Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

San Franciscan Roaster gas Jets Cleaned, and thank you for returning your jars.

Monday, May 20th, 2019

Last week, for the first time ever, we cleaned the orifices on each of the brass jets for our SF-25. We had been debating our gas flow for months, but finally a week ago our afterburner started to cut out (totally separate issue from the jets). This led us to schedule a day without roasting, midweek- especially important, since supply houses and emergency mailings cut out over the weekend. There were many tiny screws to remove, but starting on the afterburner we are never really sure, but somehow cleaning the spark-plugs, or ignition points, and checking air to the gas- well it worked.

Luckily the afterburner (incinerator) stopped working on some misty and rainy days. Coffee smoke is organic matter, but drops out in mist, or rather gets caught in the water molecules. Coffee smoke is a lot of oils, and carbon, and other gases. Normally we only run our roaster just over 1100 Fahrenheit (593.33 Celsius). which is the magic number where visible particulate matter breaks down, or SMOG. it still smells until 1400 F. (760 C.) It smells but the smoke is clear. Since there has been a roastery here working for at least 25 years, it seems to be ok in the neighborhood (the neighbors mostly do not know we are here).

With the afterburner magically fixed, although we have no idea why, in under 30 minutes, well we thought we would look into our longterm problem. the gas jets.

The reason why we had never undertaken cleaning of all of the tips, is that, in order to remove them you either have to spend a lot of time, very awkwardly, and painfully removing them in place, or, drop the burner itself. Dropping the burner, or the welded square tubing running parallel under the drum requires the removal of the gas line in three points, and gas lines are not exactly our specialty. Since we had the day, why not.

Remarkably, we dropped the burner down so we could access, and after checking the build up on the nipples were about to put it back and give up, but…. and this took us a minute, to discover the tiny pinholes where the gas went through were more than clogged with precipitant, or calcium carbonate i assume. Now. for a long time the front few jets had been very difficult to light. This involved a trick by cutting airflow to ignite all the nipples. But the last year always a few never lit, which we always thought was a draft issue. So, very carefully using a safety pin we cleaned each orifice on each jet. We noticed while re-installing that the threading on the burner was off, and some of the jets had almost been crossthreaded. With the gas lines reinstalled, the results were amazing.

So the last winter we had been doing 3 batches an hour at 12 pounds, and having a hard time with it. Today, after the maintenance we are doing almost 5 batches an hour, and dropping in 18 pounds. This seems more inline with our friends roasting on 1950′s Probats (the ratio of beans on a similar sized drum). When we first started roasting we were dropping 15 pounds and four batches an hour. Cleaning jet orifices has made such a huge huge improvement.

Other news, someone returned about 28 jars the other day- thank you. Please dont recycle your widemouth mason jars but re-use. Selling in glass is hard for us, but glass is preferable to paper, and so so so much better than plastic- as we are the only roaster in portland not packaging in plastic bags, we are excited to offer glass, and to re-use. thank you.

More other news- Japanese shaved ice saturday went smooth. Strawberry Rhubarb was the favorite. more of that next saturday.

Shaved Ice Starts Saturday 11-3, and roastery news

Thursday, May 16th, 2019


Saturday, May 11th, 2019

Starting this Saturday, May 11, 2019, Courier Coffee will host the first Concept Capsule by ESPER: a young, Portland-based concept developer inspired by classical anachronism, paradisiacal fanaticism and design simplicity. The installation includes two designs on canvas and limited edition printed T-shirts on 100% cotton.

Find ESPER on Instagram: @Esperusa

Contact Email:

Kakigori summer.

Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

May 18th. get ready.

check us on ssshavedice on instagram for detail.

strangely coffee

Sunday, April 28th, 2019

a fifth of the tools are laid on the copper bar in the order of.

xcelite drivers/ wiha (crap) drivers/ anodized crescent adjustable/ P&C #2 flat/ Olympia adj.. (c/o Winks Hardware)/ supertool adj widejaw (Japan only)/ Knipex Cobra (which i like over the larger one)/ Channel Lock slipjoint linemans pliers/ Fuller adj pipe wrench 14/ Rigid b110/ ips ths-190/ channel lock crimpers/ Knipex 87-41-250/ Top nra-150/ Top 150mm thin exactwrench (japan only)/ Bondhus metric hex set/ vmf metric open box flat set/ and a bunch of Armstrong open-close combinations in both imp and metric (c/o Hall Tool).

There is an ATAT walker resting on the beams above. Behind me a calendar for the next three months with the moon phases in bleeding POSCA marker paint. An empty can of Sapporo special beer with a small wooden board from a Japanese shrine in Niigata to bring us good fortune. There are also several nice stereo components, some Yamaha NS-6′s (tens are at home- and yeah they are not “the best” but they do work the hardest to reveal fault)..

Strangely there is also the 70 pounds of coffee Ive roasted behind me, and well, a lot of other things. I could tell you about the summer. I could tell you about how we made a slight increase in a few prices because thats how it goes but. let me just say

twenty years ago at Cleveland highschool we made Miner Bee homes out of blocks of wood. At first i took it serious to save the bees and nothing happened. then two weeks ago- someone put the block of wood i made with holes by the back door as a piece of art- Now have three little holes full and five Bees working at it….The bees are very friendly.

from a small business hotel near Yutenji Station, Tokyo.

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

Action in the last month included repair of our Market Forge half sheet oven located below the bar. We also installed a Fetco CBS-2031e brewer at Assembly Brewing on 62nd and Foster, who soft open tomorrow, and will be serving Courier Coffee. Ran into a little hiccup where the brewer was not remembering its settings, which we hope has remedied by leaving it powered up. And finally, two weeks ago we had a wonderful staff meeting over at the roastery, where we decided to increase a few prices on our menu, work on new drinks, and in general talked shop improvements.

I personally am in Japan for two weeks, to see family. Our Daughter turned three in February and we are here to visit the shrine in her mom’s hometown for a sort of coming of age ceremony. Having just returned from the east coast i am currently drinking 7-eleven coffee (its 5am), which i have to say really beats Bodega coffee I have had in New York .

Going to our favorite Japanese Shaved ice place today. You will see photos on ssshavedice instagram account for sure probably in a few hours. anyway- im going to run out to the lobby for some juracappresso coffee now (its probably not that exact brand, but you know. everyones asleep. Then make some new menus, as we have new coffee coming to courier, and ill pop those in the mail to portland.

time slip, at the start of 2018

Tuesday, February 12th, 2019

Back from Japan. it was New Years Day. Late to the airport i missed the checked luggage time, slammed all into my backpack, leaving an empty hardshell case in a hallway for 10 dollars. Awake with a Suntory Premium Malt beer, and 5 cups of Starbucks coffee, with a slight worry that something was forgotten.

Arriving my credit cards are all declined, forgetting to let the companies know. three hours later and im on the train, with a hot canned coffee and a rice ball. Soon a client’s business was to flood from water damage, Courier’s fridge would stop being cold, and when i get back we are accused of discriminating against a customer of color. And we did ask a woman to leave the shop, and it was our fault. all of this was hard because i was not there.

The end of 2018 was hard, because it seems all business for the year ended with being slow. And now I, personally am in Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York, on family stuff. Have not been here since i was 12. wow- easy to sum up a year in three paragraphs. I will be back in Portland soon, but things are changing. Portland is changing, and we remain dedicated to american and canada paper products, eliminating plastic, developing relationships while not using jet fuel, delivering all by bicycle, and keeping it fresh, and composting and recycling the most.

The future is our enemy i guess, unless its a rad future that takes into account ecological health, and part of that help is social.

i dont know.. hello 2019.
help us serve you better.
love courier coffee

Japan trip update (& Thanksgiving week hours)

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

The Portland Japan connection is old. Sapporo after all is our sister city, and the reason why we have so many cherry trees along the waterfront. Of course we are connected now to many other cities everywhere. Especially connected since one side of my family is Japanese.

I am currently in Sanjo, Niigata, Japan, at my wife’s parents house. On day three of our stay Courier’s laptop had a fatal encounter with coffee and my daughter. We did what anyone would and immediately flipped it upside down, and powered it off. Later we completely removed all of the internals after two days, cleaned them with alcohol, and let dry. no-luck, after hours of cleaning and drying, and learning about checking for damage a little heartbreaking. So we bought a new laptop in Tokyo, but work had to wait until we ordered a hard drive enclosure so we could salvage our data and migrate it to the new macbook pro. Now everything is exactly where we left off, and we can work again.

We first came straight to Niigata for a few days before heading back to Tokyo, where we did a series of events making coffee. Always weird making coffee in a new place. The bigger obstacles have been soap residue on the dishes, and having to explain that they must be rinsed again. Sometimes the complication is that the water is cold only, and so it takes extra effort to get soap off. Water in Tokyo is good, but slightly harder than Portland, yet not terrible like vancouver washington in terms of hardness. Another little learning thing is brewing coffee into different size glass for serving. We like glass because people can see the coffee being made. Mostly we were just winging it, and getting used to different grinders, having to evaluate the quality of grind as well as variation in size just by looking.

Most of the coffee that we have had out has been from convenient stores, cold brew from grocery stores, and .. Starbucks. We have had coffee from modern chain stores, just looking for new things. We have not been able to make coffee a destination, because trying to get around with a small child who insists on being carried is hard.

Highlights so far include riding a ton of escalators, dancing to the cool sounds on the train. and lets see. Our daughter sneezed food all over a business mans suit on the train, (we were cracking up) he took it very well. Later we sat next to a young woman asleep on the train and Ryoku (daughter) said really loud “Nay Nay!” which means sleeping in Japanese. The woman was only partially asleep and woke, with Ryoku pointing at her and super close.

Our first coffee event was really about India, at Rokujigen Kissaten. Rokujigen is the location of Haruki Murakami’s Jazz Kissaten, and now Rokujigen is the third generation shop owned by Mr. Nakamura. Nakamura does many things, but one of them is a researcher of the writer- Murakami. He purchased the shop to preserve it not only because of Murakami, but the building itself has a lot of history, and is one of the oldest kissaten in Japan. Along one small wall are only Murakami books in different translations and languages. the hours are very flexible. This was our second time making coffee at Nakamura’s kissaten, but this time from behind the bar. And we got to speak a little about Portland, as we were invited because of a strange tie in with India to Portland’s coffee scene.

We also got to stay in a very old and classic Ryokan (hotel) located in Ogikubo. Very cheap, clean, and classic Japanese hotel in a very lovely neighborhood. My favorite part was getting to use an old beer vending machine for the first time, located off the lobby.

Its kind of cold in Niigata and having kerosene heaters in the rooms is a novelty. Being here makes me realize how easy it is to get awesome coffee in Portland, but also how superior Japanese 7-11 coffee is to Starbucks. anyway thats the update. looking forward to visiting friends, and visiting hardwarestores until i return.


bike maintenance- what happens this month- time change

Monday, November 6th, 2017

Our front hub Dynamo, or generator hub, has been wonderful. On the work bike having the lights on even in daytime feels safer. At night the road is very well lit. We are still using the Supernova front and rear. I thought we were well taken care of by our older Planet Bike Headlights, but the Supernova makes it so we can distinguish puddles from potholes.

Unfortunately our cargo bike frame (made by the Center for Appropriate transport, Eugene, OR) broke for the third time. This last time we thought it was over- downtube broken again. Bob of City Bikes (BANTAM cycles) came to the rescue and braised in a new tube in under four hours. rad. To sum our history we cracked the downtube above the BB in a year, broke the mount for the cargo bed, and now broke the downtube near the top tube. 12 years and on our third rear hub (Phil wood sucked, shimano Nexus redline totally a drag, literally, White Industries win), and the second front hub (Shimano Deore wasnt that bad to us, it held for ten years).

Actually Bob laced my rear Phil hub on my fast bike- the Surly 1×1- just last week. Phil bearings are good- just not the freewheel (which i was told needs to be serviced every month in dirty conditions, we dont do that). Bob suggested we re use my old spokes which has never happened to me before. I like running it till its dead so we said yes. when i got the wheel back it looked weird. Took a day to figure that the reason why the lacing looked funny wasnt the lacing- it was the fact that Bob had cleaned the hub and the lacing really stood out.

Currently its 1:23am and we are roasting coffee. Im heading to Tokyo in eleven hours and, thankfully i just gained another hour of roasting thanks to Daylight savings time. I am very anxious about leaving but luckily we have an amazing group at Courier. Alex Geddes will be roasting while im away, and since we have both been together in one way or another for seven years at Courier, well, it will the same- maybe better. i

the gentle softness behind making drinks

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

or how staring at your phone is like someone watching a television while at work. Watching your server paying more attention to something else than to you.

Professionally when i get a phone call (unless its a work call), I go outside so as not to disturb others. Reading a book, Playing magic the Gathering, working on your laptop… well- I think that working is noble, and Magic the Gathering (or having the guts to play it) is awesome.. really i cant fault any customer.. but often it is wrong for the workers to be on their phone while being in the spotlight. spotlight?

A drink should be attentive to the conditions. should the cup be warmed to what level depending on humidity and temperature in the room. should we focus so much on latte art that the cup fills just above the rim and is impossible to easily carry and or lift to your mouth. does your server even have the faintest idea of nuances between drinks other than size. should customer service matter. yes.

recently someone told me that a 5 oz latte and cappuccino are the same drink- of course they are not. When we opened 7 years ago i think we were under this myth as well. not only are there differences in drinks, there are regional differences as well to be aware of. try and order a 5 oz latte and a 5 oz cappucino next time from your server and see what happens.

We will not say that we do it better, or consistently, but customers know. when you get served an iced americano is it cold? luke warm? does the crema or espresso float, or mix. and would your server care. yes hopefully. do you want it hot on top and chilled below. personally i would like it cold, but the crema still floating on the surface. id like the espresso poured on top of the water with ice, and a spoon to gently stir the water below to chill from the bottom up but keep the cream of the espresso on top.

actually ordering a 5 oz latte and a 5 oz cappuccino would be a good trick for your server. also interesting in Portland would be (or any city) if prices are different.

there are differences.