Out of the Box Berkeley

Roger instructing the espresso machine maintenance clinic.

Out of the Box was a two-day coffee event for professionals and enthusiasts to check out the latest at La Marzocco.  Participants got to see the company’s current product line, find out about new technologies in portafilter baskets and grinders, and learn how to maintain their machines.  Top local roasters including Verve, Ecco, and Four Barrel were also on hand pulling shots on La Marzocco’s new Strata espresso machine.  As a volunteer, I got a chance to barback for the staff at Blue Bottle, which was a treat since I got to meet James Freeman, the owner.  I credit him for popularizing a lot of Japanese coffee techniques in the States—particularly the siphon (my new fascination).  We had an engaging conversation about Japanese coffee culture (which I write about in the February issue of Barista Magazine). If an Out of the Box comes to a location near you, I recommend attending and–if you’re really interested in getting the insider’s perspective on the coffee business–volunteering.

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