Thursday, July 29, 2010

Examiner Happy Hour was a Success!

The recent Examiner Happy Hour at Opal's Marina was a rousing success partially due to my own efforts but largely due to the support of my Twitterfriends who tweeted about the event relentlessly for me in the week leading up to last Tuesday's event. Thank you to each of you for taking the time to spread the word.

Opal's are great people to work with for a happy hour because they have Carol Hickey handling all those arrangements and their Twitter account. I simply rang her up, told her what I needed and she took care of speaking to the manager, booking the room in the back and so on.

The primary reason for this post is to highlight all the support I received trying to spread the word about the event to folks. To do this, I decided to try Keepstream (beta version) created by Jim England who describes the application like this on his blog:

Hashtags on Twitter are AWESOME; they can organize tweets around a particular topic. However, the value of a hashtag lies in the "here and now". If I search for #sllconf during or right after the event, I get tons of sweet content. However, searching for #sxsw in June gives you a wasteland of useless tweets... all the cool stuff was from March, when the event was happening.

Enter Keep Stream: A collection of tweets that can be "kept together" to tell a story. I imagine this will be used for real-life events, news stories, and twitter conversations. Think of it as a way to preserve and organize the best of the real-time web.

Check out the collection. I'm curious what y'all think of it and Jim's product.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Roaster's Paradise: Austin's Kohana Coffee

This morning my friend and coffee lover, Piper Jones invited me to tour Kohana Coffee's roasting facility located in South Austin. Piper is responsible for Operations & Roasting at the small, locally-owned quality coffee bean roaster. Her love of coffee, the process of roasting the beans and her PASSION for her trade is part of what makes Kohana stand apart from the crowd. It was Piper's enthusiasm about drinking coffee on Twitter which got my own taste buds curious.

I consider myself a bit of a foodie which was inevitable considering my parents adventurous nature regarding culinary explorations. When I began noticing friends on Twitter here in Austin commenting on the fine coffee they were buying called Kohana, I took notice. Eventually I became friendly with Piper via Twitter and we met in person at Lani & Ben Rosales' fantastic Big Ass Twitter Happy Hour a few months back.

Piper and I became fast friends because of our common love of food, our shared experiences in marketing and because she's the most likable person you'd ever hope to meet. Positive energy radiates from her and you generally just want to give her hug when she's around. What's more, she's responsible for producing some of the best roasted coffee beans I've had. Ever.

Touring the roasting facility was fascinating because of the attention to detail required to produce the high-quality beans that Kohana is known for. Piper is constantly checking the beans for quality, color and consistency throughout the roasting process. She also records the time, temperature and yield for each batch of beans that are roasted. At Kohana, each batch is roasted to order, weighed, sorted into bins and then carried into the shipping office where Nate and Matt are hard at work packing the beans into bags for shipment to their customers all over the country.

Check out the TwitVid of the roaster going full-steam below. Kohana Coffee will be handing out FREE samples of their beans at the Examiner Happy Hour on Tuesday, July 27th. See details at the top right sidebar. Connect with Greg Ackerman here.

Piper's enthusiasm for the process was contagious and in no time, I was eagerly sorting through the beans looking for defects and pouring raw beans into the roaster.

Piper even has this amazing chart to gauge the different flavors one tastes during the roasting process as shown below.

Kohana gets their coffee from all over the world