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Thread: Brünø's Big Bad Coffee Challenge Pointless Prize (#3)

  1. #1
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    Default Brünø's Big Bad Coffee Challenge Pointless Prize (#3)

    Are your hearts racing? Are you sweating with anticipation, your reflexes sharpened, on the edge of awareness? Does the world seem brighter, more lively, the gloom of life held at bay, like you want to ride yer bike, take over the world, or even, God forbid, run?

    Welcome to the long-threatened Coffee Challenge. For those of you who thought #coffeeneuring was fun...well, actually, it was fun. But if that was a nice easy spin in the countryside on an sunny autumn's day, this...well, this is Freezing Saddles. Autumn's over. This is Where the Trail Ends, eXtreme Downhill Caffeine Action, when the winter wind whips fiercely, and the rules are...well, where we're going, we won't need rules.

    There are a few parts to this. Subchallenges, if you will. Will they each be important? Sure. Are they equally important? Probably not. Are there secret criteria that only I know about that I'll be using for judging? Eh, probably—well, actually, not even I know those criteria yet, they're that secret. Mostly, the more interesting or weird the challenge, the more madcap the adventure, the more you chat with baristas, bicyclists, and bicycling baristas, the more you'll probably find the Point of the challenge. Yes, you can probably tick multiple boxes at the same time; that too might be part of the Point.

    Let's pull some shots!

    Preamble: the No Starbucks rule
    Except for challenge items that specifically call for visiting a Starbucks, no visits to Starbucks count.

    Part 1: Diner black
    Straight and simple and unpretentious: tick the boxes, tally the points.
    1 point per coffee shop
    1 point per roastery tried
    1 point per roastery visited
    1 point for each brewing method or drink
    1 point per region tried

    Clarifications: multiple locations of local shops count as individual shops. "Roastery tried" means that you drink coffee from a roastery, even if it's not at the roastery—so while Intelligentsia may be roasted in Chicago, you can find it served here. "Region" can get pretty specific pretty quickly; ideally, some specific, identifiable region smaller than just a country. So, for instance, "Ethiopia" would not be a region; "Sidamo" would be. "Hawaii" would not be a region; "Ka'u" would be.

    Part 2: washed process Ka'u

    It's hard to find, but Really Really Good: find (and try!) these things:

    —Try coffee prepared in a French press, a pourover, an immersion brewer, an aeropress, nitro cold brew, a siphon, a Moka pot, a jebena, an ibrik, and, of course, an espresso machine
    —Drink something roasted by Ceremony, Counter Culture, Stumptown, Madcap, Intelligentsia, Zeke's, Vigilante, MESCO, and/or Qualia...but somewhere other than their roasteries.
    —Find Kopi Luwak, Jamaican Blue Mountain, Kona, Ka'u, and Geisha
    —Find something made from beans aged in a liquor barrel
    —Attend a tea ceremony (cha no yu)
    —Find somewhere that serves coffee or tea out of handmade ceramics
    —Get diner black from a legit diner.
    —There aren't many farmers' markets left, but those that do probably have coffee. Try some.
    —Try the following: coffee from Rwanda, Burundi, and the United States; Las Serranias Columbian; cascara tea; a blend whose beans came from three different continents; single origin espresso; a blend with the same bean roasted to two different points (a melange); coffee grown by someone whose name is known by the person serving it
    —Pet the shopcat or shopdog
    —If the barista biked to work, meet their bike
    —If a restaurant or shop has a "private label" blend made just for them by a roastery, try it
    —Take part in an Ethiopian coffee ceremony one Sunday
    —Find: something named for the person who discovered coffee; a living coffee plant; and a Chris King espresso tamper
    —Attend as many different coffee clubs as possible. Good luck hitting both Vienna and College Park.

    Part 3: Cappuccino

    It's the perfect combinations that make these:

    —Maxwell's the barista at Baked Joint who got me hooked on Penrose espresso; try one yourself
    —I've talked about Amanda at Slipstream before; whatever she recommends, you should try
    —Vigilante's amazing, but whatever's at the top of the menu is Something Special. If Chris is in, say hey.
    —Sarah and I used to haul the WABAtrailers back when; nowadays, she's behind the stick at Peregrine Union Market. Their monthly specials are pretty much always the thing to get.
    —It's always a Good Day when you get the BIG French press at Qualia
    —CoD Roulette at MESCO is a game you can't loose
    —The Potter's House is one of my personal favorite places. Get a coffee for yourself, and pay one forward for someone else
    —Second best use of a CaBi key fob: the discounts at Teaism. Take a CaBi to one for Golden Monkey and mandelbrot...or a packet of Guranse
    —It's a tad civilized, but always fun: Tie Guan Yin at Georgetown's Ching Ching Cha, just off the towpath, on the cushions at the low tables.
    —Comrades! The Revolution needs ice cream! Grab a coffee at the Maryland Food Coop and a cone at the Dairy
    —The more I try to find out exactly what it is, the less I can actually tell you wnat a "flat white" is actually supposed to be...other than whatever Killer ESP gives you whenever you ask for one with your pie.
    —Where'd this coffee thing start, anyway? A rare (for me) short story: a French press of Yrgacheffe at Misha's.

    Part 4: Redeye Gravy
    Does that even count as coffee? I mean, I know someone who made a signature drink riffing on it once, but really?

    Welcome to the Funzone.

    —Ride a Kona to drink some Kona
    —Visit the VeloOrange showroom on a ride out to Ceremony's roastery (or vice-versa)
    —Make the trip from Vigilante's roastery to Cafe Kindred (or vice-versa). I don't know if Vigilante will let you deliver beans to Kindred, though.
    —Look Civilized enough after your ride to hit the siphon bar at Maketto. Or confident enough to pull off the "cyclist at a boutique" schtick. Either or.
    —Hit the Davenport, Midnight Mug, and Maryland Food Collective at some point or other during the season.
    —Find the Bianchi outside of Zeke's
    Actually stop for free coffee! Free pastries! at Trail Ranger Coffee second Friday of the month. Unless you're handing them out. Double points for you.
    —Find a shop with bikes in it. Bikes that aren't yours.
    —Find shops that let you take your bikes in with you.
    —#coffeeoutside
    —#teoutside—but bonus points if you can score the pagoda in the Arboretum
    —Drink coffee at all 3 MESCO locations in one ride
    —What's Mandarin for "palpitations?" Hit up Baked Joint, La Colombe Chinatown, Chinatown Coffee, and the Chinatown Starbucks in one ride...sticking to espresso or cold brew
    —On the list of "stupid things Brünø's always wanted to do:" order a pourover at the Vigilante stand at Eastern Market on a weekend. Run across the street to Piatango, have them start an affogato (if you go the hot chocolate route, get the hazelnut or gianduja). Dash next door, grab a coffee from Peregrine. If you time it all juuust right, they should all finish at the same time. Celebrate at Bourbon when you pull it off.
    —Organize a team event at "The Chinatown Starbucks on (X date) at (Y time)." That's it. No other information or coordination. Good Luck.
    —Start a ride at Killer ESP, finish it at Misha's (or vice-versa).
    —Have a cuppa Joe with Joe—coffee with the Veep
    —It's pretty well known that MESCO used to supply the White House. For security reasons, they can't tell us if this is true any more. So we at BAFS need a mole: someone who can try the White House coffee and tell us if they've found someone new (or, if not, which blend the Leader of the Free World drinks). No, you can't ask, they can't tell you, you can't tell us. You have to drink it.
    —Yeah, I'm a recovering metaphysician. Ceremony's Hegel reference blends (Thesis, Antithesis, and Archetype) amuse me more than they should, as does the story behind why Qualia is "Qualia." So, a philosophical question: in what sense would it be possible for you to combine a Hegelblend with a cup of Qualia within the scope of a single ride?
    —Forget Rule 9, do you know Rule 56? More importantly, does your barista? Find someone who knows what a macchiato is and can make a good one
    —Find a good coffee stop directly off the bike path
    —Get coffee for your favorite bike shop. Self serving? Me? Never.

    Part 5: Bali Blue Krishna
    I think I had it once—maybe when Zeke's first opened? I've forgotten what it was like, though. Think it was good. I've forgotten, or never had, or never been to a lot of things. Heck, there are things that I want to put on this list (how'd I make it through without any mention of Big Bear? That's my main landmark on R Street!) that somehow escaped it. That's where you come in. Convince me that I'm wrong about something. That I left something out. That something I clearly love is overrated. That something I didn't consider is worth thinking about. That there's some shop I've never heard of I HAVE to go visit. That there's some one coffee you found that you can't believe didn't make it on the challenge.
    Look. There's no way anyone could complete all of this challenge in one season. I couldn't. There are things on here I've never tried, never done. Heck, some of those weird coffees I mentioned are $10 a cup—you'd go broke if you tried to complete all of these this winter! However, total completion isn't the point. Trying weird, new things? That's closer to it. I'm a bit sad I'm missing out on weird and new.
    So find something for me. Compel me.

    Happy drinking, everyone.

  2. #2
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    What a great list. This is going to be fun. Thanks for the caffe-inspiration! I wish there were a 'clinking coffee mugs' icon available right now. Here's my first coffee stop @ Baked and Wired. Took CaBi, so sadly, no bike in photo. Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Mayhemnsuz; 01-02-2016 at 10:28 AM.

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    Steve O's Avatar
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    I am ashamed to admit that I do not understand all the rules perfectly. However, I believe this cup of coffee I bought at Toby's Ice Cream and Coffee in Westover this morning is worth some amount of points.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve O View Post
    I am ashamed to admit that I do not understand all the rules perfectly.]
    I'm kind of glad I don't.

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Stumptown!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve O View Post
    I am ashamed to admit that I do not understand all the rules perfectly. However, I believe this cup of coffee I bought at Toby's Ice Cream and Coffee in Westover this morning is worth some amount of points.
    Oh my. I hadn't heard that Rare Bird had opened. I'm going to have to visit them now. Yup, part 5 points for you, whatever they're worth.

    The only Rule that matters (well, subject to bribery or flattery) is the Starbucks rule. Most of the items in parts 1 (the boring, typical challenge bit) and 2 (the "try everything!" bit) can be ticked off if you look at parts 3 and 4 as the real challenge. Part 3 is kinda my secret coffee guide, the people, places, and things I'll bike across town for. Part 4 is just me being nuts, things that would make for memorable rides, and likely a few stories. Part 5 is just me trying to find new coffee, people, and places, as well as a chance to find out how I'm Wrong.

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    vvill's Avatar
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    I like coffee but clearly not as much as you. I am pretty confused with these rules to be honest though.

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    OK, so on Saturday I rode a loop from my house to an artisinal, small batch local roaster - otherwise known as my house. While still wearing my bike gear I roasted two pounds of beans (one of Columbian, one of Papua New Guinea). I roasted them to what is often called a "City Roast", but since I live in Arlington I have to refer to it as a "County Roast". Once the beans cooled I brewed a sample in a Clever Dripper (a hybrid between French Press and Drip) and enjoyed a nice fresh cup.

    Note that compared to the stated rules: (Part 1): A only kinda visited a roastery since it was my house, (Part 2) I brewed the coffee using a method that wasn't on the list, (Part 4) Roasted but didn't drink the #coffeeoutside. Also, I used different varieties of coffee than any specified in the challenge. And last, my name doesn't require a UTF character set. Since I was true to the spirit of the challenge, even I didn't exactly follow any of the rules I deserve at least 2.718 points.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    lordofthemark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vvill View Post
    I like coffee but clearly not as much as you. I am pretty confused with these rules to be honest though.
    I am going to focus on just one, about trying the different approaches to preparation.

    Try coffee prepared in a French press, a pourover, an immersion brewer, an aeropress, nitro cold brew, a siphon, a Moka pot, a jebena, an ibrik, and, of course, an espresso machine

    Which of these, other than the espresso, is the most "must know about"? I am guessing French press?

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    I am going to focus on just one, about trying the different approaches to preparation.

    Try coffee prepared in a French press, a pourover, an immersion brewer, an aeropress, nitro cold brew, a siphon, a Moka pot, a jebena, an ibrik, and, of course, an espresso machine

    Which of these, other than the espresso, is the most "must know about"? I am guessing French press?
    French press is my fave of those I've tried; some of the real coffee nuts (yes, there's much, much worse than me) will tell you that siphon brewers give you a more nuanced flavor, but I suspect the real appeal is drinking from something that looks like it came straight from a mad scientist's lab.

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