May 18th, 2015
Lets talk about whats happening at Courier. The book Catch 22 is pretty apt, except on the reverse- we love it. At this point you should probably read the book.
I am going back to Japan in June- all of June. This coincides with my Grandmother in laws death anniversary- super important- and my grandfather in laws 20th i think. Sakiko is very close to her grandmother, and for the family this is an important event. I got married into a rice farming family in Sanjo, Niigata a year ago, because….. a young beautiful Japanese girl frequented our coffee bar…
We have been running our bar for four and a half years. In a wonderful, and really for the best way our permanent staff made their way into better things, while also those of us who are here are in store for maybe better things. We are all moving onward and upward I hope. Through this we have met amazing new people, and rejoined lost friends, geez its been so rad.
The challenge is stepping away for a bit. Luckily Jeremy is going to be running the show in the background while i am gone, and thank goodness for David Evans, what you would call your modern day bar champion.
I have fallen in love more than ever working bar these last months and could wish nothing better. While in Japan it seems i will be doing a workshop on coffee roasting, build my own roaster, probably source green coffee and open a coffee stand- i will make no money at this, and i have absolutely no plans of opening in japan. but my good friend Sensei has a place called coffee elementary school, where i will be all the time and my friend Matsushimasan has Paddlers coffee serving Stumptown, where i will also be. but your best chance to find me is in Chiba, Yokohama, Hayama, Sanjo, or… perhaps Sapporo with Amy of Courier.
Please go easy on the bar while i am away, the hands that i am leaving it in are more than able, and the new people on bar i love ( grains of salt- ha-xox).
all the best-j
April 18th, 2015
pre-release coffee for Jackpot records- Hacienda Supracafe Los Naranjos Yellow Typica varietal Cajibio, Cauca, Colombia elevation 1500 meters, fully washed and sun dried. limited to 100 bags at 60 grams each.Roasted this morning at our workshop, bagged and delivered by bicycle.
April 7th, 2015
Surprise- La Esperanza Farm coffee from Huehuetenango is back. We were actually surprised when it showed up at our door and the driver told us we had 1500 pounds of “samples.” Imagine some quick long distance phone calls to Guatemala after that.
On the books our coffee shop has been getting busier. Interesting cash sales are on the decline while credit card is increased, when i am dead someone will probably buy an ipad and square pos.
we have been thinking a lot about the economy of Portland, the cost of living going up is not great, yet wages going up is awesome. Courier is kind of in the boat. Our Eggs are 7 a dozen, our vegan cane sugar more expensive than anything, and our chocolate pricey, but it all makes sense to us. As Portland changed its commercial composting rules that made sense too, that we buy compostable cups that are not compostable totally makes sense. There was once a business in LA that prided themselves on struggle, and we have always admired them, or maybe the idea of working, hence bicycle delivery.
The best thing is that we are able to serve people. We officially signed the lease on our Oak street location 5 years ago, and our coffee roasting space about ten years ago. thanks for being with us.
March 27th, 2015
Just got the Snow-Peak CS-270 kettles for brewing at Record Store Day on Hawthorne outside Jackpot records.
Today on bar we took dimensions of our refrigerator, milk storage vs keg storage, and asked ourselves about the summer.
The new SS steam tip from Synesso is amazing and if you have not noticed has changed the definition of our milk. we may have just moved to a world that is finely defined through texture that did not exist before, or that we had difficulty creating. Our latte milk is more fluid, and our cappucino milk more textured. It is a bit slower though
Since our business is partly bicycle delivery we paused to check out this stripped bike- note the sugino cranks are still there, which we think were probably the best part of this frame. amazingly the lock is in tact (wouldnt it be easier to take the frame instead of stripping as you go?). we hope your bikes are safe.
Blood oranges were back on bar this morning. Mid day tuesday we receive more green coffee. The strike on the West coast is still affecting incoming traffic of boats (coffee).
March 9th, 2015
replaced the spindle bearing in our technic sl-1200. as removing the circuit board we dusted the body out with Argon. used original Technic spindle-deadstock from 5 years prior (you can see the brass filing on the old spindle above). Work slowed down Sunday on Bar, so Jeremy and I did some maintenance and cleaning.
Amy Suzuki Barrett, of Courier Coffee, now has her artwork up on bar for the next ten days before she heads back to Hokaido to finish artschool, we look forward to her potential return to Portland.
Tuesday evening we hosted a showing of Kamanakas Interviews and video artwork in the evening on bar. The screening was entirely in Japanese, and marks the anniversary (3.11) of the major earthquake in Tohoku, Japan. This is our second year of showing Kamanakas reports, with permission.
On a related/unrelated route the Owl lives in my backyard, and maybe eats mice. we do not use pesticides or chemicals, but our neighbors do for sure, At the roastery this is something we think about for sure-outside impacts. why do people do these things that indirectly impact them..
March 3rd, 2015
We unboxed our new 1mm orifice 6 hole stainless steel steam tip this morning and installed. It is almost the same as the 4 hole 1.5mm tips.
Technically the speed should be the same, but the affect is better due to a greater distribution i.e. smoother.
Synesso standard was 1.8mm 4-hole tips, however we set our clients up and have always recommended the 1.5mm orifices as that had the best effect for us.
cumulative 1.5×4= 6 output. Our new SS tips are 1×6= 6 output. The reason for the switch is that stainless steel will be much easier to clean. It takes a lot of money to caste your own forms out of stainless steel, so the normal route is to make it brass and then chrome plate. Our previous tips were all chrome plated brass, and sure the chrome flaked off, and chrome is not the best clean surface, but way better than brass or copper.
[apparently] six holes at 1mm, and 4 holes at 1.5mm do not equal the same thing because.. is it pie r squared? I am not a math person, but im going to look this up and update this post.
On bar the question was asked- whats the difference. Technically smaller holes put out higher pressure with lower volume over time. Larger holes are lower pressure with higher volume. The pressure in the steam tank is a constant, or lets say it is for the sake of discussion. if you put your finger over a hose nozzle the water will spray out much faster, but the amount of water decreases. steaming milk type products requires a certain amount of turbulence to mix air into the liquid and add texture (kind of like making amazing foam in a bubble bath). we can try to foam something up, but the deeper question is what allows us to create tight foam. Fats and sugars are the answer, as well as increasing those through developing them with heat, which is what we do when steaming milk. and the crazy thing is we think about this everytime we make your latte.
February 26th, 2015
Above Synesso Cyncra Paddlegroup old style with roller cam switch – also known as the cherry switch. position 1,2,3 respectfully.
Issue- buzzing noise when brewing. solution- tighten nut that holds valve to brewgroup because alLack of a proper ground leads to feedback loop.
For our own work we like to re assemble things finger tight (in places where tightness is not neccesary), and I personally like to end up with less screws than I start with (not for clients). This makes the next service job faster. Honestly im amazed these machines are not just held together with magnets yet, and I have petitioned for hydraulics to adjust the height of the machine. if we could re-engineer the machine for speed break downs that would be rad, and also if we could have a sightglass window into the boiler (lit up of course). Synesso? Luckily this machine is fun to think about all the time, which is probably why we continue to make espresso, besides of course the joy of serving coffee.
Homework for the week- Manhatten Love Story (a japanese drama about a Kissa Owner). if you want to know how we think its probably like this guy (not really, but we do like that he is way into coffee). youtube that. there are subtitles. then we have 40 more dramas to show you about bikes and food.
super rumor- sizzlepie is opening a bar before the summer. its true- believe. Summer on oak street is going to be amazing. polish your shoes, buy some art, toys, soap, pizza, french no Scandinavian fare, get a massage, environmental lawyer, ad agency, pottery, womens clothing (yes guys womens clothing is in for fashion now). and we really hope finish it with a beer. there has been work recently on the sizzlepie bar, all the best us at courier.
February 13th, 2015
Composting and recycling is talked about at Courier. While our garbage and recycling haulers have kept pretty quiet to us, we read the notices that come by mail, and we check the City of Portland website regularly.
Commercial compost is changing in fifteen days- that means any downtown business, restaurant, cafe- will have different rules from residential. For our coffee bar this means FOOD WASTE ONLY. Actually there is a sticker already in place on our green rollcart that says Food Scraps Only, and then for those who cannot read there are pictures.
Compostable containers, paper towels, napkins- are NOT commercially compostable anymore. Coffee Cups are NOT compostable. Coffee cups are absolutely NOT RECYCLEABLE. Both regular polyethylene lined cups and the bioplastic lined compostable paper cups are NOT RECYCLEABLE OR COMPOSTABLE. If you feel bad about waste then bring a cup, or stay a while.
We will continue to stock and serve our coffee to go in paper cups that say they are compostable, because they are the only ones made (this specific brand) that are made entirely in the USA.
So the only thing left to compost is our coffee grounds, eggshells, and fruit stems from when we bake each morning. This is still a considerable amount of compost. Even though we live in Portland not all coffee shops compost. On the opposite side of the spectrum one may look at the type of packaging used at each shop and determine how much they are thinking about plastic and paper (even our whole bean coffee bags are entirely recycleable minus the tin tie closure).
Anyway- all else at courier is moving along. There are new people working on bar. Our espresso machine flooded the shop yesterday morning with water when a three way brew valve/solenoid valve impartially closed, so it got replaced- 45 minutes- mostly spent hanging out. more news soon- best courier.
February 2nd, 2015
commercial composting laws are changing in Portland. Starting in March for downtown businesses we may compost food scraps only- no paper at all. While our coffee bags will remain recycleable, our coffee cups will be landfill only. Downtown on bar we will be mainly composting coffee, tea, and egg shell. February is practice month.
January 23rd, 2015
Today we soaked dried cranberries in Myers rum, tomorrow organically grown blood oranges for yogurt oat muffins.
The espresso on bar has been pouring maybe erratically the last few days. Very confident looking at 18 seconds before pours suck inward slightly at 22. This could be contributed to the too crisp cellulose structure (woody structure) of the seeds, and light level of caramelization. Still when done just right there is a wonderful juice that reminds one of pureed flowers, or drinking flowers. Its not that the espresso pours differently each shot, but maybe more that we make it slightly different as the pace speeds and slackens, perhaps thinking too much in the slow times, or just nailing things perfectly. Yesterday we had the arbitrary/calibrated temperature for the brew boiler at 204F. Today at 8am we moved the temperature to 203F. While we could change the pressure as well we could be the odd coffee shop to do that, although dont put it past us.
Last Saturday we held a pour over workshop just discussing technique and theory. We discovered our Fetco HWB-5 to be a bit lower in set point than we had thought, leading toward our discovery that a longer brew times would have more depth. This last week we have started to come closer to 3 minutes in pourover time.
Please remember we have extended our hours. Come knock back some espresso with us at closing- all the best courier coffee