High Altitude Coffee

•September 22, 2009 • 1 Comment

One of my favorite health blogs, NephroPal, recently posted this (it’s short so I posted the whole thing. I hope Dr. T doesn’t mind)

It has been noted that the population on the mountainous Italian island of Sardinia tends to have a longer life span. A theory has been attributed to the fact that they grow and distill their own wine at high altitudes. Interestingly, their wine contains a high level of an antioxidant called procyanidin. Like resveratrol, procyanidin is believed to explain the French Paradox which entails a longer life span while on a high fat diet. In my opinion, it is the type of fat consumed that is important.
Like Sardinia, Argentina has a prolific wine growing region called Mendoza which is also at a high altitude – 2449 ft above sea level. The area of Mendoza is located at the base of the eastern side Andes mountain range.
I was interested in the concept of high altitude wines and come upon an article by Berli, et al (1) who looked at just this topic. The team looked at wines from the Mendoza area and analyzed the Malbec variety of wine made from the Vitis vinifera grape. They looked at two components: 1) the altitude of 500, 1000, and 1,500 meters above sea level and 2) whether the Ultraviolet B (UV-B) rays from the sunlight were at full exposed or partial. The findings showed that the grapes grown at 1,500 meters with full UV-B exposure has the highest amount of polyphenols anthocyanins and resveratrol. Thus, higher altitudes translants into higher amounts of UV-B rays which inturn leads to a higher antioxidant content in the grapes.
I will continue to blog about the antioxidant properties of grapes and continue my series on obesity.
1) Berli F, D’Angelo J, Cavagnaro B, Bottini R, Wuilloud R, Silva MF: Phenolic composition in grape (Vitis vinifera L. cv. Malbec) ripened with different solar UV-B radiation levels by capillary zone electrophoresis. J Agric Food Chem. 2008 May 14;56(9):2892-8.

This got me thinking. In coffee we place a high value on high grown coffee. Could there be a similar connection? Thoughts?

A New Post?

•January 22, 2009 • 1 Comment

I do have a new coffee related question to pose to everyone. I’m just trying to figure out the best way to get my thought down in question form. I’m working on it.

In the meantime I’ll be heading down to the Wester Regional Barista Competition for the weekend. It’s going to be sweet!

In case you haven’t heard….

•October 20, 2008 • 5 Comments

I would imagine you have already seen this and this. They are, after all, much more widely read then my bi-annual musings.

But, just in case you didn’t…

M’lissa and I are Engaged!!

Attention Barista Competitors!

•June 29, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Or, if you have a cafe and are considering table service I thought these designs by Carlo Casagrande were nice and clean. It can hold most demitasse cups and if you really want to get fancy, champagne flutes!

(click the thumbnail image if you would like to see them larger)

Check out his portfolio here.

Please No

•March 23, 2008 • 1 Comment



•March 19, 2008 • 7 Comments

Does this mean no one else can have one now?

The Tour Starts Today

•March 2, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Counter Culture Coffee cordially invites the barista exchange community to join reigning United Kingdom and World Barista Champion James Hoffmann for his 2008 U.S. East Coast Tour, March 2-15!

The 8-stop tour will include coffee presentations, skill demonstrations, barista workshops, and more at Counter Culture regional training centers and other locations listed below. Hope to see many of you at the events!


Regional event details:

March 2

Ninth Street Espresso – Chelsea Market
New York, NY

3:00 p.m.

Live Barista Performance and Reception

Ninth Street Espresso
Chelsea Market

March 4

Hyde Park, NY (Culinary Institute of America)

10 – 11:30 a.m.

Signature Drink Presentation

Danny Kaye Theater

2 – 3:30 p.m.

Signature Drink Presentation

Danny Kaye Theater

March 6

Mid-Atlantic/Northeast Barista Jam

10am – 12pm

Espresso Extraction Presentation

March 7

Washington, DC


Coffee Cupping

7 – 9:30pm

Food Pairing Presentation

DC Regional Training Center
1836 Columbia Road NW
Suite 202
Washington, DC 20009

March 9

Durham, NC

2 – 5pm

Three-Part Presentation:

1) James’ personal history in coffee
2) Single origin espresso tasting
3) Preparing for barista competitions

Durham HQ and Regional Training Center
4911 South Alston Avenue
Durham, NC 27713

March 11

Asheville, NC

7 – 9pm

Barista Comp. & Classic Drinks Presentation

Asheville Regional Training Center
77 Broadway Street
Asheville, NC 28801

March 12

Charlotte, NC

7 – 9pm

Barista Competition & Signature Drink Presentation

Charlotte Regional Training Center
1435 West Morehead Street
Charlotte, NC 28208

March 14

Atlanta, GA

10 – 11:30 am

Coffee Cupping

Atlanta Regional Training Center
King Plow Arts Center
887 West Marietta Street NW
Suite m210
Atlanta, GA 30318

1 – 3:30 pm

Barista Competition Presentation

Atlanta Regional Training Center


Party at Octane!

March 15

Atlanta, GA

2 – 5pm

Three-Part Presentation:

1) James’ personal history in coffee
2) Single origin espresso tasting
3) Preparing for barista competitions

Atlanta Regional Training Center

James Hoffmann Biography:

James Hoffmann started working as a barista back in 2003. He started working for the espresso machine manufacturer Gaggia, and quickly progressed into a training role. From there in 2005 he moved to another espresso machine company – La Spaziale to work as their national training manager. He also began competing in barista competitions that year and in 2006 won the UK Barista Championship and placed 5th in the World Barista Championship in Berne. He competed again in 2007, winning the UK again and this time went on to win in Tokyo, Japan and became the World Barista Champion. In May 2007 James left La Spaziale with the aim of starting a roastery and cafe in London. He continues to train and consult, as well as write for a variety of different publications and has an interest in food science, having worked with the chefs at the world famous Fat Duck restaurant when working on signature coffee drinks for competition.

My Heart Goes Out

•February 21, 2008 • Leave a Comment

My friends the Martinez’s at Finca Vista Hermosa have suffered a terrible loss. I can only say that my heart goes out the Martin family, the Martinez family, and everyone effected by this tragedy. I thank Edwin, Aaron, and M’Lissa for expressing my feelings and sentiments better than I could.

My Taste Buds Are Sad

•February 12, 2008 • 1 Comment

I guess this means I should give up on all that cupping.

I’m very proud!

•February 3, 2008 • 12 Comments

I just want to say that I’m extremely proud of M’Lissa. She is smart, talented, a great person, very beautiful and completely deserving. Ok, I may be slightly biased but it’s still true.


I was honored to be the photographer for her cover. I think it turned out quite nice considering I’m a complete novice.