Some musings to welcome 2012

A new year has arrived! Did you wake up this morning feeling much different than yesterday (and I’m not just talking about a post-party hangover)? For some people, the new year is a time to reflect and make big plans for the year. It’s a chance to start over again with a fresh slate. For me, the calendar changes, but not much else.

Remembrances and Predictions

One year ago today, I posted a review of the Spunky Monkey, one of Portland’s quirkiest and weirdest hippie cafes. I don’t know if the café made it into the upcoming season of Portlandia, but it would certainly fit right in.

The past year was full of news of economic stagnation, natural disasters (especially the major Japanese earthquake), and an Arab spring which captured the world’s attention. We saw the end of several dictators in 2011 (hooray!), but with their demise came uncertainty about what the future holds. Hopefully whatever replaces them will be an improvement.

Most of the world economy is still struggling along and in the US, many people are out of work or working bad jobs just to get by.  Optimistic economists say things are going to get a little better in 2012, but it will be a slow grind upward. Europe is going to have a hard year. The effects of European austerity measures will be on display for all to see.

In the US, 2012 is going to be a busy year. If you haven’t heard there is a presidential election coming up. I predict that Obama narrowly defeats Romney for the presidency, and those in power will continue to avoid making important decisions unless a catastrophe is imminent. Feel free to share your own predictions.

Coffee in PDX

The upcoming year will be a big one for coffee in Portland. For a few days in April, the specialty coffee world will revolve around the Rose City (then again, doesn’t it already?). The SCAA is holding its annual gathering at the Convention Center from April 12-17. Around town, you might see more coffee nerds than usual discussing the finer points of various brewing methods or arguing over which espresso machine has the best technology.   

The US Barista Championship coincides with the convention, so the best of the country’s best baristas will be in town. It will be fun to see how Portland’s finest stack up with the rest of the country. My prediction? One of Portlands’s best (Sam Purvis, Ryan Willbur or Laila Ghambari, perhaps?) will bring home the national championship and go on to represent the US at the World Barista Championship in Vienna, Austria.


I don’t like resolutions that much, but I’m going to make one anyway. First, I want to get back to posting more regularly. The last few months, the number of posts have decreased significantly. I sat down to write the other day and remembered how much I enjoy the writing process, so I want to do more of that this year.

Lately, I’ve been focusing on preparing our next Harada Method course, coming up January 16th-18th (there are still slots available). We have reworked the training materials to give them a better flow and make them more professional. My spare time has also been filled with hours of guitar practice. My goal is to have an hour-long show prepared by June 1st. After that, the onus will be on me to find a place to perform it. The thought of performing makes me nervous, but each day I convince myself a bit more that I can do it. Actually doing it will be a big victory.

Do you have any big plans for the year? Something exciting like traveling around the world or starting a new career project?


Over the last year, I met a lot of interesting people and learned a lot about coffee.  It was fun to share these coffee adventures with you. Thanks for reading, and have a great 2012.