Posts Tagged ‘St Joseph’s Day’

Coffee cupping on St Joseph’s Day

March 19, 2018

For the last few years together with friends from across the world we have celebrated St Joseph’s Day at a party hosted by Paulo Coelho and his wife Christina.

This year celebrated St Joseph’s Day with an evening of coffee cupping at Coffee Aroma.

Last week, an afternoon of conversation and book signing with Stephen Leighton, author of Coffeeography. He left behind samples of coffee beans from the producers featured in Coffeeography.  As I write, wonderful aroma from the coffee samples.

Coffee cupping is to coffee what wine tasting is to wine.

What better way the celebrate the hard work of the producers than a coffee cupping on St Joseph’s Day, St Joseph the patron saint of workers.

The beans were ground, placed in a cupping bowl, hot water poured on, left for four minutes.

A group of half a dozen people, roughly half staff, half  customers took it in turn to sample the coffees.

Four coffees, two sessions.

Blind tasting. The origin to be revealed later.

I would have changed how this was carried out.

Grind the coffee, each sample the aroma of the ground beans, pour in the hot water, wait four minutes, one person for each cup, remove the crust, sample the aroma that erupts when the crust removed, then with a sampling spoon, sample each coffee.

Whilst noticing a difference, I did not notice a big difference. I noticed a far bigger difference cupping beans from Los Nogales Project, twelve different samples from the same estate.

Curious. I offer an explanation.

When Stephen Leighton chooses the beans he has in mind what he is looking for, which will select beans of similar profile.

Real Fresh Coffee has a section on coffee cupping, Standart issue 6 a useful guide.

Standart is on sale in Madame Waffle or from Has Bean.

Coffee cupping is a sensory experience, sight, smell, taste.

Where the Wild Coffee Grows has a wonderful description of coffee drinking in Ethiopia as a sensory experience that engages all the senses.

Viva St Joseph’s Day

March 19, 2017

Today, 19 March 2017, is St Joseph’s Day, patron saint of workers.

In the evening, guest of my good friends Paulo Coelho and Christina Oiticica, and many other friends, we would be celebrating St Joseph’s Day at some wonderful venue, in a historic town, chosen by Paulo.

It seems only yesterday, we were in Prague.

Sadly not this year.

I wish Paulo, Christina, and our friends who come together from all over the world, Viva St Joseph’s Day.

I endorse thoughts of my dear artist friend Dasha Bell:

Our hearts are enlightened with numerous fabulous memories of all the fantastic moments shared at Paulo Coelho and Christina Oiticica St. Joseph Party ! What a magical time, how many dear friends and sensations of love and happiness shared ! Thank you !!!

And some memories shared by others:

St Joseph’s Day celebrations last few years:

Paulo Coelho’s St Joseph’s Day Party in Athens

March 20, 2013
Greek dance: Paulo, Christina and Annie

Greek dance: Paulo, Christina and Annie

Rudolf Schenker and Paulo Coelho

Rudolf Schenker and Paulo Coelho

The party started with cocktails, followed by prayers in many languages.

St Joseph is the patron saint of workers, we should remember that many people have lost their jobs and think of them.

That is why the party this year was being held in Greece. It gets a very bad press, the workers slandered as lazy. By holding the party in Athens, it gave people the chance to see a different side of Greece, the real Greece.

We are all travellers, we then have a different view of life if we travel. The journey is important, but so is the homecoming, as we see in the Iliad and with Ithaca.

The party was held in the roof top restaurant of St George Lycabettus Hotel with excellent views of Athens, the centre piece being the Acropolis.

The party was smaller this year, a little over a hundred people, all friends of Paulo Coelho, a celebration together.

At midnight, after eating, after Greek dancing, and following plate smashing, a rock group played until 2am.

Reading from By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept, Paulo smashed a plate. This was symbolic of breaking the link with what is bad, what is holding us back.

At 1am the rock group was joined by Rudolf Schenker (founder and lead guitarist of German rock group Scorpions), who was then joined on vocals by Paulo Coelho performing Still Loving You.

Book signing.

All good things have to come to an end. The party ended around 3am. Some of us remained in the hotel lobby chatting. I finally got to my hotel around 4-30am. Others were checking out to travel to the airport to fly home.

On leaving, a special present, a relief of a classical subject, the likes of which can be found in the Acropolis Museum.

A special thanks to Paulo for such an excellent party.

Early in the day Paulo Coelho held a press conference.

Orações a São José – St Joseph’s prayers

March 26, 2012
St Joseph prayers - Jane Stewart

St Joseph prayers - Jane Stewart

There cannot be many parties that start with prayers. There cannot be many parties that start with prayers in Portuguese, then in many, many languages.

Exactly one week ago today it was St Joseph’s Day. I was at a party in a Venetian medieval castle, guest of Paulo Coelho.

It was exactly one year, one week, one day to the devastating tsunami that hit Japan.

Very moving prayer from Yumi. She was in tears. I was holding hands with Mio. Mio was in tears. I was in tears.

Even now, watching one week later, I am in tears.

Paulo Coelho’s St Joseph’s Day Party at Castello Superiore di Marostica

A Japanese girl’s dream come true

March 22, 2012
for Mio a dream come true

for Mio a dream come true

for Mio a dream come true

for Mio a dream come true

Christina Oiticica and Mio Baba

Christina Oiticica and Mio Baba

Rudolf Schenker and Mio Baba

Rudolf Schenker and Mio Baba

When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

For Mio Baba meeting Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho was a dream come true. A miracle. She was so happy.

Mio first read The Alchemist six years ago when she was 22. She then read many more books, including Veronika Decides to Die and The Zahir.

She wanted to know more. She did a search. She came across Yumi Crane.

Why she thought, was the facebook picture of Yumi Crane with Paulo Coelho?

She wanted to know more. She contacted Yumi and asked.

Yumi told her of meeting Paulo Coelho in Istanbul at a St Jospeh’s Day party which he hosts every year with his friends. Of signs. Of the Alchemist stone, a story she and Ken Crane told as we sat around a table a year ago after the St Jospeh’s Day party.

Mio wished to go to Australia to improve her English (I suggested England would be better). She asked her boss. He said yes, then said no: If you want to go to Australia get a new job. Learning languages is not valued in Japan.

She was very disappointed.

When Ken learnt of her story, he contacted Paulo told him of Mio and her story and asked: Could Mio come to the launch of The Alchemist pen in Bassano del Grappa?

Paulo said yes, but went one better, he said bring her along to the St Joseph’s Day party that night, a party that was to take place in a medieval Venetian castle.

When Mio was told of the invite, she could not believe it. It was a miracle.

All four of us walked to The Alchemist launch. It was pouring with rain, we arrived dripping wet and squeezed in at the back.

After the launch, as Paulo walked out, he spotted us three and gave each of us a hug, Yumi, Ken and I.

We then introduced Mio.

Paulo gave Mio a big hug. Had she died on the spot she would have gone to heaven happy.

The best was yet to come. That evening we were going to Paulo’s St Joseph’s Day party at Castello Superiore di Marostica.

A taxi came to pick us up to take us into Bassano del Grappa from where we would be taken to the party.

Had Mio got her books for Paulo to sign? No, in the excitement she had forgotten. Not to worry we told her. The taxi turned around and she picked up her books.

At the castle she again met Paulo. Her books were signed. I introduced her to Christina Oiticica (artist and Paulo’s wife) and to Rudolf Schenker (founder and lead guitarist of German rock group Scorpions).

A dream come true for a very lovely person.

She made me two lovely origami figures on the train we caught to Venice two days later as a souvenir to remember her by, but sadly these got squashed in my bag.

I have another lovely surprise for her. A very special present which I know she will love.

Paulo Coelho’s St Joseph’s Day Party at Castello Superiore di Marostica

March 21, 2012
Venetian soldiers with flaming swords

Venetian soldiers with flaming swords

Hosted by Montegrappa, Paulo Coelho’s St Joseph’s Day Party was held at a medieval Venetian Castle, Castello Superiore di Marostica.

Following the launch of The Alchemist pen in the afternoon, followed by a tour of the Montegrappa facilty in Bassano del Grappa, a party was held in the evening to mark St Joseph’s day.

The party was held at a medieval Venetian Castle some half an hour drive outside of Bassano del Grappa.

On arrival, after passing through a road block checking for unwanted gatecrashers, we were met on arrival by Venetian soldiers holding flaming torches.

Some sort of pageant was taking place. Food and drink was served outside, though it was a cold night.

We were then ushered indoors where a guitar of Rudolf Schenker (lead guitarist and founder of German rock group Scorpions) was being painted by Christina.

Then we were ushered upstairs, where tables were laid for dinner.

Paulo Coelho explained why he celebrates St Joseph’s Day with his friends. He said this was a very special party as it was a Silver Anniversary, ie 25 years. It was also a Silver Anniversary of the publication of The Pilgrimage.

Paulo Coelho was born dead, strangled by his umbilical cord. His mother prayed for a miracle, that life be breathed into his dead body. He recovered. She promised she would mark St Joseph’s day, but never did. God is forgiving. God is not the God of hate, who damns us for all eternity, that Francis Chan portrays in his evil book Erasing Hell.

Paulo now marks St Joseph’s Day to give thanks for his good fortune.

Wine is mentioned several times in the Bible. All but one involves Joseph.

As always, the dinner started with prayers. First Paulo in Portuguese, then many languages, including German (The Abbot of Melk Abbey) and Japanese (Yumi Crane).

Glorious St. Joseph, model of all who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously by placing love of duty above my inclinations; to gratefully and joyously deem it an honor to employ and to develop by labor the gifts I have received from God, to work methodically, peacefully, and in moderation and patience, without ever shrinking from it through weariness or difficulty to work; above all, with purity of intention and unselfishness, having unceasingly before my eyes the account I have to render of time lost, talents unused, good not done, and vain complacency in success, so baneful to the work of God. O patriarch St. Joseph! This shall be my motto for life and eternity.

Yumi Crane spoke of the Tsunami. It was one year, one week, one day. It was very moving. She was in tears. Mio, with who I was holding hands, was in tears. I was in tears.

The Narrow Road to the Disaster Zone
Songs From Tokyo

For Mio, it was a dream come true to meet Paulo Coelho.

A Japanese girl’s dream come true

There were many courses, several were on the table when we sat down. I had no idea what most of them were. There was long gaps of half an hour between courses, which gave people plenty of time to wander around and chat to people at other tables, exchange gifts.

I gave Paulo Coelho Fusiones, signed by all members of the group Ensamble Dos Orrillas, who I had seen live at an excellent concert a couple of weeks before in Puerto de la Cruz in Tenerife. A fusion of music from South America and the Canary Isands. I am only sorry I did not get the opportunity to take a picture of Paulo Coelho with the signed album. Hopefully this album will be available for download from bandcamp in the near future.

On the tables was also a special gift from Paulo. A bottle of perfume, The Alchemist. I assume specially commissioned for the occasion.

Many people came up to me and chatted who I had no idea who they were but for some reason they knew who I was.

One was Dasha Balashova, a remarkable Russian artist, who I learnt is now living in France in or near the Pyrenees. I have Dasha to thank for my original contact with Paulo Coelho. Until the night of the party we had never met.

A firework display!

Presents for Paulo: A silver tray to mark 25th anniversary of The Pilgrimage, a special chair to sit at when he writes.

Ken Crane was called. Where was Ken when needed? As a special gift Ken had brought five pairs of boxer shorts with his graphics and quotes from Paulo Coelho. Paulo handed these out to named individuals.

A few minutes before midnight Paulo Coelho announced eating was over, it was time to go downstairs and dance.

In the early hours of the morning we were treated to Rudolf Schenker and Paulo Coelho (on guitar and vocals) performing Rock Like a Hurricane, Still Loving You, and maybe a couple of other numbers. It was unbelievable. I do not think the group who were playing could believe their luck playing with Rudolf Schenker and Paulo Coelho. For Time they were joined on vocals by Rudolf Schenker’s girlfriend Tanya.

Paulo Coelho e Rudolf Schenker

Sometime in the early hours, Christina and I were dancing centre stage.

Then book signing.

On the edge of the light I noticed armed guards!

All good parties eventually have to come to an end.

We finally got back to our hotel at 3-30am in the early hours of the morning!

Many thanks to Paulo for the invite and putting on such a great party and to Montegrappa for generously hosting the party and for providing the transport there and back.

Paulo Coelho has posted a shorter version on his blog.

Montegrappa factory tour

March 21, 2012
component parts Montegrappa The Alchemist pen

component parts Montegrappa The Alchemist pen

Following the launch of The Alchemist pen, Montegrappa arranged a guided tour of their factory.

First a quick look at the final assembly of limited edition pens, then eat and drink in their showroom where many pens and watches are on display, then a detailed factory tour in small groups of around 20.

The basic builing blocks are resins (for entry level pens), celluloid (Montegrappa are the only pen manufacturer to use celluloid as highly unstable and explosive) and precious metals.

Both the resins and celluloids are chosen to Montegrappa high specification. Colours and marbling effect are mixed in. The celluloid is kept in ovens for six months to stabilise.

Montegrappa combine high tech with hand craftsmanship. Lathes and milling machines are used, scanning microscopes to check the final product. Each cap on The Alchemist pen is individually engraved by a master engraver, thus each pen unique.

The metal parts are sand ground to remove any burs and sharp edges. Then polished in a machine. The resin and celluloid are also polished in a machine.

Celluloid is used as it has a very natural feel. But such is the quality of the resin used and the polish, that even the entry level resin pens have that natural feel.

For the fountain pen, a graphite feeder is used.

Inside the pens, a barrel with a piston, which is used to draw up the ink.

The only component not made by Montegrappa is the nib. This is made by a third party party to a Montegrappa specification.

A gold nib is not for show. Gold is soft and writes better. Steel is hard and scratches the paper.

Around 40 component parts to each pen.

Each pen is individually tested by being used to write. It then has to be washed to remove the ink.

A laboratory carries out random tests for quality control. A few pens are tested to destruction, for example the clip repeatedly stressed for metal fatigue. The lab also tests incoming materials for quality control.

Do not keep a Montegrappa pen in the pocket. Like wine, it should be stored in a horizontal position.

Special thanks to our guide who took a great pride in the workmanship at Montegrappa.

Paulo Coelho and Christina Oiticica in Istanbul

April 13, 2011

Paulo Coelho and Christina Oiticica in Istanbul on St Joseph’s Day.

Scenes from press conference at Pera Palace Hotel and Istanbul street scene.

Photos by Marcos Borges.

Music Istanbul by Orient Expressions.

Paulo Coelho in Istanbul on St Joseph’s Day
Paulo Coelho Press Conference at Pera Palace Hotel
Paulo Coelho’s St Joseph’s Day Party at Pera Palace Hotel

No mosteiro de Melk

March 26, 2010
Paulo Coelho with Abbot Burkhard

Paulo Coelho with Abbot Burkhard

Paulo Coelho

This year my Feast of St. Joseph was held at the Abbey of Melk, Austria (see community prayer at the end of page). There I again had the opportunity to meet one of my great spiritual mentors, Abbot Burkhard. We speak no common language, but his presence gives me not only peace, but a kind of special understanding of the meaning of life. In 2006, I gave an interview for the magazine News, which said that Burkhard was my silent mentor at the same time warned that he would not like to be called so. Of course I was right: in an article affectionate, he rejected the title, but once again shows his wisdom. The following are excerpts of his thoughts in that article

In search of meaning

In one of our meetings in the basement of the abbey, (Rabbit) asked what would be the correct steps to be given by a man. Of course there are many things wrong in the world, capable of bringing destruction and regret. There are other things that would be able to compensate for all that, but not always possible, and do not understand why.

Even people who have faith know the situation of the world. This recognition allows us to be able to move rocks, if we will, and turn back all the lights were extinguished.

When I entered the Benedictine Order, I had some small reasons for this decision. Gradually, I began to go my way, I identify with him, while he could not understand all of what was happening around me. Every time I made a suggestion about something that needed to be changed, he heard the answer:

“What do you want exactly? This monastery was raised to think in terms of centuries, not of immediate changes.”

This comment did not help me, and I felt distant from all the ideals that brought inside.

Finally, a conversation with an old monk has completely transformed my view of the subject. When I remarked my problem, I replied:

“You get upset that we here think in terms of centuries? Perfect, then forget it, and do what works best, as fast as it deems appropriate.”

At the same time I realized that all my major transformation was slow interiors, and His presence in my soul emerged gradually. Not in terms of my conscience, but in a place deeper, denser, where things do not leave so easily shaken.

Therefore, it is necessary that the person can experience the wrong paths, shortcuts that should not be crossed, little by little, through just these ups and downs of our lives is that we begin to realize what is right. And we feel tremendous freedom to move forward.

You must learn to live with the energy that comes from within us, and that keeps us passionate and enthusiastic about what we do. Instead of seeking the big things we need answers, just pay attention to small details that go unnoticed. Like any child, I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for hiding these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to children. [Matthew 11:25]

This is how we realize our transformation. When the individual understands that small things can change, it takes the meaning of his life, no hurry because it is focused on the next step.

And the more the small change, the more great is process.

Google translation from post on blog of Paulo Coelho. With a little tidying up by me.

Also see

St Joseph’s Day at Melk Abbey
A Christmas Tale

St Joseph’s Day at Melk Abbey

March 23, 2010
St Joseph's Day at Melk Abbey

St Joseph's Day at Melk Abbey

It is a tradition of Paulo Coelho to celebrate his birthday on St Joseph’s Day and to invite friends to a party. This year the party was held at Melk Abbey in Austria, an important Benedictine Abbey in Austria.

I was one of those who had the honour of being invited to Paulo’s party at Melk Abbey on St Joseph’s Day. I would have loved to have gone with my lovely friend Sian, looked around the Abbey and the old town of Melk. Unfortunately I was taken very ill with a bad fever and chicken pox and sadly unable to attend.

Like Carolena Sabah, I was there in spirit.

Prayers to St Joseph were said at the party.

Also see

A Christmas Tale

A Warrior’s Life by Fernando Morais

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