Monday, July 20, 2009


above, some seattle sights & snacks: iphone/angelo:HOME

Let's talk coffee.

I like mine strong, yet smooth and naturally sweet with a bit of a bite. I prefer a small (8-12oz), double shot latte or cappuccino with regular milk and no sugar, but making an espresso drink is a real art form. Just because you can make a great cup of coffee doesn't necessarily mean that you can pull the perfect espresso shot or steam milk in a way that's just hot enough, frothy, smooth and creamy to complement your espresso NOT overpower it. I wind up getting a lot of brewed coffee since there tends to be bit less of a chance of getting it wrong.

A cup o' jo from the local, greasy spoon that is mostly hot water with traces of brown color and coffee essence, maybe the grounds have even been "blessed" by the waters a second time to save on resources, will do the trick sometimes. I'll take that any day over a badly made espresso.

In my previous life I used to be a coffee jerk--I was the guy at the coffeehouse who made your double tall, 2 sweet n' low, sugar-free vanilla, low fat easy foam latte. I worked at a little place that few people had heard of at the time--Starbucks. I'm serious. When I started working for them they had two stores in all of Southern California and a kiosk in a grocery store (Von's Pavillions). They had not gone public yet, all baked good were provided from small, local artisan bakeries, there were very few drinks on the menu (no frappuccinos, sandwiches or even CD's).

At the time, you couldn't even write on the cup when making the drink. The person at the register who who took your order would call out the specifics to the barista. The barista would call the drink back and the way he/she positioned the cup on top of the bar was the "tell" as to what the drink was. The more detailed the drink order was, the more you and your co-workers had to be focused. It was a heady time for someone who loves coffee, all that goes into it and enjoys the way all things get crafted.

I was with Starbucks for over 8 years while I was trying to find my way in Los Angeles. L.A. and I have never really connected, but in the early days of being at Starbucks, there was a groove/stride that I hit when making the perfect drink that felt right in the moment.

Well, we all know what happened. Starbucks became a huge brand. You can now get a decent cup of coffee anywhere in the country including airport terminals and I have left my coffee making skills for the masses behind. I perform my barista skills in private now. Please, don't ask.

Now, getting a decent or a passionately made espresso drink, well--I choose small coffee houses. There are many great ones that I love and one of my faves happens to be located in Los Angeles; CAFFE LUXXE.

Seattle was definitely a sea of caffeine paradise for me. I had to pace myself. I was able to indulge my love for the nectar at many wonderful places.

Oh, and I had great meetings with COSTCO for future, exclusive roll outs of the angelo:HOME line as well as with AMAZON who will also carry angelo:HOME products. Very cool stuff!

Good times. See you soon Seattle. Save me a seat near the window and get the double shot cap ready and a butter croissant.


Tammi said...

The more I get to know about you-the more I love you. You have really earned your success. Btw, your pics from your iphone are incredible, always. Mine look like crap.

Julie said...

Angelo, I have been reading your blog for months now and with every little thing that I discover about you the more fascinating, interesting and charming I find you. This is a fantastic blog that not only inspires me but gives me a little insight on what takes to be successful at anything in life, lot's of hard work, passion, a great sense of humor, humility, kindness and a great cup of coffee. I am forever a fan.

Her Royal Highness said...

Bauhaus is one of my favorites, Angelo :) Vivace has great mochas and although Top Pot has started selling out, they still issue some seriously drool-worthy apple fritters.

I'm glad you enjoyed your stay!

Jilly said...

Great entry. Really good stuff. Who knew? Now we do. Thank you.

Dave said...

I'm glad you were able to enjoy many great cups of coffee in Seattle. Definitely a great place for caffeine addicts. Thank you for the insight on your past. Great story.

Concrete Ellicott City, MD said...

those coffees look so good!

<3 Lindsay

Fillian said...

Great coffee suggestions. I love all those places. I have to try Caffe Luxxe when I'm in L.A.

Your story about working at Starbucks was really great! Is there a book in your future? Keep us posted.

TK said...

You're selling to AMAZON and more at COSTCO! This is stupendous news. I shop with bot all the time and I can't wait to see more of your line at these places. This was a very good trip indeed. Coffee and business all combined beautifully. Way to go Mr. Surmelis.

mbkatc230 said...

Now this looks like my kind of business trip! And I could really use some of that go juice right about now. Can't wait to hear more about Costo/Amazon - they are lucky to be carrying your line. Kathy

....................... Related Posts with Thumbnails