Smooth As Silk

An amazing thing happened on my way to an espresso shot this morning. This was not any ordinary ‘spro job, it was my first dialed in shot of De La Paz’s new Plumb Line espresso blend. As I stood at the bar with Bryn and two of my kids, we all watched in anticipation as I stirred the crema, letting the shot cool just a bit (it’s true, we get a bit geeky around new coffee). Suddenly, as I put the spoon back into the demitasse, a tiny spider appeared from underneath the saucer. Never kill a spider, that’s what my grandmother would say! So we let her roam around and she proceeded to climb up the demi, gallivant around the rim, and then march to the end of the spoon like some Olympic diver! I pulled the spoon so as to take her to her rescue outside and she does a death dive but on a wire, like Greg Louganis or Tom Cruise (think MI1). She stops about six inches from the floor. At the end of her tether, she is a true plumb-bob, bringing an odd meaning to this lovely new coffee. She made it out alive. I took her to the wall, where she attached and was gone faster than you can say star-jasmine, which is an aroma note on this coffee. That shot Bryn pulled ushered in Bica’s new espresso blend memorably. I loved Cameron’s comment about it, it is a spring-time coffee. Right on, Cam. It is so floral on the nose, like all of these amazing blossoms that surround us in the Banana Belt of the East Bay and beyond, providing a lovely if not painful juxtaposition of scents and allergens. There is a smooth balance of delicate fruit on the shot, maybe sun-dried cherry or cranberry, followed by a nice orangey tartness. It’s a complex, lightly roasted blend that is way different than the Black Candy bomb that came before. We’ve had only positive feedback on it so far! Great work Sharky and Jason.

We have had some great customer interactions lately: the dog walker who came and went on Sunday and then was spotted watering his garden later on a walk with my daughter; a charming couple who engaged me and let me know that a local coffee buddy at Mokka had sent them Bica’s way, as it’s closer to their home and they asked where the best coffee was, apart from Mokka’s; another local guy who doubles as a good friend of former BicaBarista Paul Newsam (now still working for George Howell in Boston; loving those Bruins and Sox, huh Paul?) and said, man I love this place and I haven’t even had a cup of coffee yet!; two new babies have made appearances, including wired-on-Day-One Felix from great customer Amy who never blew off the caffeine!; the new guy who sits in the corner, who told me late at 6PM one evening last week that he comes to Bica from SF 2-3 times per week because it’s the only place he can find Intelligentsia AND Stumptown, and how great all of the local brews are, too!; and a dude named Omar who made a big impact on the BicaTeam in a short time in our shop — we’ll miss you Omar, enjoy your return to your home in Paris! These interactions, some with old friends, others new and fleeting, are what bring a smile to my face when I’m lucky enough to be in the store. Thanks to all of you!

Sunday was International Dance Day (let’s start calling it “429″)! My kids got it ON at local dance studio New Style Motherlode. I even joined in, much to my kids’ chagrin! It was a ball and the best workout I’ve had in a long time! Go Momo! Classes are free all week for first timers, so if you’re in the mood, check it out and then cool down with a spicy, cinnamonny, cardamommy iced chai at Bica! Bryn’s batch on the weekends are so great, different from Justine’s equally awesome sweeter brews! The competition is on! But, there is only one winner and that’s Bica’s customer; the chai, in either iced or hot brewed form, has been walking out the store! And what can be better than walking in early on a Saturday morning to that smell?

As many of you will know, I’m a Boston Red Sox fan. Twice-a-day-Liz is a huge Yankees fan, as is Paul Clayton, former boss from Jamba Juice. Well, the BRS had a monumental melt-down weekend before last against the Bombers, and I would like to thank both of you, Liz and Paul, for not rubbing that in. That loss, after carrying a 9-0 lead into the 6th, set the tone for the Sox this year: crappy manager and no bull-pen. A very bad combination in the AL East, where the Sox are holding court in the basement. Even tonight, they tried to lose another one, this time to the A’s (yes, I love the A’s because they’re local!, but….I’m a Sox fan, end of story) no less! And when they blew that game and the Boston Brewin’s succumbed in Game Seven OT to the Washington Capitals (ohmygod did I seriously have to live through that?) on the same weekend, it’s almost too much. Gonna be a long season for the Sox and alot of questions to answer for the B’s. At least the Caps are really good, and I’ll pull for them now. I would do anything to have Alexander Ovechkin on any team of mine. I bet he could be a better closer than anyone out of the Sox pen right now.

Hmmm…..wonder what mischief that itsy bitsy spider is getting into now?

– Jake

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