Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Go Team POLMERICA!!!!!

I spent the last week in Oslo, Norway attending the Nordic Barista Cup. There were 6 of us from the Poznan shop that were able to attend. I really wasn’t so sure about this trip when we decided to go. I mean, I like coffee, but I was far from being a coffee nerd. However, I made the commitment that I would learn whatever our coffee expert volunteer wanted to teach us. So, I left on this trip ready to try to learn and to be the one who keeps the energy high. The moment we stepped off of the tram in down town Oslo, until we stepped on it to leave, I was in heaven! Ok, maybe not exactly heaven, but it was wonderful! I saw a seagull, in the middle of the night while walking to find our hostel and I knew WATER!!!! The first day we had time to explore the city and we did! The opera house, the streets, the bay, it was all beautiful! And then the conference started. I realized I had no idea about coffee and what gourmet coffee was. I was taught how to do cupping, how to taste the differences between different roasts, beans, and such. It was an eye opening experience! I drank my first cappuccino without sugar! Yes, if it is a quality shot of coffee, you do not need sugar. And I have to say, Starbucks is not quality coffee. (I learned that too). Also, hearing from farmers and seeing the work it takes to actually get a coffee bean was impressive too. I never realized how much went into such a simple shot or cup of coffee. But, it was not all session of learning. We had a lot of fun too! Each night was a different amazing dinner in an amazing venue. Each night we ate wonderful Norwegian food. I had salmon, whale, moose, pine jelly, brown cheese, fresh crab, lobster, shrimp, scallops, and so much more. One of the dinners was a Harry Potter theme. It was amazing! The lodge they rented looked like something that could have been in the movie. And it was located on a mountain overlooking the city, right next to the massive Olympic ski jump venue. The sites were amazing! But, with all the amazing thing we learned, and saw, and did, there were 2 things from this trip that really stuck out-

First, I am in love with siphon coffee. Siphon’s are amazing they are so much fun to brew coffee. I really, really, really, need one of my own. I also learned what my favorite kind of coffee is. I tend to choose Kenyan coffee, or ones with the fruity flavor. Also, I was inspired to do coffee and dessert pairings. I can create menu items that go well with different coffees. I have become a barista chef! And I can inspire our team members with great stories about great coffee vs. the evil king starbucks!

Second, our staff at the Poznan Sweet Surrender has never been closer. We developed our own country! We became one team combining both cultures into one! Being away and learning together has grown us all. It seems we are all on the same page and wanting to jump full speed ahead into creating a higher quality shop. Gourmet coffee is scarce in Poland; our shop has the opportunity to be on the front line. So, if people in Poznan want gourmet coffee they must come to our shop. And when they come into our shop for great coffee they also get to experience our great love for Christ and each other! We had a brainstorming session about where we wanted to go after what we learned. The excitement coming from the 6 of us was overwhelming. We dream big! I am so glad that we had this chance to grow closer and the opportunity to bring positive change to our shop and our ministry!

Oslo was amazing! Go Team Polmerica!!! Where we are Polmericans that speak Polmerish! :)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Busy Doesn’t Even Begin To Describe It

I know it has been forever since I have updated anything. Life is CRAZY BUSY!!! I have not had a moment to stop since the Krakow W & W Trip. The shop has become busy! And that is great! Our business has sky rocketed compared to what we were doing before. What a blessing that is!

We lost our cook! Our volunteer kitchen manager had to return home to take care of family business. So, this left a hole in our shop that needed to be filled. I was asked to fill it. I am now not only in charge of Outreach I am also head cook and menu planner. The funny thing is that I have been spending so much time trying to avoid being in the kitchen and now I am running it! I now have mixed emotions about this job. I don’t mind doing it, but with everything going on it seems I spend all day in the kitchen, which is not where I want to be. I am also training one of our volunteers how to do the basic menu food. He’ll get it all learned just in time for us to change the menu for fall!

This weekend we had a special treat! We had 3 couples from Nampa, Idaho come visit us. The Neils, Stallcops, and Hulls. It was great to have them here. Especially the Neils because they are practically family! With their help we hosted a proper High Tea Party. We had a great turn out of women and we even had a news crew show up! We were advertised on the local news! I had the joy of preparing the food for the Tea Party- everything from sandwiches, to shortbread, to yogurt parfait to panna cotta. But everything turned out perfect! And our Sweet Surrender staff stepped up and pulled of an amazing event! Plus our guest servers from Nampa were perfect!

As we head into September we are expecting to continue getting busier and busier. Business is beginning to take off! And I am ready to face head on any new challenge that is brought to me in the kitchen!

Work & Witness To Krakow

Back in August I got the privilege to head up a work and witness team from my home church. My parents and my wonderful friend Shantel came a few days early and joined me in Poznan. I got to show them my church and my city! I loved having all three of them squished into my tiny little apartment. I think the greatest thing about it was that I got to show them my life here in Poland, the sites, sounds, people, and food I am surrounded by everyday. After a very short time of touring we hopped a sleep train to Krakow, where we met up with the rest of the team.

In Krakow we began the process of transforming an office space into a coffee shop. There was a lot of busting holes and trenches into the cement floor and brick walls. All of this had to be done so my Dad could do all of our plumbing. We had to design the bar and where the client bathroom would be. Plus the entire kitchen set up. It was a lot of long days of hard work. We ended up finishing most of the plumbing, all of the electricity, most of the bar, the tables, most of the painting, and the furniture bought.

But, all work and no play is not the way I do things! So, after each day of hard work I took the team to a different spot in the city to explore. We saw Schindler’s factory, the Jewish district, Auschwitz, Wawel Castle, the Old Square, and other random parts of Krakow. It was great to have my friends from home here. I loved sharing my life and my passion for Poland with them. The team was great! They all worked hard and stayed positive. However, I think them being so great made the distance a little harder on me. It’s hard to see and hear what you are missing. It would be nice to be able to have both worlds together all the time!