I have decided to no longer blog here. I needed a break from talking/thinking about coffee a lot.

If you’d like, you can follow me on my new blogging adventure at North of Cogswell, a blog about living in Halifax, NS.

Cheers & Thanks for reading.

-Ceilidh

Cheers,

-Ceilidh

I’d like to let you all know that the winner for this bag of 49th Parallel coffee was comment number four (using random.org) which read:

Anna

I love coffee because it introduced me to my best friend forever! xo Happy Birthday Barista babe!!

Thanks to everyone who commented and to Zane at Two If By Sea for donating the coffee.

Cheers,

-Ceilidh

I am so excited to bring you an interview today from the lovely and babely Liz Bishop (Liz has been previously mentioned  here and here). Liz has been making coffee for quite a few years now and fills the role of Head Barista at Just Us! on Barrington st. Liz is just about the most amazing co-worker you could ever hope for! She works hard, doesn’t ever compromise coffee quality for anything else, laughs a lot and always picks great music. Liz also has the rare talent of talking to each and every customer as if she knows them, treating everyone equally as if they are an old friend of hers. Besides being rad to work with and having off the chart customer service skills Liz is also really, really passionate about coffee. She is constantly striving to learn more and I can always expect to hear about something new and exciting relating to coffee when I talk to Liz. She is also so fitted to her role as Head Barista – always keeping us accountable and expecting better things from each of her Baristas each time we step on bar. She also really instils  passion into each Barista and customer she talks too. Besides constantly inspiring me to be better at my own job Liz is always making me super tasty drinks and I can count on drinking amazing ‘spro with her on the daily!

Miss Liz Bishop

1. Tell me about yourself. What do you like to do when you aren’t making coffee?

I like imbibing things, especially coffee. Watching movies is pretty great too, especially while enjoying some tasty bevs. I also study Social Anthropology and Film Studies at the University of King’s College/Dalhousie/NSCADU. Sometimes I knit, play music, bike around town, take pictures, or cuddle with kitties. I also like to hang out with this guy, Ira. (He’s Cool.)

2. How did you get into coffee? Do you remember your first experience with coffee?

Like most Canadians Mr Horton provided my first introduction. blah. My parents weren’t really coffee drinkers so it was all on my own. When Just Us! moved into Wolfville things exploded from there and a few years later I was working there. That was almost seven years ago and the journey has been long but stupendous! I always look forward to new chapters.

3. How long have you been involved? Where have you worked? What is your role now?

After starting with Just Us in 2005 I have been a barista, head barista, assistant manager, interim manager and now I’m back to the position of  head barista. It is my favourite because I get to do what I love and show others how to do the same. I have gained some of my best friends from working on Barrington street and I hope to gain even more.

4. Why do you enjoy being a Barista? Why do you love what you do?

Besides the free tasty bevs and awesome people?  I love to share the experience of coffee with others and my job allows exploration into exponential possibilities of sensation. Coffee is Sexy.

5. What is your favourite drink to make? What about to drink?

Love to make Caps. For myself it depends on the day but nothing beats sinking my teeth into a delicious cap or mac. After taking a trip to California [ to attend camp Pull-A-Shot ] in October I fell in love with juicy pour overs, rich aeropresses, and most recently cascara tea! I always love trying new things.

6. What are you really excited about right now?

Austin Anderson, our director of Coffee at Just Us!, and his roasting team finally have an old/new Gothot up and running. I am excited to taste the results of all their hard work and I am glad to see Just Us! moving in this great direction of craft roasting. But I’m always excited about new things in coffee that it’s hard to pinpoint.

7. Do you have any favourite coffee memories?

Anytime someone makes a capp with just the right balance and texture I shudder with delight. Every time I walk into a cafe I haven’t been to and the baristas welcome me as if I had been coming there for years is an unbeatable sensation.  A recent experience at Pourquoi Pas in Montreal instilled something within me that baristas need to open cafes and if you have the passion you can do it on a shoestring. Oh yeah, the ultimate slew of memories from Camp Pull-A-Shot cannot be topped. It was there that I realized there is so much more to learn, that coffee is more fun than you will ever know and should always be shared. Puck yeah!

8. Any exciting plans for this year? 

Mexico, baby. Just Us! provides opportunities for people to visit one of their main coffee producing co-ops called UCIRI. This will be my first origin trip of many (hopefully). I’m even learning Spanish to help out! I would love to learn more about roasting with Austin and his team down in Grand Pre.

9. Any future plans involving coffee? 

Camp Pull-A-Shot is coming to the east coast this year! I feel disconnected way out here in atlantic Canada even with the wonderful passion and talent we have here already. Building a more diverse community with better opportunities for career barsitas and coffee professionals in the Maritimes would be a dream. A caffeine bike tour of the UK, the eastern states, and parts of Europe maybe. And at some point return to Brazil, when I was there eight years ago I was ignorant about their coffee. I’d like to go back and explore with the knowledge I have now.

10. Anything else to add?

Why don’t restaurants pay more attention to their coffee? In many places I feel it is poorly done and under appreciated. Most baristas are foodies too. Just sayin’.

 Liz hanging on Barrington St.

Thank you so much Liz for doing this interview and always continuing to inspire me!

Cheers,

-Ceilidh

PS Don’t forget- you could win a bag of coffee! Just check out my last post and leave a comment!

It’s Barista Babes Birthday!
Well – it was the blogs birthday a few weeks ago but I am just getting around to doing a ‘birthday’ post now!

I think this blog has taught me a lot this past year – as cheesy as that may seem.
When I thought about starting this blog it really just came to me and I was certain I wanted to give it a try.
In my life when I have an idea I know right from the get go if it’s a good one or not. Ideas usually come to me quickly, in a flash.
This is great, except that it usually means I am so excited about something in the beginning and  then that excitement usually fades.
I think that this did happen a little bit over here at Barista Babes, but a new year AND a first birthday (aww!) are a perfect time for fresh starts!

So – here is to another year of inspired and exciting blogging, a year of drinking good coffee, expanding my knowledge and vocabulary (and yours!) and always trying to be better at what I do.

To start off  I want to share a couple of links to my favourite posts from over the past year:

Loving what you do  (from last valentines day)

Babely Barista Interview, Marc Comeau (from last March)

I feel so lucky and happy to be involved in coffee and the coffee community in Halifax.
One of the reasons I started this blog was in an attempt to build a little more coffee culture in Halifax. I have no idea if Barista Babes did help in any way but I do know that my own sense of the community defiantly grew a lot.
Most Baristi want to chat about coffee, sometimes you just have to make the first step (something I learned big time this year).
As well most other people (non-baristi) are interested in learning and hearing about coffee if you are passionate and excited (something else I have experienced a lot).

I think as a Barista it’s all about little steps. It’s pretty much impossible to ‘convert’ a large vanilla latte drinker to a pour over drinker in a day. If you are willing to put in time and energy and share your passion with that customer or friend or parent you can make it happen ( or you can just buy them an aeropress and show them how amazing it is – like I did with my parents this Christmas!).

It’s the best feeling when someone tries a pour over or a shot of espresso for the first time and looks at you with that look in their eyes – they love it.

So, in honour of Barista Babes Birthday I am giving away a bag of coffee! You could be the lucky winner of a 12oz bag of Bolivian beans from 49th Parallel Coffee.

All you have to do is comment below and tell me what you love about coffee! Don’t forget to leave your email address so I can contact you!
I would like to say a huge thank you to Zane at Two if By Sea for providing this coffee!

Please note: this give away is only open to those of you living in Canada. I will be drawing a winner at random next Sunday, February 12th.

Cheers for now,

-Ceilidh

I still love coffee and I am still here!
I have been working as the Manager at my cafe now since May and it is busy.
I still have conversations about coffee all the time and drink coffee and think about coffee related things and then say to myself “I need to blog about that” but then I am tired.
I know – How am I tried with all this coffee consumption, you may wonder, but it is possible!
So – In an effort to cling on to my last hopes that anyone still reads my blog or thinks I care about it at all I am making you a little round-up of coffee things I have been excited about lately.
Here we go…

1. Parlour coffee and their tumblr.  I love looking at the photos on there!

2. Two if By Seas new location in Halifax! And the new website, which you can view here!

3.My new tamper from Reg Barber, thanks to Anna, who I have mentioned here and here. THANKS ANNA!!!! I would really recommend to any Baristi to try out as many tamps as you can and see what you like!! I realized that I really prefer a flat bottom tamper as opposed to a c-flat tamper! Who knew! I haven’t really done any research into what is “better”, this is just my personal preference! I find it more comfortable for some reason and way easier to have a consistent tamp. It’s all the little things that count… (incase you are interested this is the one I have!)

4. The new Ritual Kaliluni Peaberry from Kenya! Holy cow! Today Dan and I went to Two If By Sea to enjoy a Birthday espresso or two (Yay! It’s my Birthday!) and Zane asked us to try some of this truly amazing coffee they just got in! It tastes like Red Raspberry leaf tea and Oolong and its super juicy and refreshing!!!!! Go try it!

Coffee & Me.

5. Intelligentsia’s Black Cat Analog Espresso that Emma (who is a Barista at the Smiling Goat!) gave me for my Birthday. Dan made us stove-top espresso with it this morning and it was delish and SO chocolaty (anything chocolate is good in my books). I also love the shout out to Baristi on the bag, ” Full-bodied and well-rounded, this blend produces consistently sweet and chocolaty espressos that are a joy for the barista to calibrate and integrate perfectly with milk”. Yeah!!!

In other news, I am thinking about making some changes around the blog (one of the reasons for the long absence…  I have been doing a lot of thinking!) so you can look out for that in hopefully the next couple weeks!! I am glad to be back and feeling extra excited about coffee!

Cheers,

-Ceilidh

Hello!

On Saturday Dan and I went on a (over due) trip to Two if By Sea.
After talking to one of the Baristas there about the new espresso they are serving up, Ritual Roasters Coffee,  I knew it was time to go check it out!
Saturday was a beautiful day- crisp, sunny and perfectly fally. The ferry ride was beautiful and I worked on sewing in the ends on a cowl I just finished knitting.
Dan and I both ordered ‘Zane’s Macchiato Special”, which, incase you don’t know, consists of one shot of espresso and then a single macchiato to follow.
I really love that they have that on the menu there.
It was delish- I didn’t take photos or notes, but if you are an espresso lover I highly recommend going over and  checking out the Ritual they are serving up. I don’t believe that they are always pulling shots of Ritual as they still use the 49th parallel, but it’s worth checking!

I also picked up a bag of Ritual, La Folie Guatemala (nectarine, dried apple, berry juice) as recommended by Amir.

Here is a list of what I love about this coffee so far:
-The name
-The taste
-The package
-Their Story
-The Brew Guide on their website

So Good.

Dan made us homemade stove-top espresso”capps” (we use one of these stove top milk frother things we picked up at a kitchen store before either of us knew anything about coffee!) on Sunday morning, my first sip was so good. I automatically looked up at Dan and in my morning stupor (I am such a bad morning person and am so lucky to be married to a man who gets up and makes me coffee and breakfast in the mornings!) I said “this is really, really good coffee!”, Dan replied with “Yeah! These Capps are as good as some/many we have paid for!”. He was right. They were damn good! No bitterness at all, which I find can be really common in stove top espresso.

I also want to say welcome home to my good friend and fellow Barista Babe, Liz, who just got back from Camp Pull-A-Shot!


Yeah. She went to Barista Camp! In Santa Barbara! I am a bit jealous. Liz is feeling a bit under the weather right now, hopefully when she feels better she will give us a little update on here!

If you don’t know about Camp Pull-A-Shot you can read about it here.

Cheers!

-Ceilidh

I’ll admit… I haven’t actually drank that much Java Blend coffee since  I have lived in Halifax. It mostly had to do with the fact that when we first moved here we lived in the South End and it was pretty much just a convenience thing, I hate to admit it. Now I live in the North End (Awesome!) and Java Blend is almost my next door neighbour. I still haven’t physically got there a lot more but they are defiantly way more on my radar and I have been indulging in Java Blend a bit more frequently than before. Tonight while perusing their website I can across something AWESOME (forgive me if I am, like, the last person in Halifax to know about this)!
Java Blend is now offering seasonal bike delivery of their  coffees (to certain parts of Halifax).  I love this. Not only do I think it is adorable, but I think it is SMART too! I love smart stuff. It’s sustainable, it’s good for the employees and it’s just…. Awesome!

If you want to know all about it you can find out here.
This just gives me one more reason to love Halifax!!!

Cheers,

-Ceilidh

Recently my bff Anna moved to Toronto. This was a pretty sad affair for me, as you can imagine.
But, now she works in a pretty rad cafe called Te Aro and sends me awesome things in the mail like delicious coffees.
Recently she sent me a 1/4 lb of a Colombian (roasted by Te-Aro) that is the Cup Of Excellence 2011 winner. It cost me $20.oo (I actually haven’t paid her back yet…. Hey! That’s what friends are for!) when all the shipping and handling from there to here was said and done. It’s kinda a lot of money for ANYONE to spend on coffee….But it’s good, really good! I tried it as a pour over and am planning to share the rest with Dan tomorrow morning in the French Press… the rest of it has been shared with my coffee loving co-workers!
I am including a little chart from Te Aro on the tasting notes, as they can say it all way more eloquently then I ever could…

"The coffee" (I felt like you needed to see how small the bag is!!!)

Here’s the thing though. For me there are tonnes of coffees that are at a normal price point that I can get right here in Halifax, and they  are great! I love drinking the single origins from Just Us! I LOVE all of the Phil & Sebastian from Two If By Sea,  I love grabbing a bag of  49th Parallel from Steve-O-Reno’s (also, Have you checked out there website recently?!), And that I can get Intelligentsia at the Smiling Goat. PLUS we have amazing coffee being roasted right here in our own back yards (pretty much) at places like Java Blend. So as nice as it is to have a little experiment with coffee so expensive that actually drinking it is kinda scary, it will definitely stay that way for me, an experiment (….’Cause it could get pretty addictive and expensive if I don’t give myself these rules right now)!
Thanks to Anna (and Te Aro) for making to possible for me to taste this amazing coffee!!

Cheers,

-Ceilidh

I wanted to share a review of my blog that was written over at BlogLocal.
You can read the review here.

Thank you BlogLocal!!!

Cheers,

-Ceilidh

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