a “giving circle,” meaning they pool funding into a grant, and the membership votes on where to distribute it each year. I always like to hear about projects like this, giving back to and supporting the local communities.

    @syracusejen

    Jen paid me a rather nice compliment, saying she thought I should have won the 140challenge. Much appreciated Jen!

    @jeffpulver

    Jeff needed no exchange in my mind, he’s given me plenty of stories, a trip to New York, lots of hugs, and more, in the short time I’ve known him.

    @juliaallis

    Poor Julia, I was rather dopey and didn’t realize at first she was patiently waiting her turn in line while talking with me. Still, she exchanged her musings on riding a motorcycle, and we chatted about the stark difference between riding in a car, and being more exposed on something like a motorcycle or, in my case, a jet ski that one time. She noted that the smells were most intriguing, as they come on quite vividly and suddenly when on a bike. A forest smells far different on a motorcycle than it does as a hiker.

    @CDeBaise124

    Once again, another social media student (#Rotoloclass repped #140cuse quite well!), Chelsea got off without an exchange, but we did chat for a bit.

    @ibudmen

    Isaac won the #140challenge, so I congratulated him with a cup of coffee! Poor guy looked like he needed it by late afternoon too.

    Isaac, Chelsea, Julia hanging out, enjoying coffee and conversation. As it should be.


    @timcast

    Tim Pool, known for his citizen journalist style coverage of Occupy Wall Street, came over with Jeff Pulver for a quick cup. He told us about his family’s cafe in Chicago, which sadly fell prey to prolonged construction on the sidewalks, killing foot traffic. Tim knows a bit about coffee himself, as a result, and explained how to properly taste coffee - slurping! Doing so sprays your whole palate with coffee at once, and introduces air, allowing more complete tasting. I got a good deal of practice in slurping back at Coffee Fest during the cupping class I took. It’s hard not to suck too hard and inhale, choke and cough when you’re just starting out…

    Also cool about Tim’s family cafe: apparently they got some tips and pointers on coffee from another Chi-town institution - Intelligentsia. Very cool!

    Tim and Jeff waiting while I boil more water. Friendly guys!

    @ariel_n

    Ariel is another student, inhabitant of the #NEXIS, and founder of the up-and-coming dating site YouShouldDate.Me. She offered the story of how she grew up loving architecture, cutting out furniture and things from magazines to put in her sketchbook of drawings. Her grandmother once spotted her cutting out some furniture, and commented that it was nice she was making suggestions for the interior. Ariel corrected her and said they’re  not suggestions, that’s what the room will look like. Her grandmother disagreed, and said you can’t tell them what furniture they have to use. Over the years, her grandmother’s insights pushed her away from architecture, and the single people of the world will likely be better for it!

    Ariel speaking with Jeff Pulver.

    @EricStoller

    Eric was a blast to talk to, however briefly. He left me with his awesome, slightly dizzying business cards. These ones are keepers for sure!

    @SparksZilla

    I know nothing about Andy, but I offered him a cup during my final rounds in the room before it got closed up. Thanks for indulging me, Andy!

    Yesterday was a seriously great time, I can’t wait to do it again this summer, and next year!

  5. #140Hamilton Tonight! →

    140cuse is going on the road this week, starting yesterday with 140RIT in Rochester, and continuing tonight at Hamilton College. I’ll be speaking about Counter Talk, so follow the #140Hamilton hashtag to keep up! A full speaker list and event details can be found here, so if you’re online or in the area, stop on in!

  6. Is it SXSW yet? →

    The folks at NEXIS are all fairly excited about going to SXSW this year. So they made a handy site to let you know if it is, in fact, SXSW yet. Pretty self-explanatory, and it seems like some fun features are being worked in to make it worth at least a daily check-in. You know, because remembering the date of a particular event is so 2001.

  7. Counter Talk: Chris Azar and Isaac Budmen

    Not too long ago, I mentioned I wouldn’t be doing espresso again for Counter Talk. So yeah…it didn’t take very long to go back on that statement. On a relatively balmy Saturday morning (for Syracuse, in February), Chris Azar and Isaac Budmen showed up at my house, where my La Pavoni was already warmed up. These two have a web site called Make Sweet Shit, and recently had a bit of a windfall in the shape of a Twitter-based drinking game called DrinkUp. I actually approached them on Twitter a short while ago when I saw mention of their stop-motion Keurig video. Two things struck me right then: the thought that I had to get them to make a video about a better way to brew coffee, and that they’d be perfect candidates for Counter Talk because they seemed to like to just start cool projects. I couldn’t have been more right.

    The Brew

    My Pavoni lever as it exists in its natural habitat. Where the magic happens.

    Espresso was the name of the game, as Isaac basically said it would seal the deal for this meeting. On hand, I had some Handsome Fisticuffs and some Kuma Red Bear for espresso, and as I started telling the two about the differences in flavors between the blends, I realized that it was 9:30 AM. That amount of detail was a bit much for what’s generally considered early for a Saturday, so I asked what kind of drinks they’d like - straight shots, or with a bit of milk. They answered the latter, so I picked the Kuma, knowing that it would make some right tasty cortados. I whipped up three short cappuccinos in my favorite glasses (5 oz. Libbey Gibraltars), with feeble attempts at latte art, and we set off to my kitchen table to have a bit of a talk.

    The Exchange

    I started the interview right off the bat with the inspiration for Make Sweet Shit, why that came about. It turns out that Chris and Isaac, both Syracuse University students, just like to make cool stuff, and show it off to people. It doesn’t have to make them rich (in fact, their roommates might tease them about the non-existant ROI for their efforts), it just has to be interesting to them, and possibly to others. You see, Chris and Isaac are very obviously creative and driven people. Chris is a fellow designer (in case you didn’t know, I am as well), and Isaac is a fellow iSchool student. (Yep, they pretty much split me in half into two more focused personas. But I digress.) Make Sweet Shit was basically a place for them to log their ideas and projects, for whomever to see. As Isaac put it, they simply wanted to be like the next Breakfast NY.

    Terrible latte art, delicious beverage.

    Their most recent effort, DrinkUp, has garnered quite a bit of attention recently, and it actually had their hands full to the point that I could barely schedule a meeting with them when I did. What it is, is simple; a web site which incorporates Twitter, and a few rules. When somebody tweets the hashtag #DrinkUp, the hiss-crack of a beer can opening plays, and you’re to take a drink. It’s simple, and no doubt effective - listening to the page on a Friday night sounds a bit like a frat party sans music and people. Beyond the game itself, though, I wanted to know a bit about what went into that idea and how they’re handling the reception. Frankly, you shouldn’t be surprised that two guys in college that like to make things with code eventually decided to make an online drinking game, but the cool part goes beyond the booze. DrinkUp is not your average drinking game: it can unite people in different bars, cities, time zones as they all play. As the popularity grows, they’ll handle that with some newer features (that’s their news to break though), which really have the potential to make this simple game catch on quite a bit.

    The downside of cortados is that they disappear too quickly. So tasty though!

    I was quite pleasantly surprised, though, to hear that they’ve been pretty humble about the whole thing. I asked what their favorite bit of press has been, and Isaac responded with quite a different answer than I was expecting. He told me about a man named Drew, also known as @Drew on Twitter (at the time), who got cancer. Drew stayed positive, publicly at least, and started the hashtag #BlameDrewsCancer, and attributed it to any wrong that might have happened during the day. No place to park? #BlameDrewsCancer. Milk went bad? #BlameDrewsCancer. You get the idea. The thing is, the hashtag caught on, and Drew’s cancer was being blamed for all sorts of stuff all over. So Drew used it as a campaign to fund cancer research, in partnership with Livestrong and Lance Armstrong. Then comes along Drew Carey, who wished for the @Drew Twitter handle, and Drew (Cancer Drew) decided to offer a wager: he would be auctioning off his Twitter handle, so if the actor was interested, he’d have to bid at least $10k to cancer research. The stakes continually got higher, and eventually the deal was made that if @DrewFromTV (Carey) and @Livestrong got 1 million collective followers, $1 million would be donated to Livestrong to fund research, regardless of date. So this thing actually happened, Drew beat cancer, and now writes for one of Isaac’s favorite tech/web news blogs, TheNextWeb.

    Since Isaac is a huge fan of TNW, when DrinkUp started making some noise, he sent them a quick message that “Hey, we’re a couple of college kids, and we made this. Maybe you’d like to check it out,” expecting some photos in tweets of TNW staff playing it at the office. Turns out they wrote about it instead. And the author? It’s Drew. Yes, that Drew.

    Chris (left) and Isaac, describing the reaction to DrinkUp.

    I was expecting a wholly understandable “Oh man, So-And-So tweeted about it, that was awesome!” Instead, I got a story of how the web can humble you, and surprise you in the best ways, and that sometimes you really do get to meet/influence you idols. These two are the real deal.

    The Finish

    The takeaway from this particular meeting is that Chris and Isaac are going places, plain and simple. They’re both creative, and passionate about making cool things, regardless of the payoff. They just want to get people using, looking at, talking about, or maybe even totally ignoring, something that they’ve created. Beyond the recognition, the process of doing stuff just seems to be in their blood. These two are exactly the point of Counter Talk; I’m looking for people with this kind of drive, to be inspired, and share that feeling you get after you talk to somebody with really cool ideas. These two are right in line with the philosophy of my project - we all just want to make an impact for the sake of doing so, and profit can come later. Find Chris and Isaac, online or in person, and talk with them. They’re friendly and down to earth, they’re humble, and they’re brimming with ideas to Make Sweet Shit.

    Thanks, by the way, to Isaac for sending me some shots he took, to use here. I really do have to make a better effort to shoot photos while I do these meetings, or just hire somebody to tag along.

  8. Counter Talk: David Rosen

    My nerves were just settling down when I met with David Rosen, a fellow iSchool graduate student. I’d just given a presentation for the 140Challenge, wherein I gave my proposed 140cuse talk in front of a small audience, to compete for a chance to win a speaking spot at 140conf NYC this summer (yeah, that’s a lotta 140). There are just five competitors, each given their own day to speak, and I had the, er… pleasure of going first. I’m not the strongest public speaker, I don’t think, and I’d had limited time for rehearsal due to coursework getting in the way. Needless to say, by the time I met with David, I was glad it was all over, and ready to move on to casual conversation - coincidentally of a rather similar topic.

    I’ve known David for a few months, as he’s in my major, and thus some of my classes. He’s also part of the NEXIS crew, and one of the organizers of the upcoming, and first ever, 140cuse conference. I also know David to be a bit of a Starbucks fanboy, so I was eager to pull his attention away from the Green Siren for a chat.

    The Brew

    I’d brought my Chemex along, with some of Stumptown’s Ethiopia Yukro for the brew. I’d actually tried to roast something for this meeting, a Costa Rican bean that my older brother’s longtime friend Ben courteously brought back with him from said country. Unfortunately, being the first roast, things rather predictably went wrong, resulting in a roast that’s what we refer to as “baked.” The taste of a fresh but baked roast is roughly equivalent to that pot of office coffee that’s sat on the warmer for about 4 hours. Not. Good. Luckily, Yukro is a splendid backup bean, with ample sweetness and a well-balanced acidity.

    I actually brewed for everybody present in NEXIS this time, so don’t be surprised if that’s where the CuseBarista Fan Club gets formed…

    The Exchange

    David and I were actually both at a loss as to what to talk about at first. I usually come to these with some questions in mind, in case I need to initiate some discussion, but again, I’d been a bit preoccupied. We started by meandering through stories of his experience abroad, in London and Italy, which essentially made me infinitely jealous. Europe is full of a diverse coffee culture, and I’ve got quite a few cities and countries in a mental list of places to visit for no other reason than coffee. His experiences are obviously meaningful to him, from the lifestyle aspects to the history and food, as well as the cheap travel (hey U.S., let’s work on that one, yeah?). Europe is also where he met his current (American) girlfriend, who teaches in Chicago - another coffee town, I might add.

    The conversation ended up in very interesting place, though, when we began discussing his role as a 140cuse planner. David found his role here through an existing interest in social media, starting back when he attended SXSW last year. From there, he cultivated connections with iSchool staff, and managed to get his trip to 140conf NYC sponsored by the school. There, he got to meet the conference’s founder, Jeff Pulver, and where an interesting idea got formulated. 140conf has some history in collaboration with educational institutions, but the idea of Syracuse University hosting its own offshoot was a bit fresher. Forgetting the minutiae of initiating and planning this sort of thing, David eventually took up a Graduate Assistantship at the iSchool, where planning the conference became his essential duty. And make no mistake, that’s not an easy job.

    David kicks back in NEXIS, enjoying a cup of distinctly not-Starbucks coffee.

    There are other members of the team, but David’s description of his experiences gave me the impression that his duties are distributed quite far. He’s helped the project the whole way, from setting up a web presence, to promotion, securing speakers and sponsors, reserving space on campus, booking transportation, and so on. Conferences, it turns out, are full of little details that are easy to overlook. I related to him the struggles of Mojang, the folks behind the cult indie game Minecraft, as they put on their own first convention this past year. The first is always one of the most difficult, because there is so little experience to learn from or build on.

    The Finish

    In the few short months building up to 140cuse, you can bet David will be kept busy, and I’m hoping his work will pay off. From what I know, I can tell it’s shaping up to be a really unique event, something that will be remembered at Syracuse, and looked forward to each year. I’m excited to meet Jeff Pulver soon, when he comes to campus to attend Isaac Budmen’s 140challenge talk. If you’re in the area in April, I highly recommend attending 140cuse; it’s going to be a fantastic time and well worth the price of admission. Also, free coffee from me!

    Edit: Due to health code stuff, I won’t be brewing coffee. However, all of the 140challenge competitors will be taking the stage to give their talks! Sometime around noon, I believe.

  9. Counter Talk: Alyssa Henry

    For this, the second Counter Talk to date, I was pleased as punch to be leaving my espresso machine at home. No, this time, there would be no espresso, and instead we’d be conversing about fortunes and hauntings over some Handsome Coffee via Chemex. Alyssa met me in the NEXIS again, and we proceeded to have what was essentially the first true-to-form Counter Talk meetup.

    A lighter, more streamlined brewing kit. Much easier on the arms and nerves!

    The Brew

    As I touched on above, my contribution was a pour-over of Handsome Coffee Roasters’ San Sebastian, via Chemex and Kone. This particular coffee was the latest delivery for the Handsome Wager, which I’ve been happily subscribed to since its inception. I haven’t had much practice with this coffee, nor with my brand new Baratza Maestro Plus (the Travel Grinder, if I may be so…yuppie), so I was a bit nervous that I’d screw it up. Hey, when you tell somebody you’ll make them delicious coffee, the pressure’s on! Thankfully, I believe I delivered. The cup had a pleasant red grape acidity, with a little bit of lingering sweetness, and a medium body afforded by the sediment found in most Kone brews. We didn’t talk about that of course - most people don’t care for the overly geeky tasting notes I might offer. Rather, our conversation was quite entertaining, filled with the curiosity of the mystical, the unknown and unknowable.

    Had I brought more mugs, I’d have offered Chris some coffee as well. Poor guy had to sit there and do work while we had all the fun. Another time, Chris!

    The Exchange

    Alyssa brought with her two fortune cookie fortunes, one graciously still enclosed in sweet tidbits of cookie (It had broken, as fortune cookies do). “I collect fortunes,” she explained. I was already amused, considering I’d often just throw the scraps of paper away without much thought. Hers read “A wise man knows everything, a shrewd one knows everybody.” The smiley faces don’t quite do the poignant words justice, and Alyssa went on to explain that even though some fortunes are trite, there are plenty of meaningful musings as well. I opened my own cookie and read the message aloud: “You will always get what you want through your charm and personality.” Well, that’s assuming I have either, I suppose!

    :) You will find meaning within happy people. :)

    Deciding to move forward, I asked Alyssa what got her interested in fortunes in the first place. It turns out she’s always been interested in the mystical side of things, from pyschic mediums to ghostly experiences. As it happens, I also have a few ghostly stories of my own, so we went about sharing some of our spooky tales. I won’t bother going into the whole exchange - that’s best left for campfires and seances - but perhaps you can ask Alyssa about the Jamaican nurse, or me about the toddler who talks to ghosts. I’m not ashamed to admit I got goosebumps a few times during our chat.

    Alyssa, here relating a story about a presumably haunted house.

    Perhaps neither of us truly believes we’ve interacted with the spirit world, or that such a thing exists, but the sharing of this kind of story is important nonetheless. We chatted a bit about the oral tradition of storytelling, and folklore, and how those things have historically influenced people. If nothing else, they keep the imagination alive, and the blankets drawn tight over children’s faces when things go bump in the night. There’s something fun about speculating on the afterlife, or the otherworldly; it’s a feeling many of us can relate to, tough perhaps after the hairs on our arms and necks have settled down.

    Thanks Alyssa, that was good fun! 

  10. Counter Talk: iSchool’s NEXIS

    Originally, my first Counter Talk was slated to be with Kelly Lux, the Community Manager at Syracuse University’s iSchool. As word spread, though, the plan expanded to include the other staff at NEXIS, a veritable social media mecca within the school, where Kelly and a few other fine folks take the helm to navigate the social Internet for the iSchool (and do a right fine job, at that!). Apparently the prospect of lattes is too good to pass up, and I was humbled at how excited people were for my arrival.

    Oh, that? That’s 40 lbs. of anxiety attack in a suitcase.

    The Brew

    Now, in an earlier post I mentioned that this was probably the only time I’ll do espresso for Counter Talk. I still stand by that, especially after lugging the suitcase about a mile from my car. If it were just a 40 pound case, it would have been fine, but that equipment is both expensive and fragile, meaning that every bump in the sidewalk had me wondering if my Europiccola’s sightglass would crack, or if the grinder might be settling into the steam wand. I ended up turning my arms to numb noodles by carrying, rather than rolling, the suitcase as much as possible. It was certainly a bit nerve-wracking and tiring, but in the end it was quite worth the effort.

    NEXIS Setup

    Yours truly posing while the machine warms up. Photo courtesy of David Rosen.

    Setting up in NEXIS, I was glad I took the time to survey the spot beforehand, making sure to bring a power strip, and to figure out where to grab a table to use. I was tight on space, but managed to arrange a tidy little workflow, only really lacking a sink.

    I used both Counter Culture’s Aficionado espresso blend, and Cafe Kubal’s Brazil Mongiano single origin espresso. The cool part, I suppose, was that the Aficionado was roasted back in October, and though by all rights should have been completely stale, managed to stay quite well-preserved in my freezer. When I thawed the jar and pulled a few shots a few days before Counter Talk, the beans smelled, pulled, and tasted just like they would if they were 2-3 days out of the roaster. That’s quite a testament to freezer storage of beans, and the subject of a later post.

    The Exchange

    I actually only made six drinks, over about two hours or so. A lever machine like mine, which is on the smaller side, is really meant for a drink or two at a time, so I had to stop to refill and reheat a few times. Still, the drinks and conversation flowed at a steady pace, as I churned out five skim lattes, each adorned with my best interpretation of skim milk latte art (Oh look, it’s a cloud!). Most of the feedback was positive, with Kelly exclaiming that she never drank coffee without sweetener, and yet my creation was, presumably, palatable. A bit on the strong side, perhaps, as I don’t own any large latte cups, nor can the Pavoni really handle steaming a larger volume of milk. So, most everyone got an 8 ounce latte, a bit shorter than the typical 12 ounce “small” you’d get at a coffee house.

    My favorite part of this event was how interested people were in the project and the process. I very much wanted to drive interest in what makes specialty coffee different, so that part was a huge success. I always say I could talk all day about coffee, so I did have to watch myself a little bit and not go overboard with information, but having a receptive audience was thrilling.

    The failing, though, was that I didn’t take the time to sit down with Kelly, or other NEXIS staff, to get down to brass tacks. If Counter Talk is meant to be an exchange of passion, this one was a bit me-heavy. I’m criticizing myself, of course, as engagement needs to be initiated, and I slacked off, lost in a haze of steam and revelry for my old barista days. Perhaps it was the crowd, or the caffeine, but that’s a point I need to focus on in future meetings. Thankfully, I get to practice more soon, as Counter Talk number two is this very weekend!

    The Experience

    Now, I did have some great take-aways from this event, mainly in a giant increase in exposure. The intrepid social media gurus at NEXIS managed to more than double my @CuseBarista followers on Twitter, fill my inbox with mentions, and spread the word far more efficiently than I’ve been able to. I’m absolutely blown away by the interest in the project at this point, and I have to thank Kelly, Alyssa, Anthony, David, and anyone else that tweeted, Instagrammed, or otherwise shared their Counter Talk experience with the masses.Even beyond that, I had a bit of an interview with Diane Stirling, a fellow iSchool graduate student, and Communications Associate with the iSchool. Diane was interested in my project, so she asked me some questions for a possible piece for the iSchool news. iSchool Dean Liz Liddy even dropped by, although it was after I’d cleaned up, and she may be a future Counter Talk feature as well. I’d love to sit down and chat with her about her work in Natural Language Processing, it’s super interesting stuff!

    The aftermath. This is actually more real estate than I get at home.

    In all, it was a tremendous first outing for Counter Talk, though the format was a bit more freeform than I expect it will be in the future. This blog post is a bit of a symbol of that: it’s formative, and it captures the essence of what future Counter Talk posts will be like, but it’s a bit unrefined. I’m both anxious and excited to proceed with the project, to take responsibility for shaping it, and to see and hear what others bring to the table. Excelsior!

    [Note: As I was kept fairly busy pulling shots most of the time, I didn’t have much opportunity to snap photos. Thus, this post is lacking a bit in the visuals department. I’ll see if I can update more later if some more Instagram shots turn up or something - and thanks to anyone who’s helped me out in that regard!]

  11. Let’s do this!
I’m ready to start brewing, to start sharing my passion with some fine Syracuse folks. I’m officially taking on all comers, so sign up quick!
I’m available to meet Fridays and Saturdays through May, with the exception of March 9-10 (I’ll be in NYC for CoffeeFest!). So, follow me on Twitter @CuseBarista, tweet at me to let me know you’re interested, and we’ll work on scheduling a time and place to meet. 
The big thing here is exposure! There are going to be a lot of people asking who the heck I even am and why I’m worth their time. You few enterprising and adventurous folk who meet with me initially are integral in helping to spread the word! You’re my street team, except you plaster the walls of the Internet with tweets, not hastily-photocopied hand-drawn gig posters. That’s more cool, right?
So, let’s do this! Who’s got something they want to share?

    Let’s do this!

    I’m ready to start brewing, to start sharing my passion with some fine Syracuse folks. I’m officially taking on all comers, so sign up quick!

    I’m available to meet Fridays and Saturdays through May, with the exception of March 9-10 (I’ll be in NYC for CoffeeFest!). So, follow me on Twitter @CuseBarista, tweet at me to let me know you’re interested, and we’ll work on scheduling a time and place to meet. 

    The big thing here is exposure! There are going to be a lot of people asking who the heck I even am and why I’m worth their time. You few enterprising and adventurous folk who meet with me initially are integral in helping to spread the word! You’re my street team, except you plaster the walls of the Internet with tweets, not hastily-photocopied hand-drawn gig posters. That’s more cool, right?

    So, let’s do this! Who’s got something they want to share?

  12. And one more… This one is long, but full of great information. Some is a little more geared toward industry practices, but the discussion on origin transparency is something the specialty coffee industry is struggling with right now, not only in meeting customer demand, but also in resolving the issue of “conflict coffee.”

    Peter Giuliano of Counter Culture Coffee, Sean Bonner, Stephen Vick of Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea, and Cory Bush weigh in from their respective professional standpoints. This sort of issue is key to Coffee Common’s message, in that, like so many other products, the coffee in your mug is distinctly separated from the growers who may have struggled to produce it. Transparency in retail sales as far as who produced the raw material, where, as well as other key information, is included to varying degrees (and not included), but the target balance is still the topic of heated discussions. Honestly, there’s a lot more talked about in this video than can be covered in a single posting, especially since these are ongoing topics of discussion, with no clear consensus established.

  13. Mike White from Shot Zombies talks about buying and brewing coffee at home, Peter Giuliano from Counter Culture Coffee joins in the discussion, in the second video from Coffee Common’s NYC event this week. Also mentioned, and worth linking to, is the well-loved Brew Methods web site. It’s a great resource for figuring out that new brew device for the first time, or finding a new brew recipe to try.

  14. 2008 United States Barista Champion Kyle Glanville talks about brewing techniques with a few Hangers Out, myself included. Coffee Common opened a small cafe in NYC this week, and has been doing an awesome job engaging and informing their audience. Their Google+ hangouts are a spectacular experience, allowing those who couldn’t make it to the city for this event to still talk with coffee pros about key areas of interest.