Archive for the ‘what we’re serving where’ Category

window blog, and notes on what we have been roasting

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

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Working to lock down flavor descriptors of roasts we are doing. Alex is getting much time in on the roaster, and we have been steadily cupping all of the production batches sent out.

Currently we have been focusing our attention hard on two coffees-Guatemala Esquipulas(town) de Chiquimula(area) finca (farm) las Nubes & El Salvador Palo de Campana (town) finca (farm) Alaska. This gives us time to really explore the coffees and how we are developing the flavors during the roast. When we cup, or taste these coffees, for us, it is super helpful to be tasting many batches/roasts of the same thing and then compare. Perhaps we have been too hyper-focused, and we do have some exciting new coffees on the way, but it has been a ton of fun working so intensely with these two lots.

When roasting there are many things to consider. Colors start at green, the green of the coffee seed/bean, and move to yellow, peach, orange, khaki, brown. The texture of the seeds change as they expand, releases moisture and vapor, and swell. Smells from the roasted coffee also change dramatically during the roast, often a sign of what will be in the cup, and also a sign of what is being lost. Sound helps define stages of the roast, marking structural development, chemical, and also momentum/speed of the change. These sensory things, along with a log of time and temperature we try and record.

Changes in a roast happen in seconds, and sometimes the most critical moment is to gauge when to pull a roast.

Both of our coffees at the moment have a ton of sugar, and there is definitely a part of the roast where raw sugars are being developed and later caramelized. I think when more of the raw sugars are present, such as a lighter roast there is also a fruity/citrus quality to them. We have been leaning on the raw sugar side for a while, and we have been trying to drift to more of a medium roast without sacrificing the citrus florals. While there is a ton more going on with super light roasts there is also perhaps more acidity in the coffee and more caffeine.  These super light roasts are amazing, but perhaps not crowd pleasers or easy on the stomach. Anyway these are my thoughts for the day, perhaps some tasting notes later.

new espresso on bar, El Borbollon

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

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El Salvador, Santa Ana (region), fincas (farms) la Reforma y el Cerro, both run by the Alvarez family, a lot of 100% red bourbon varietal coffee, labeled simply el Borbollon. This coffee arrived August in burlap bags of 132pounds each.

We have been sort of sleeping on this coffee from the start. The previous espresso was a single lot from the Delarisse farm in Cerrado, Brazil- Chapadao de Ferro, or big plateau of iron. We have moved from a sweet, sugary, natural process coffee, to a washed coffee. The Chapadao de Ferro, by the way, took second place in the Cup of Cerrado, we are told. Our new espresso is also full in your mouth, and much of this is due to the varietal, bourbon.

Bourbon is an older varietal. The seeds are fatter, more round, and the sugar in the cherry is distributed a little more evenly in the seed, or bean. Bourbon varietals are very full and well rounded, with a nice depth in the acidity. This coffee we call red bourbon because the cherrys, when ripe, are red, generally the case for coffee cherries, but there are also strains such as yellow and orange, and of course each different varietal of coffee has its own depth of color.

This morning, besides roasting a ton, and booking it around town, I got a chance to taste our espresso in action at both the Little Red Bike Cafe, and the Half and Half Cafe. I am so excited for this new espresso. The Chapadao de Ferro was lovely and fun, but super sugary. El Borbollon carries more bass, and also more of a chocolaty depth, citrusy orange. Natasha, of the H&H Cafe, made me a shot that lingered awesomely my entire ride back. I am hugely excited for this new espresso of the future.

What work is

Monday, October 5th, 2009

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Six batches roasted this morning. Trying to lock down the perfect roast always. Today we roasted the last batch of our current espresso, Brazil Cerrado faz. Chapadao de Ferro, as well as the first batch of our new espresso, El Salvador Borbollon. Then three batches of Guatemala finca las Nubes were done nicely, followed by one batch of decaf coffee.

We have been cupping production roasts a ton, usually 3-4 days out of roast to give them time to open. There was one really spectacular roast of the finca Alaska on the 19th of September that stands out clearly and where I have been trying to work my way back. I have been reducing the amount of coffee I have been dropping into the roaster lately, as well as the initial temperature, trying to gain more control and leverage with my heat. Our batch sizes are now 15-16 pounds, yeilding 12-13 pounds each batch. Average roast time is 12-13 minutes. Pictured above is the underside of the gas jets.

Last night I pulled off one really beautiful roast of the finca Alaska, followed by one that might not be as classically beautiful. The second roast was pulled shorter than I intended. It has absolutely awesome floral aromatics and a nice sugar sweetness, but is a very light roast. If we had a shop of our own we would definitely serve this, but it might be too light for our accounts. I found this roast super savory and a little meaty, like rabbit, with a juicy juicy body. One cup packs a wallop of caffeine, and i think its awesome, but alas. Come over and I will press some up for you.

It was a cold crisp day for bike deliveries. My throat is soar from yelling and cheering at the cyclocross races yesterday. Courier biked up coffee and ceramic cups and held down the Veloshop tent. Today our workshop is nice and warm from the roasting. The plan for the day is more cupping and tasting and biking!

New coffee and lightning socks

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

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New coffee arrived Monday at CCR. It was delivered by a huge semi-truck. We were perhaps mistaken when we said that Courier received its first semi-truck delivery one month ago. Looking back I see that the cab and truck on our last delivery were one, and that it perhaps was not the genuine article. Monday our first honest to goodness semi-truck arrived, bringing literally a ton of coffee (2000 lbs) at one in the afternoon. It was perhaps magical that Alex and I caught the truck at all. We had just pressed some coffee, the day was bright and beautiful. Standing in our shop, we heard/felt the truck. Both our heads turned, catching sight of its logo. Trucks had been visiting Hawthorne all day, but this was different. We did not recognize the branding, and the truck noise had stopped. Alex and I without words, started slowly walking out, through the parking lot. Thats our truck!!

It was impressive to see the truck back into our neighbors parking lot, during their noon rush. Between the telephone poll and the metal posts sunk into the lot it was tight. Our driver totally rocked! Otherwise we would have had to stack our bags in the middle of the boulevard. There was no lift gate, and no palette jack. We carried the coffee to the dge of the truck where Alex rolled it off to stack. Enter Matt Sperry, just arriving to work after a long night at the hospital, perfect. Then we had a great time moving our new coffees to the cellar.

El Salvador Palo de Compana finca Alaska- red and orange bourbon varietals. Super full in your mouth, juicy, spice, red wine, oak, smoky. The sugars remind me of wine sugars. Although this is a washed coffee, the fruit sugars are big. It reminds us of perhaps syrah, with hints of spice and oak. When the cup is hot we find tangerine, kumquats, and lively citrus. There are all sorts of juice notes as the cup cools. Roasting this coffee is going to be rad.

Also, there were other coffees on the truck. One might be on bar at Little Red Bike 4823 N. Lombard tomorrow morning- limited.

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Alex bikes new espresso: Brazil Cerrado fazenda Chapadao de Ferro

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

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Alex left this morning with 63 pounds of coffee. He has two stops downtown, an office, and Half and Half Cafe, before crossing the Broadway bridge and biking out Interstate to Little Red Bike Cafe. From there he goes to Cafe Under the Bridge, crossing the St. Johns Bridge and bombing down highway 30 back to downtown Portland. Making a few checks/deliveries in downtown Alex then goes to deliver coffee to Produce Row Cafe, followed by the crepe cart on 12th and Hawthorne, Perierra Creperie.

Alex is bringing the last few pounds of our current espresso to LRBC and H&H, along with our brand new espresso: Chapadao de Ferro. H&H will be getting into this last batch pretty much immediately, while LRBC will tap into it mid Friday. Then it will be time for something fresh and radically different, a single origin, natural process coffee, from Cerrado, Brazil. The family farm, or fazenda, is named for the huge volcanic plateau on which it rests. Chapadao de Ferro, in Portuguese, literally translates to ‘really big plateau of iron.’ The plateau is the highest elevation in all of Cerrado, and the mineral content in the coffee is apparent. Fazenda Chapadao de Ferro is run by the Delarisse family, who raise cattle as well as coffee, very common we hear for this area. The espresso we are sending out today is a 50/50 mix of two roasts that are each slightly different, roasted yesterday at 255pm. Moving to a traditional natural process coffee the espresso should be more sweet and full, and totally different.

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text from Evan of LRBC: Esp@h+h is killer!

Monday, August 10th, 2009

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Espresso is four days out today.

espresso like mashed up flowers, then brunch

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

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Ray of Little Red Bike Cafe made me a wonderful espresso like mashed up flower petals. I wish I had a flower expert to bike around with me and help me with the floralness in my mouth. All I can say is that the flowers are purple and not bitter like i feel they should be. there is also a chlorophyll vibrancy from the juice coming up the stems. Perhaps it is like sucking the juice right out of the stems?

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I had a cute couple sitting next to me having brunch, so i took pictures of their food. The French toast looked awesome, good choice. I had the home-made granola with honeyed yogurt, but was starving so neglected to take a photo. However I pocketed a blueberry scone for later, the scones were gigantic today.

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Today was bridgepedal, hey bike friends! My ride was pretty interesting, leading me up to Belmont Station. Much dish washing, books, roasting, packaging, bottling, and delivering.

double, skating on our third to last batch of espresso

Saturday, August 8th, 2009

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Roasted the second to last batch of current espresso last night. The final batch will be tiny. My double espresso, made by Natasha, was super smooth and a little salty, much darkness in the crema, slight floral aroma, thick in the mouth. Espresso at both the H&H and LRBC tomorrow will be of the 6th.

Enjoyed this sandwich at the H&H midday, thanks!

espresso run

Friday, August 7th, 2009

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Floral aroma, tart fruit in mouth, smooth silky feel. Woody earth from the Sulawesi Toraja not present. Perhaps Sulawesi contributing more to mouthfeel, saltyness? 2 days out of roast like drinking mashed up violets, like you are not supposed to be drinking it. Thick mouthfeel. Saturday LRBC and the H&H should be on espresso roasted 2pm Thursday- 50/50 Sulawesi Toraja gr1, January arrival and Ethiopia Sidamo semi-washed, summer 08 arrival.

I show up just in time for the coffee to be pressed. Brian working the sandwiches open face. Jeff adding thin slices of cheese. Natasha makes me a double espresso, which compares very well with my first two of the day served by Ray of LRBC. The espresso was lovely.

cold brew coffee: Guatemala Esquipulas de Chiquimula finca las Nubes

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

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2 pounds coffee to 10 liters cold tap water. Mixed at 7pm, steeping at 39F, hopefully straining with 23 karat gold filter 10am. I kind of made this with intent to bring it down to Perierra Creperie this afternoon, served cold, not with ice, but anything could happen. I am not even sure it will turn out. The kids at the Creperie just looked so hot.

Little Red Bike Cafe also cold brewing Finca Las Nubes this weekend!!!