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About MsC

If you were hoping for a carefully crafted description of my physique, a demonstration of my stellar sense of humor, or witty remark that conveys my stunning intellect, then you may have been looking for a man seeking something else. Sorry about that. But now that you’ve found your way to my blog – or in case this is where you intended to end up in the first place – please take a look around. Maybe I can help you learn something you never knew about a good cup of coffee. More importantly, maybe I can help you find one.

No matter your original intentions, you’re probably wondering just what is this blog is about. Hopefully, the following will clarify thing for you.

What is Man Seeking Coffee?

Started in October, 2007, Man Seeking Coffee is my contribution to the coffee-centric, food-writing world of blogs. Part travelogue, part review, it’s a record of my successes (and failures) seeking out great cups of coffee.

Why should I read Man Seeking Coffee?

Because you like coffee. Because you want to learn about coffee. Because you want to find good coffee. Because you enjoy my writing about coffee. Because you think I occasionally make interesting insights or point out interesting things about the world other than coffee during discussions entirely tangential to coffee, when I should have been writing about coffee.

As I see it, this blog will: a) allow you to live vicariously through my coffee seeking adventures, b) serve as a resource for coffee research of your own, c) provide you with an opinion to corroborate your own, already well-established opinion of various coffee you’ve already tried, or d) give you an occasion to vehemently disagree with my opinion and subsequently post a comment of your own.

What coffee expertise do you have?

A passion for great coffee. A long trail of good money thrown after bad coffee. A mild caffeine addiction. Endless charm and wit. I don’t really have a good answer.

I am a coffee non-professional and haven’t worked previously in the coffee industry. I have two years running this blog and several years prior reading (extensively) about coffee, exploring cafes and brewing coffee at home. I’ve taken courses on coffee and attended coffee events and continuously seek to learn as much about coffee as possible. Am I a professional taster or a certified coffee expert? Certainly not. Am I more knowledgeable (and obsessive) about coffee than the average person? Certainly so. I’d like to think I lean a little closer to the former, but I’ll let you read and be the judge.

Who is the intended reader of this blog?

I try to write this blog for anyone with an interest in coffee. Hopefully, I make some insightful comments to, or, at the very least, entertain people in the coffee industry and don’t embarrass myself too much in the process. At the same time, I hope I come across as informative and entertaining, and not simply snobby to folks simply looking to love coffee.

Do you have a set of principles guiding your search?

Nothing I’d nail to the door of the Castle Church, but I do try to abide by a short list of ground rules. Here they are.

Rule #1 – Keep your eye on the prize. Think about what you drink.

Plenty of sites already discuss cafe culture, brewing, grinding, tamping, latte art, roasting, barrista contests, coffee equipment, etc. I love them all. But what I really care about is a good cup of coffee. I may mention one or all of these things. I may attend events, discuss cafe design, expound on brewing techniques and contribute the occasional bit of coffee industry gossip. But all that is only a side-trip on the road to good coffee.

Rule #2 – Good coffee isn’t just about good espresso.

I applaud espresso purists. Your dedication to a single beverage is admirable. I also readily admit that those who know espresso, tend to know the other stuff as well. Still, I’ve decided to take a different tack and review coffee brewed in all forms – although admittedly with a preference for drip coffee as compared to milk-based drinks. I sacrifice the singular focus of espresso as a litmus and go instead for a less precise, but more holistic approach.

Rule #3 – There’s no place I won’t look for a good cup of coffee.

This blog has a Bay Area bent because that’s where I live and that’s where I drink most of my coffee, but I look for good coffee wherever I go – local national or international (if I am so lucky). I also write about coffee consumed in places other than cafes – beans brewed at home, diners, hotel rooms, or supermarkets are all fair game – assuming I have some reason to believe that the coffee might just be good.

Rule #4 – Don’t seek out bad coffee.

You may notice a lack of reviews falling into the lower half of my rating system. Please don’t assume that bad coffee has left us. It hasn’t. Don’t assume either that I’m a softy and hate to shoot from the hip. This imbalance in favor of stronger ratings is due instead to my interest in seeking out what I think will be good coffee and having no desire of using bad coffee to explore my ability to rant. There’s more than enough good coffee to occupy my time (you should see my backlog of posts). When I do ding someone for sub-par coffee, it’s usually due to 1) nothing better being available in the area, 2) a debunking of a popular misconception (or otherwise raved about spot), or 3) a piece of constructive criticism that I hope will lead to better coffee.

Rule #5 – Bring enough to share with others.

No. I’m not starting a mail-order business, but I will share what I learn about what I drink. That’s the purpose of this blog.

Thanks. Now on to the coffee…

20 comments to About MsC

  • I appreciate and share your intent. I am on a similar journey, and enjoy your reporting. Like movie critics, some folks prefer one over another … and should stick to the critic that they prefer to get a good result. I appreciate your attention to (Rule #1) quality, above all else. Location is not an issue; I’ll drive a long way for a superior experience.

    While not my web site, a friend turned me on to espressomap.com – a valuable resource that I use when travelling as well. It has only the top places, which makes it easy to use but provides sparse data.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Robert

  • manseekingcoffee

    I completely agree about critics. One of my current favorites in movies is David Edelstein (http://nymag.com/nymag/edelstein/). I consistently find him right on the nose with movies I’ve seen and sometimes able to articulate those thoughts of mine that hadn’t quite yet percolated to the surface.

    I love espressomap too. It’s actually on my blogroll. Another good one that I haven’t yet added is the Clover map. While a bit less grass-roots since it’s put out by the clover folks themselves, it is a pretty good indicator of some of the best coffee going. Anyplace that forks out for a Clover has to have a pretty strong committment to quality coffee if they hope to make a profit after their $11,000 investment.

  • Cool blog! I love Coffee! What do you think of Cherry Bean? Have you been to Cafe Bello in SF?

  • Thanks Leng. I haven’t yet made it over to Bello although it’s on my hit list. I hadn’t heard of Cherry Bean, but wow! This name looks ripe for a lawsuit. There’s this Cherry Bean in Omaha, Nebraska (http://cherrybeancoffee.net/), this one in Parker, SD (http://www.cherrybean.net/index.html) and then the one I think you’re referring to in Salinas (http://www.yelp.com/biz/cherry-bean-gourmet-coffeehouse-and-roastery-salinas#hrid:poHqggzwGfmZvxKJ-_yg-g/query:cherry%20bean). Yikes.

  • It was a pleasure meeting you over the weekend at slow food in SF and a privilege to have such consumer interest in coffee. You are who keeps us going! That is an excellent looking roast up on your header by the way. I hope you enjoyed yourself.
    -edwin

  • Actually, I think it’s you who keeps us going, Edwin! I guess it’s mutual, eh.

  • Dude, this is a good blog. I’ve been addicted to it since last night. Could you move to NY?

  • lmc

    great site, thanks. i love road trips and when i look at the espresso map fear the drive from san francisco to salt lake city!

  • great work. we added the site to ours if that’s ok. we feel that your work is really well done, and want to share it with our friends. thanks. tb(mcf)

  • I enjoy your blog. I have been a serious coffee person all of my adult life. Please check out my web site and flickr page. On the web site you will see my work using the coffee cup and the flickr page my cup collection and typology of restaurant cups.
    Keep up the great blog.
    Sincerely,
    Irvin Tepper
    irvintepper.com
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/31756808@N00/
    itepper@nyc.rr.com

  • Wendy Evarts

    Interesting web site. Read about your journey in the online NY Times. Come check out our coffee shop, The Higher Ground, in Cody, Wyoming–the home of Buffalo Bill Cody and 52 miles from the east entrance of Yellowstone Park. No counters, just 7 tables inside, one table and use of patio table when the weather is good. Very unprentenious, but good coffee from a local roaster and the best wraps in town (so says our clientele).

  • Brilliant blog MSC! Eagerly awaiting next blogg entry :-)

  • Ken Graham

    Dear MSC,

    I first learned of you while doing a coffee tasting at Moschetti in Vallejo. I felt I could do well with doing something smaller than a Microroast..I call my methodologies PICO ROASTING! That would be 15 pounds or less of roasted coffee per session.
    Armed with a Behmor 1600 and lots of great coffee’s from places like Sweet Maria’s, The Coffee Project and my own finds from far off lands, I am very excited about the future of the smaller home roaster and their contribution to this amazing land of bean exploitation for better tastes!
    Are you or have you planned on doing a piece on home roasters?

    If not, I would love to invite you to Napa for some roasting and coffee tasting! If not, come to Napa anyway.

    Moschetti, by the way, told me you ripped him a new one and was very upset by the way you portrayed him. My response was, well do something more amazing Fabrice and invite him back for another go!

    I appreciate your blog and while I am no where near the level of the stores you feature, I feel that a growing number of home roasters myself who actually do sell product to willing tasters, are going to be a growing segment of the coffee scene!

    What do you think?

    -Ken Graham
    Napa, CA

    • Ken, As you can tell, I haven’t been updating this recently. I felt like my side comments on Moschetti were pretty minimal. Hmm? At any rate, I would certainly be interested in trying this. Send me an email and we can talk that way.

  • Kberg

    Do you drink bare coffee or have it with milk/steam/ice?

  • Kberg

    The only issue with your reviews is that coffee shops can change depending on the barista, unavoidable of course, and of course its the shop/owner’s responsibility, any workaround besides visiting a few times, I mean if you reviewed a shop 3 years ago, is it fair not to revisit a shop if its in a major city or town with many shops. Also
    do you grade cumulative, for instance if a shop has a great clover, press, hario, aeropress, siphon,avg espresso
    do you average out the rating system. Of course that would depend on technique, for instance a toddy may be less complicated to use the fine tuning a clover, although experienced folks do mess up (not soaking).

  • Love the way you write, your detail of the coffee’s and your map of coffee places. Keep the great info coming. Can I send you coffee to review or do you just review cafe’s as you travel?

  • Eric

    Love your reviews! Keep em coming!

    Here’s a video of a coffee love missing his cups for the day!

    http://youtu.be/-x_MfR2ZPZ4

    Have a good one!

  • Hey bro great blog! Have you ever tried Mojoe? Check out my site and lets talk about it!

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