Ringing in the New Year A Few Days Late

Happy New Year! Who said you can’t say that when you’re over a week late? That reminds me that I never did get around to generating a best of the decade list or a list of coffee-related predictions for 2010. In fact, I didn’t see much coffee recapping or hypothesizing going on in the coffee blogosphere in general. A few brave souls, however, did step up to the challenge:

  • James Hoffman posted his annual prediction list, like many of his posts, this one was subtle and interesting to read, although this list felt a bit compulsory – driven by popular demand. Let’s just hope his predictions about seasonality and coffee measurement come true since it will mean good things for all of us.  Also, let’s hope that more cities take up the notion of a disloyalty card.
  • Nick Cho, with some apparent free time from his legal battles, provided his top ten list of coffee happenings during the decade. I found this list  insightful. It may not be definitive, and there’s a few odd birds in there, but it encapsulates many of the major coffee milestones I seem to remember from the aughts.
  • The Tamp Tamp top 10 New York Cafes for 2009. A top cafe list isn’t quite in the same league, but I think that it’s noteworthy that not too many other cities could produce such a lengthy list with such a variety of roasters and still leave so many other worthy spots off. New York still has its shortcomings as a coffee city, but the sheer volume of decently good cafes is no longer one of them.

I would like to make my own minor prediction/cajole. I’m hoping that 2010 is the year of the multi-roaster coffee bar. Places like Cafe Grumpy in New York and Billy Wilson’s Barista up in Portland have paved the way, but there’s still room in most major cities for a coffee bar that lets you try coffees from multiple roasters in a single setting, typically by way of several brew methods. Certainly the Bay Area has seen the more limited version of this type of cafe as of late – the dual roaster cafe offering  a more modest selection of brew methods (e.g. Haus, Mojo, and Cafe 504) – and the single roaster coffee bar that offers a truely exemplary coffee exploring experience (e.g. Blue Bottle’s Cafe). The lack of such true multi-roaster cafe in the Bay Area, however, may be that we’ve got too many new roasters competing for space of their own. Is there room for a cafe serving coffee from roasters from other cities? In 2010, I hope to see (but probably not personally witness) the opening of Jay Caragay’s ever-evolving, not-yet-open, Project Hampden in Baltimore (who’s updates you can follow on onocoffee). Let’s hope there’s similar promising spots opening up in other cities.  We need more cafes that offer a showroom to different coffees from different places with a guide as to the best way to serve them.

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