La Marzocco Cafe News – October: Thank-you Counter Culture and Intelligentsia Preview

It’s been an incredible summer at the La Marzocco Café, and our friends at Counter Culture Coffee helped send summer off in the best way. They began by showing our guests Southern hospitality with a launch party full of North Carolina BBQ, beer and all the sides. The La Marzocco crew had a great time mingling with guests as well as the good people of Counter Culture.

ccc launch party

Brian Ludviksen (left), with La Marzocco USA President Joe Monaghan and Counter Culture President Brett Smith (right).

From Q&A’s to their “Tastings at 10” each week, Counter Culture brought the classroom to the cafe and both our staff and guests benefited by being able to taste coffees and hear what makes each of them special. Their weekly “Champ’s Corner” has been an incredible opportunity for us to learn about the processing, varieties, and flavors of coffee, taught by some of specialty coffee’s biggest Champs. We’d like to extend a huge thank-you to everyone at Counter Culture who worked so hard to make this residency a success!


Next up, we have the privilege of hosting Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea, a company La Marzocco has been working with since they began more than 20 years ago, as our next Roaster in Residence! For the month of October, guests will be able to taste Intelligentsia’s coffees and teas and experience their impeccable service.

intelligentsia coffee bags

Photo Credit: Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea

Intelligentsia began in 1995 as an in-store coffee roaster-retailer in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, operating with just a 12-kilogram roaster. Over the past 21 years they have grown from their original shop to now having 10 unique coffeebars in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City, three roasting works with over 600 wholesale accounts, and training labs in New York and Atlanta.

intelligentsia coffee cup

Photo Credit: Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea

Direct Trade has become somewhat of a specialty coffee industry standard, and Intelligentsia was truly a pioneer of this movement. Cumulatively, their buyers spend 365+ days a year working alongside farmers in origin countries. Many of the coffees Intelligentsia procures are exclusive to Intelligentsia. Intelligentsia pays its coffee-producing partners higher prices than prices regulated by Fair Trade standards, with the goal of improving farmers’ lives; improving infrastructure and quality-of-life in coffee-producing communities; and improving growing and production practices to yield higher-quality coffee. All of this work and investment is reflected in every cup enjoyed by the consumer.

intelligentsia coffee and espresso

Photo Credit: Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea

While at the La Marzocco Cafe, Intelligentsia will be hosting a party celebrating their 21st birthday. Details will follow, but we hear there are plans for a cocktail competition, pizza and beer! Each week a special guest from Intelligentsia will be teaching classes on their practices, and on coffee and tea. The menu will include an extensive tea program from Intelligentsia’s team company, Kilogram Tea. Make sure to follow along on the cafe’s Instagram and Twitter as we’ll be posting more information about these events throughout Intelligentsia’s residency.

Again, we want to thank Counter Culture for a super month and for all the effort that went into making their residency a great one. To close their residency, current US Barista Champion and Counter Culture mainstay, Lem Butler will be serving his specialty drink in the Champ’s Corner. The full Counter Culture menu will be available through September 26th.

Event details: Columbus and Detroit


Earlier this week, we announced a new event series, which will take place in Columbus, Ohio on November 15 and in Detroit, MI on November 17.

Today, we’re excited to share a little bit more about the format for these events.

We’re also thrilled to announce that we will be partnering with our friends at Cafe Imports in both Columbus and Detroit.

We’ve put together a program that will enable people to come-and-go as they please, joining for the portions of the events that interest them the most.



Morning & Early Afternoon – before 3pm

During the day, La Marzocco Home will be offering hands-on demonstrations, open house time, and barista basics classes for people who want to learn more about how to make great espresso at home. They’ll be sharing more about their agenda and the classes offered in the coming weeks.

Sign up for Espresso Basics Class – Columbus

Sign up for Espresso Basics Class – Detroit

Afternoon (3:00-6:00)

In the mid-afternoon, we’ll get started with presentations. Presentations will begin at 3:00 and conclude at 6:00, with six speakers presenting in each city. Our earlier blog post talked a bit about the format for these presentation.

If you have an idea and would like to apply to be a presenter, please tell us more about it in this application form.

Throughout the afternoon, Cafe Imports will be providing tastings of some of their fresh crop coffees, so make sure to stop by to see what’s new from their offerings.

Evening (6:00-7:30)

As the presentations wind down, we’ll be offering bites and beer for people to enjoy as we transition to live recorded sessions of the Café Imports Opposites Extract podcast. If you’re not already familiar with it, Opposites Extract is a weekly show featuring some of the brightest lights in the specialty coffee, aimed to raise different perspectives about various topics in the industry — but without raising blood pressures. The podcast follows a debate-club style format, with sides (pro/con) assigned by random coin toss, and co-hosts Joe Marrocco and Meister from Café Imports take turns facing off against a different guest debater each week. Like all great debates, the episodes don’t end with a win or loss, but hopefully with the continuation of a fresh and open-minded conversation. You won’t want to miss this live edition.

Later (7:30-9:00)

Stick around for the closing event – a BYOV (bring your own vessel) latte art battle to close the day. If you’d like to participate, be sure to bring along a vessel into which you will pour your latte art. There is only one rule: the vessel cannot be something you would normally eat or drink out of. So, no coffee cups, cereal bowls, etc. Prizes will be awarded for the top three finishers and/or whomever brings the most creative vessel!

To summarize, the schedule for each event will be as follows:

Daytime: La Marzocco Home classes and demonstrations
3:00-6:00 PM Presentations
3:00-6:00 PM Cafe Imports Fresh Crop Tastings
6:00-6:30 PM Happy (Half) Hour, with bites & beer
6:30-7:30 PM Opposites Extract Live
7:30-9:00 PM BYOV Latte Art Battle

Make sure you register to join us; there is no cost to attend, but space is limited.

For those considering joining us from areas outside of Columbus and Detroit, we are working to set up a group rate at hotels in the area. When we have more information on lodging, we will post it here, and on the Eventbrite registration pages linked below.

Columbus, Ohio – November 15, 2016
The Vue
95 Liberty Street
Columbus, OH 43215

Hotel details: Fairfield Inn & Suites (near OSU campus) @ $137 per night. Deadline for booking is 10/31.

Detroit, MI – November 17, 2016
Ladder 4 Detroit
3396 Vinewood
Detroit, MI 48208

Hotel details: Double Tree Suites. Deadline for special rate is now closed.

Fall Event Series: Columbus and Detroit


La Marzocco continues to understand the value of bringing the coffee community together in the spirit of sharing knowledge, and fostering discovery. Knowledge-sharing, and the discussion of ideas makes all of us better: it makes us better professionals, helps us collectively push the industry forward, and helps bring more people into the fold of coffee discovery. Our commitment to this idea is the reason you’ll see us investing in organizations and activities that provide platforms for discussion and discovery – places like BGA Camp, the MANE Conference, and East Coast Coffee Madness in Montreal.

Today we’re excited to announce a new event series, grounded in the idea of knowledge-sharing and discovery. We hope this new event series can serve as a platform for baristas to present ideas, experiences, and explorations in coffee to the specialty coffee community, for the purpose of challenging and inspiring one another.

We’re beginning with two events that will take place in November; based on feedback from attendees, we’ll evolve the concept and hope to bring more of these events to additional cities in 2017.

The first two events will take place in November, in two cities with burgeoning specialty coffee communities: Columbus, Ohio (November 15), and Detroit, Michigan (November 17).

We’ve developed a format for these events that we hope will encourage presenters to bring their best ideas, and also give them the opportunity to make attendees part of the experience.

For those familiar with barista competitions, this format will seem similar. Presenters will be provided with a workstation equipped with two tables, an espresso machine, and two espresso grinders. The barista can use the station however they choose, and they will have 15 minutes to present. From there, the presentations, and how they are presented completely depart from the competition format.

Presentations will not be limited in how each presenter uses the equipment, or the types of beverages that are prepared, or who (and how many!) people are served during the presentation. Our goal is to provide a forum where the barista is in full control of the experience and the ideas they want to share. Making beverages is not even a requirement, should a presentation stand on its own without a sensory experience.

Our hope is that this event series becomes the place for things like experimental extraction theories, coffee brewer hacks, delicious signature beverages (coffee-forward or not!), special process coffees, and just about any other idea someone wants to share with the community. Our hope is that coffee-curious people can take this opportunity to share the things they are passionate about, and hopefully in the process, we all might come away having learned something new, or having been challenged in some way.

If you’re curious about this new format, we hope you’ll join us. If you have an idea, a special coffee, or an experience you would like to share, we look forward to hearing from you. Later this week we will be announcing more details about how to attend the events, and how to submit your idea for consideration to be presented at these inaugural events.

Stay tuned!

If you have an idea and would like to apply to be a presenter, please tell us more about it in this application form.


See you at the New York Coffee Festival


La Marzocco is excited to participate in the second edition of the New York Coffee Festival. September 16-18, we will be on site at the 69th Regiment Armory for a weekend of espresso and coffee celebration.

The New York Coffee Festival is an exciting event, as it is consumer facing, giving ourselves and our partners the opportunity to spread the good word of specialty coffee to the masses. This year, we’ll be doing this in two ways; the La Marzocco Home DIY Experience Bar and the True Artisan Cafe.


DIY Experience Bar

For those curious to learn more about the craft of making espresso, La Marzocco Home is running a hands-on Experience Bar, giving attendees the opportunity to learn the steps to making espresso on a La Marzocco GS3 and Linea Mini. For many, this is the first opportunity to get hands-on with an extraction method that is usually experienced from the other side of a counter in a cafe or coffee shop.

The La Marzocco Home Experience Bar will feature four home espresso machines—two Linea Minis and two GS3s, and will feature coffees from Counter Culture Coffee, Toby’s Estate, Gregory’s Coffee, Joe NYC, and Blue Stone Lane throughout the weekend.


The True Artisan Cafe

La Marzocco machines are nothing without great roasted coffee. Throughout the weekend, stop by and try espresso drinks made by some of the best coffee roasters New York has to offer.

Our roasting partners will be sharing delicious blends, single origin coffee, and creative espresso drinks. See the schedule at the end of this post to know when to stop by for your favorites.


Strada AV

The True Artisan Cafe will feature the newly released, newly available Strada AV. This machine features the forward-thinking La Marzocco electronics platform, giving baristas easy-to-navigate, precision control of the volume of water to flow through an extraction.

The Strada AV is also the first espresso machine to feature our all-new Pro Touch steam wand. This new steam wand stays cools to the touch, without compromising steam quality or volume.

No matter how big the crowds get at the New York Coffee Festival, the Strada AV will be the machine to help our baristas make consistent, delicious drinks with ease.



Our Partners

Thank you to Counter Culture whose staff will be guiding folks through our Experience Bar. We also want to thank all of the following for taking a part in the True Artisan Cafe. (The most current True Artisan Cafe schedule is also listed.)

Intelligentsia Coffee (Friday, 1:45-3:45)
The Pulley Collective (Friday, 1:45-3:45)
Stumptown Coffee Roasters (Saturday, 9:45-11:30)
La Colombe (Saturday, 9:45-11:30)
Parlor Coffee (Saturday, 11:45-1:15)
Irving Farm (Saturday, 11:45-1:15)
Coffee Labs 
Super Crown Coffee (Saturday, 1:30-3:00)
Gotham Coffee (Saturday, 3:15-4:45)
Toby’s Estate
Gregory’s Coffee
Ceremony Coffee (Sunday, 9:45-11:30)
George Howell (Sunday, 9:45-11:30)
Ninth Street (Sunday, 11:45-1:30)
Square One (Sunday, 11:45-1:30)
Green Street (Sunday, 1:30-3:30)
Third Rail Coffee (Sunday, 1:30-3:30)
Blue Stone Lane

Photo Menu: Counter Culture Coffee

A week ago we welcomed Counter Culture Coffee, headquartered in Durham, NC to the La Marzocco Cafe with a launch party inspired by their home state. La Marzocco and Counter Culture have been long-time partners and we couldn’t be happier to host them in our space. The beautiful blue 2-Group La Marzocco Linea PB that we’ll be using at the cafe this month will eventually find a permanent home when Counter Culture opens their Seattle Training Center later this year. Counter Culture has an exciting month planned, read on for the highlights:


In addition to their incredible lineup of coffees, Counter Culture’s menu includes Rishi Teas, affogatos made with Salt and Straw ice cream, and three North Carolina inspired pastries from The London Plane: Toasted Pecan and Bourbon Shortbread, Pimento Cheese Pies and Buttermilk Cornbread with a kick of cayenne and pepper.


Counter Culture’s Conception Huista is a coffee that comes from the high mountains of Western Guatemala and is one of the most highly-anticipated coffees from Central America that they offer. The coffee has notes of fruit and nougat that finishes with a syrupy mouthfeel and is served mainly as espresso or with milk drinks, but is also great as a made-to-order drip. “The Warm Up” which is a trio of sparkling water, espresso, and a cappuccino, is a perfect way to sample this coffee.


Idido is the main coffee on Counter Culture’s menu for drip and iced drinks. Counter Culture has been purchasing this coffee from the Idido Cooperative, located near the town of Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia, and has been working with farmers there to prepare special selections for a decade. This coffee happens to be a fan favorite, and sports its own Instagram following! Try it as drip, or in Counter Culture’s flash-brewed iced coffee.


Taza Chocolate is a company based in Somerville, MA that produces unrefined, stone-ground chocolate and is the partner of choice for Counter Culture’s mocha. Staff at the La Marzocco Cafe will be making a chocolate syrup in-house using this distinct and bittersweet chocolate.


During their Residence, Counter Culture will have a special menu called “Champs Corner.” The featured drink each week will be inspired by the winner of one of six international coffee competitions – each with ties to, or employees of Counter Culture. For the first week of their Residence, Seattle’s own Laila Ghambari of Cherry Street Coffee, and USBC 2014 Champ was here to serve up her winning signature drink “The Cherry on Top.”


Counter Culture’s award-winning team members take over from Laila. Next up we have Erin McCarthy, 2013 World Brewers Cup Champ serving his Finca El Puente or Finca Nuguo Flights. Then, guests will get to sample “The Champagne of Coffee,” USBC 2013 Champ Katie Carguilo’s signature drink. Finally, the current USBC Champ, Lem Butler will be here serving his Southernplayalysticcadillac Coffee! This is an exceptional opportunity to taste coffees grown and prepared by some of the world’s best. These drinks will be prepared slowly on our back bar and are meant to be a very special coffee experience. If you see a trophy on the front counter, the beverage will prepared by that week’s Champ! All proceeds from the Champs Corner drinks will benefit KEXP.

We can’t wait to see you this month at the La Marzocco Cafe! For more specific information about each Champ’s drink and to see Counter Culture’s full menu please follow this link.