Merry Phuong-mas!

Predictably, I will be posting photos of our cats in various humiliating holiday costumes such as Santa hats and tiny antlers. And predictably, I will be telling you all about the Christmas Day Blazers game that a group of 8 Olsons and 2 honorary Olsons and I attended, complete with fancy signs Ken and I made with clever cheers (such as “Ho Ho, H-Oden”). But for the moment, as I madly blog in an attempt to distract you from the fact that I’ve been a totally crappy blogger this past week, I will turn to my good friend Phuong and her creative holiday activities in an effort to make myself look better.

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(Photo courtesy of Terry Z)
As many of you know, Phuong Tran is the owner of Lava Java in Ridgefield, Wash., and is the 2005 United States Barista Champion. Phuong went on to take seventh place at the 2005 World Barista Championship in Seattle. Now Phuong is training baristas from Lava Java to be the next generation of barista champs, as well as developing a happy Lava Java family that plays together and stays together.

For the holiday season, Phuong once again invited her staff to take part in a gingerbread house making extravaganza. We at Barista Magazine heard about this when Ken bumped into Phuong at the Stumptown Annex last week. Phuong showed him some photos of the houses; Ken was transfixed by them; and so we asked Phuong if we could show them off on our blog, and, well, here we are. This is the one she was dropping off for her Annex pals:

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Cute, huh? But this is the one that Ken can’t stop talking about: Lava Java barista Ashley’s edible diorama of Finca El Injerto (eat your heart out, Kyle):

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Here’s what Phuong had to say about the houses: “We had an after hour party at Lava Java about 2 weeks ago. We each built a gingerbread house just for fun. It’s our 2nd Annual Gingerbread House Party. We brought candies to share and had a great time. We set a two hour time limit and invited friends. Last year we had a competition and had our customers vote for the winner. This year, we decided to just have a friendly fun time and no competition. The houses are on display at the cafe and they are great conversational pieces of art!”

Thanks for sharing with us, Phuong! And great job, Ashley!!

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