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apple spoken here : Marcos Weiss' depiction of the Redman House


Coffeemaking lessons at Verve and an apple gala at the Redman House

By Amber Turpin

Out of pure generosity, and to spread the word on how good coffee can be when treated well, Verve Coffee Roasters in Pleasure Point (816 41st Ave., at Portola) hosts a special Saturday morning siphon brewing demonstration and tasting. This scientific technique, thought up in the 1840s, hails from Japan and is now resurfacing as one of the most cutting-edge methods among cult coffee aficionados. The process employs a Bunson burner (in Japan they generally use ultramodern infrared light burners), water, the two-part glass siphon, a wet towel and, of course, coffee. Once the water comes to a boil in the lower glass globe, it is siphoned up into the upper cylinder. Ground coffee is added, stirred a bit, timed, and then the wet towel is wrapped around the bottom of the globe. The cooling temperature creates a vacuum that lets the liquid back down through a small filter to create the finished product: a cup of delicious, precisely prepared coffee. Currently, despite the siphon resurrection in Japan, the only one available for purchase here in the states is a Taiwanese knock-off. Black market goods may make an appearance now and then, but for the moment, quench your curiosity at Verve. Also, every Wednesday at 11am, stop by the shop for a lesson on cupping, the noisy method of breaking down coffee flavor profiles that is to the roaster what wine slurping is to the winemaker. (; 831.475.7776)

The Redman-Hirahara House in Watsonville is reviving the Apple Annual gala for the first time since 1910 this Sunday, Oct. 12, 2-5pm. The event aims to promote the preservation of this historic property and raise money toward "The Plan" to ultimately make the space a visitor center, wine tasting room, demonstration farm and 1890s homestead model. Originally, the Apple Annual was held as a harvest celebration honoring the dominant agricultural crop in the Pajaro Valley at the time. The inaugural event featured over 2 million apples from 15 surrounding counties that were used for gigantic apple-themed structures and displays. The weeklong party was hugely successful until World War 1 quashed all the fun. This year, bring the glamour back by enjoying the Apple Annual 2008 through food, wine, live and silent auctions and entertainment. Tickets ($50) available at

On Sunday, Sept. 28, the local food world (and a hula dance troupe) came together to support Patricia Rain, the Vanilla Queen. Aside from the goal to raise funds for her cancer treatment and recovery, another requisite of the day was that all food items had to contain vanilla. Some wonderful dishes to note were: Vanilla-braised smoked pork tenderloin crostini with vanilla bean onion jam from Carried Away; Mimi Snowden's red lentil dal with vanilla; Café Sparrow's diver scallops with orange vanilla balsamic reduction; homemade vanilla marshmallow with coconut and pecans covered in dark chocolate by Chocolate Visions. Polar Bear hosted a tasting showcasing the special ingredient by offering a spoonful of plain vs. vanilla bean-infused ice cream, something we should never take for granted again. There is still time to donate by visiting

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