I have had the chance to meet a lot of really interesting people, drink some amazing coffee, cup with the best roasters in the state and be amazed by the generosity of those involved in Perth's coffee culture.
I have some high points and low points for the year - and I'll deal with the low points first just to get them out of the way:
- Biggest stuff-up of 2008: Announcing that Liar Liar had been sold (when it hadn't). I will have to get to Melbourne to apologise to Nolan personally for the stuff-up, but in the meantime this acknowledgement of error will have fill in.
- Biggest disappointment of 2008: Having to do financial analysis rather than attend the 2009 WA Barista/Cupping/Latte art Championships.
- Worst Coffee of 2008: Its a toss-up between the coffee-in-a-can I tried and the coffee I got at the airport. I think the airport wins. It was late, I was tired I needed a coffee. Dome at the airport, can't tell you what their coffee was like because the milk was so hot I got a blister on my tongue.
- Worst attempt at humour: April 1st, Kopi Kecilsapi. I should probably resolve to stay away from attempting funnies, but since it is a resolution I am almost certain to break I shall not make it.
And now the good things of 2008!
- My best blog post in 2008: While I really enjoyed writing the series on the concept of 'Third Place', the most accessed content was the reprint of the Faema Family Manual, and the picture of my CT scan (do a google image search for 'CT Scan' and you'll see what I mean!). Unfortunately, neither of those two 'most popular' posts were written in 2008 so I guess I bombed out there!
- THE Best Blog post of 2008: Abstract Gourmet with the coverage of the Australian Barista Championships, AND the 2009 WABC event, neither of which I could attend but got to live vicariously via Matt's most excellent blogging.
- Favourite region for 2008: Central America, no question and El Salvador in particular produced some truly wonderful beans this year.
- Best Education Event for 2008: I think it had to be the 'meet the grower' event with Fiori Coffee at Entendre where we got to meet Gerard Barrios and hear him talk about his coffee. It is a shame we are so far from so many regions and can't fly more growers to Australia, and lucky that Gerard works for Qantas as well as representing his family's coffee interests.
- Best General Event for 2008: The World Barista Championship broadcast night at European Foods. The big screen, the food, and the coffee - it was a great night.
- Best Cupping Session: Friday, April 4 - Five Senses in Rockingham. The new roastery has a fully kitted out cupping laboratory that works really well as a space to experience coffee.
- Best New Cafe in 2008: A tie between Zekka (King Street) and Entendre (Shafto Lane) - what is it with the Western end of the CBD anyway?.
On balance I think I enjoyed this year as much as any I have had. However, coffee was not responsible for that, the most joy came via my own Junior Grendels and from Mrs Grendel and from the community of people that I have met because of my passion for coffee. I think I really maintain an interest in coffee because I love the people who are associated with it - my friends and my family.
Coffee has become something that I see as richly rewarding, because it has provided me with an opportunity to meet and keep in contact with some of the very best people that I have ever met, the most generous, the most outgoing and welcoming collection of fellow coffee lovers.
You know who you are, so thank you.
Happy New Year!