|Photo courtesy Sprudge.com|
Lorenzo Perkins is what you might call a star barista. While working at Caffe Medici, he ranked as one of the five finalists in the 2011 National Barista Competition. And last year he won the 2012 South Central Regional Barista Competition. As the director of science and education at local roaster Cuvee Coffee, he develops flavor profiles, experiments with brewing technology and teaches the art of coffee. And since Cuvee has opened its first retail space earlier this week, Perkins has been even busier. Check out his Friday schedule:
6:30 - 8:00 Wake up, make coffee and commute out to the office in Spicewood.
8:00 - 8:15 Settle in to the lab. I fire up the coffee brewing equipment, open coffee bags and do some general cleaning, not unlike opening up a coffee bar for the day. In fact, the lab functions not only as our research center but as a training center and the coffee and espresso bar for everyone who works at the roasting facility and office.
8:15 - 8:17 Drink coffee. Enjoy the moment.
8:17 - 9:30 The rest of the production crew arrives and sets up. Clancy, our head roaster, is always in the office before me, and they set up the morning’s cupping. That is just a fancy word for coffee tasting, but it does adhere to strict protocols as set forth by the Coffee Quality Institute. It's mainly for quality assurance but also helps immensely with palate development, which is why our cuppings are open to the public on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
9:30 - 10:30 E-mails, e-mails and more e-mails.
10:30 - Noon Work on existing projects, one of the more exciting parts of my job. These past few weeks it has been a combination of opening our first retail location, so hiring, training, ordering, and worrying about all of the small details. We've also been building out an area in our facility for brewing and kegging our unique iced coffee, and we’re preparing for the onslaught of SXSW mania.
Noon - 1:30 Time to get geeky. I pull out the VST Refractometer, an optical measuring device, and start manipulating brew variables and developing strategies for more conscientious and consistent execution of well-crafted coffee, building the things I learn into my training curriculum and ensuring that the rest of our staff and customers can stay up to date with brewing technologies.
1:30 - 2:30 I have consumed too much coffee and am now feeling the effects. I grab a sloppy burger and fries from Poodie’s, down the street.
2:30 - 3:00 Tidy up the lab in preparation for the training class tomorrow. I've created several tiers of coffee training, including multiday courses, advanced espresso instruction and half-day milk and latte art classes, all available to anyone who is interested in learning to craft extraordinary coffee.
3:00 - 5:30 Head into town. Sometimes I'll make personal deliveries of kegs, coffee or equipment. Other times it is just to catch up or plan for upcoming events or collaborations, like Sputnik, the coffee stout we made with the awesome guys at Austin Beerworks.
5:30 - 6:30 Fight Austin traffic to get home to my wife and four-year-old daughter.
6:30 - 7:30 Eat the delicious dinner my wife has prepared. Since it is Lent, we are trying to avoid meat, especially on Fridays, but thankfully the farmers markets are full of great produce this time of year. I still sneak some great meat from the talented butchers at Salt and Time. Salami!
7:30 - 10:00 Bedtime for the little one, and then we usually get an episode or two of something from Netflix. Lately it's been American Horror Story and rewatching Star Trek: Voyager. Nerd alert.
10:00 Bedtime for us.