I attended a Mad Hatter Tea Party at LAMILL on Tuesday morning. Local area coffee shop owners were invited from around the city, coffee enthusiasts and LAMILL patrons as well. It was delightful. The macaroons were scrumptious as well as gorgeous to photograph. They make me want to be a food photographer. The light was simply marvelous, don't you think?
There were miles of warm, fresh out-of-the-fryer beignets for the taking. I've spoken of my LAMILL beignet love before but I learned that they use McCallan scotch *jaw drops to floor* in their butterscotch sauce. Be. Still. My. Heart! Lemon curd and chocolate are other options. I'll stick with scotch thank you very much.
The Sun wrote a great article about Baltimore's up and coming coffee scene that morning. All of the people mentioned in the article were at this event. Kris Fulton, our host from LAMILL, ran the demo and a latte art contest.
Becka started off teaching how the V60 worked and it's benefits. The V60 is the white porcelain single serving drip cone photographed. I gave one to E. for Christmas and he proceeded to then buy the glass container below and the uber fancy water pot for perfect pouring. I may have rolled my eyes just a tiny bit regarding his obsession but do think it is cool that my Charlie loved coffee before coffee was cool.
It is always a pleasure to see our friend and lovely Allie Caran. The Sun article boasted of her new shop that is opening in March called Artifact. We couldn't be more tickled that it is less than a mile away from our home. She's holding my addiction, LAMILL jasmine pearls in this photo. They sell it loose and boxed in tea bags. I've gone through a minimum of five boxes since Thanksgiving. The floral notes are to die for and just make me feel like I'm on vacation during my afternoon tea break. I've even polished my silver and pulled out my good china to drink this decadent tea. (Charlie deserves an eye roll facing my way.) You can see the V60's lining the community table behind Allie. My darling Charlie would have been in coffee bliss. They are having free coffee clinics a few Saturday's at LAMILL beginning at 10:00 am so we can go back my darling, with pleasure.
There was a syphon brew method demonstration as well. This is the coolest little contraption. You can see the blue flame of the Bunsen burner heating up the last bit of water that rises through the top of the syphon. It's a dramatic finish when the coffee filters back down into the bulb.
In my earlier post I neglected to photograph a key element of the Four Seasons' LAMILL espresso machine. It was custom made for the hotel at Espresso Parts in Washington State. Rumor has it this little baby was upwards of $40K.
Jay Caragay, owner of Spro Hampden, was also in tow with Lindsay, now at LAMILL. We met Becka and Lindsay when they were working at Spro when it first opened nearly four years ago. There was a wonderful sense of kinship at this party and many spoke of this video I neglected to add a few days ago.
Hilarious, but they forgot the part where they talk about latte art competitions.
Lindsay, Jay, Allie and Becka....awwwww!
March Madness it wasn't but there was a little Barista Bowl that morning. Kris invited the visiting barista's to a latte art challenge. There were only 15 hands and 16 were needed. Who do you think volunteered?
Me! Ha! and I pulled the number two spot so had to go FIRST! WHAT WAS I THINKING?
Adrienne from Charmington's and I went head to head in the battle of the barista's. Kris pulled the shots and actually even steamed my milk. Allie gave me a ten second refresher course and encouraged me that shaking makes it better.
I may have been shaking a bit taking this fuzzy photo.
We had our choice of cups which were warm on the resting station of the machine. I LOVE that my camera caught the drips of espresso eking out of the fancy dancy machine.
Adrienne had cup A.
I was the proud owner of cup B. The vote was (11) for A and...wait for it...(10) for me. I lost by one point! I was so excited. The variations were good and I was told I had great contrast. My heart was upside down and not symmetrical. I am totally okay with that. As @WitWisdomTavern put it
@Baltiville nice try! No risk, no glory!! #madhatter.
It was such a blast doing something totally out of my comfort zone. It was great to be part of it.
One of Eric's buds, Diane, from Spro was also there. I introduced myself to her as, "Eric's wife". No one knows me at coffee shops unless I remind them that I'm Eric's wife.
The competition rolled out in four rounds. It was crazy fun to watch the different designs come out from behind the bar. They were created blindly so we didn't know until afterwards who the artist was. I loved Becka's funky pine and heart.
I can't remember who belonged to this one but think it was Allie. Correct me if I'm wrong please guys.
Didn't take good notes, but Becka won this one since she went on to the next round.
I wish I wrote down who owned what cup. Both were so gorge.
Allie got third, Becka (beating her boss Kris-you go girl) got second and Linsdaybarista's were hurt during this competition.
The prizes were hip as hell too; vinyl records, an E.T. board game, and Grease on VHS! LAMILL even gave all the participants gift bags with coffee, caramels and other special treats.
Thank you LAMILL for hosting such a lovely gathering and inviting little ole me. Allie, thanks for the fun ten second latte class. I'm looking forward to our behind the scenes tour of Artifact. To all of our coffee buds, thanks for treating me like I'm part of your fold, even if it was for mere seconds. I'm buying whole milk to practice at home.