Archive for November, 2009

The crazy thing is our distribution is by bicycle

Monday, November 30th, 2009
IMGP3094 by you.

We have some lovely coffees stacking up in our cellar. Green coffee typically comes in bags of 132-150 pounds. We roast coffee as it comes as a crop and as a distinct lot. Fresh green coffee is certainly much more tasty than 9 month old green coffee. When it arrives afloat there is a lot of vibrancy and definition. Three months down the road and it does not have the sparkle. Some of the high notes and the definition in the acidity are leaving. Six months and flavors have definitely mellowed.

Some people have called and have been asking about specific coffees from last year. Well, those coffees will never be the same again, but we are happy you remember. We purchase coffee as it comes in, seasonally. Sometimes the lot size (amount of bags) is exceptionally small, and the amount available is always limited. Lately we have been purchasing a little more of everything so that there is a chance for coffees you remember recently to still be around. We have taped up our list of offerings on our workshop door (behind the house of 4019 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd). This list will be updated, and in a few days we will post a revised list here.

IMGP3059 by you.

On the workshop/bike front-

Our cargo bike (made by C.A.T.) has new brakepads, incredibly important, and a new rear tire. We are waffling on replacing our dying front hub (slowly) with either a Phil to match the rear, or one of those dynamo hubs (like from Peter White Cycles). This is a tough call.

Our workshop at one point last night had six espresso machines, but now we are back to five. There is now one super clean espresso machine out in Portland.

IMGP3010 by you.

IMGP2979 by you.

As always we roast coffee daily, but only a few hours each day, usually in the morning to warm up the room. Special orders welcome. Questions welcome. If you would like to pick up coffee from us feel free to call us on the phone (545-6444 my cell)

Thank You

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009
IMGP2608 by you.

Thank you. We are kind of out of appropriate pictures. This picture is all about bringing an aluminum alloy up to 700 degrees Fahrenheit. That was before we found out that Propane cannot reach such high temperatures, and before we purchased the Oxygen. But seriously, thank you!

weekend machine work, fresh finca Alaska at the H&H today.

Monday, November 23rd, 2009
IMGP4256 by you.

People visited our workshop over the weekend and purchased coffee. We were detailing a two group Synesso espresso machine both Saturday and Sunday, imagine tiny toothbrushes and abrasive pads. Having people stop by was wonderful.

This morning a lovely roast of El Salvador finca Alaska was pulled off and sent to the Half & Half Cafe, 923 sw Oak. This came along with some Guatemala finca Las Nubes, roasted Sunday afternoon.

IMGP4251 by you.

The first picture is a brew boiler for a Synesso espresso machine. Heating element, temperature probe, shaft leading up to the grouphead itself. Then a picture of the stainless steel tubing that brings water into the brew boiler. The shorter length of tube is a service drain for the brew boiler and it only stubs out a little into the boiler, unlike the water inlet reaching into 2/3rds the length of the boiler.
IMGP4270 by you.

Today we have some big decisions to make about what new coffees to purchase. Five samples sit on the table. Alex is on the cargo bike downtown delivering coffee to offices, as soon as he gets back we will probably cup everything.

grouphead screen retainer clips la San Marco

Friday, November 20th, 2009
IMGP4235 by you.
The last two nights I have been roasting samples at home, in my first production roaster, a solid steel drum, pictures here. This means that we have been getting samples of coffee, that we have been cupping samples at our shop, and that decisions are being made about new coffees to purchase.
IMGP4238 by you.

whew, now that we have updated everyone on the exciting news lets talk about these grouphead screen retaining clips for the San Marco Leva. The black clip is a genuine San Marco part, relatively stiff, 2mm thick, ferrous steel. The shiny clip is stainless spring steel, hand made in Portland, Oregon and 1.35mm thick. The stainless clip was made by Arthur Springer, who runs an espresso machine repair business with his wife, Suzy, and we think Arthur is awesome. Arthur works on older CMA machines along with La San Marcos, and he has a great history on many machines in Portland. If we find a commercial machine and want to know more about it we call Arthur. If we need vintage parts we call Arthur. And, well, if you need these retainer springs perhaps you should him too, or better, make them yourself (our number is on our main page).

Our 1981 San Marco Leva has a noticeable stepped groove where the retainer clip should fit. The deeper part of the channel is thinner, but then there is a shallower, wider channel overlapping the other. We think this is because the older machines originally used thinner retainer clips, but then San Marco changed its clip thickness. The current LSM clips are stiff and require a heavy duty set of ring pliers. These new clips rust, and while the tool to insert them is easy, they do not sit in the channel nicely, but rather hold by main force to a thin edge. Basically they do not work well.

IMGP4226 by you.

so, much work.

good press

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009
IMGP4074 by you.

Heidi Swift wrote a rad article on Courier Coffee that came out in Sundays Oregonian in the Travel section, check it out here. Complete photo gallery here. Heidi also wrote about us here, on her blog The Everyday Athlete.

On the coffee front we have some new samples coming to us from Royal Coffee. Particularly we are excited about coffee from the Cenaproc cooperative in Bolivia. We carried coffee from this cooperative last year and it was fantastic, perhaps one of our favorites from 2008, besides the Koratie cooperative coffee, Ethiopia. Royal only purchased one container this year, hoping there is some left for us by the time we roast and cup the sample.

Currently in our cellar we are offering..

Flores Bajawa Ngura (where Ngura means wet-hulled), organically grown

Ethiopia grade 2 (washed) Yirgacheffe, Oromia cooperative, org grown.

El Salvador Palo De Campana finca Alaska.

El Salvador Borbollon (red bourbon varietal) fincas la Reforma & el Cerro for espresso only.

Guatemala Esquipulas de Chiquimula finca Las Nubes.

Decaf Chiapas Mexico ORPAE cooperative, org grown, water process decaf.

Now we should say that while we have these coffees, they are not always roasted, or being roasted everyday. Half and Half Cafe, Little Red Bike Cafe, and Eastmoreland Market all retail our coffee. Walk ins are welcome at our workshop, but it is always best to call ahead to make sure we have what you want roasted.

more than roasting biking coffee, or the inside of the Synesso steam boiler

Thursday, November 12th, 2009
IMGP4201 by you.

Roasting coffee, and working with coffee friends is a big part of the work. Supporting all things coffee is another part of the work, including espresso machines.

IMGP4190 by you.

This is a three year old Synesso Cyncra steam boiler, after running solution through to remove the mineral deposits. We think the sandy looking grit is residual crystal silicate of some kind, but really we are just making this stuff up as we go.

You can see the two stainless steel tubes coming out dead level at the waterline, these lead across the boiler and out the other side. They angle up in an upside down V, to keep out of the steam, and avoid the water line where precipitant forms. These tubes lead to the individual brew boilers, preheating the water, sometimes referred to as heat-exchangers.

IMGP4194 by you.

workshop

Sunday, November 8th, 2009
IMGP4169 by you.

The last five days have been intense. First off the rain has been killer. Saturday our green coffee storeroom flooded with water. Yes, all our downspouts are connected, and we have taken measures to divert water away from the foundation of the building. We are a little obsessive about these things, and not a day goes by without checking downspout connections.

Green coffee is kind of our lifeblood. We have over four thousand pounds of coffee at the moment in our cellar, because it is stable environment. Our cellar is dark, cool, and relatively dry. It is nice smelling, no must, and very clean. Twice in the past water has flooded our basement. Everything is kept on palettes up off the floor, away from the wall, and evenly spaced. Luckily yesterday the water was caught as it started to flood, but oh man, the water. Much work kept the pallets themselves from getting wet. 30 liters of water were removed from the floor.

IMGP4170 by you.

Saturday was just torrential rain. Friday was rainy as well, which is why we felt a little guilty over quarantining an espresso machine, not belonging to us, outside. Pictured somewhere, you will see that we have five espresso machines in our workshop, FIVE espresso machines! The fact that we had to emergency ditch one outside has kind of freaked us out, but we had to as soon as we found signs of mice inside. We will not have that kind of stuff in our workshop! This machine must be fully cleaned before it re-enters, meaning ALL of its parts are going to have to removed and cleaned, that is a ton of work.

IMGP4172 by you.

The Synesso espresso machine, or the one we have been shooting detail pictures of, came on Thursday, along with practically the entire crew from Coffee House NW. We are checking over the machine with them, and removing calcium and mineral buildup from the boilers.

So all these machines have made our workshop kind of rad. Currently our copper bar is spilling over with machine parts for the Synesso. At least one of the class-H valves is dead, perhaps a check valve needs rebuilding. The picture below shows a removed class-H solenoid valve. It is a compact stainless steel valve with Viton seal, and its natural position, or de-energized position is closed. Yesterday we reworked the valve a few times to see if there was a way around complete replacement, and to learn more about seats and seals.

IMGP4178 by you.

The workshop has been super busy. We are all trying to sleep a ton to ward off illness, but there is a lot on the table. Feel free to stop by and check our progress.

fall

Thursday, November 5th, 2009
IMGP4133 by you.

We lock the cargo bike up at night.

IMGP4138 by you.

steering column, wonder how the loose balls are doing in there.

IMGP4106 by you.


putting new studs on our Funn pedals after having scrapped most of them off on curbs of concrete.  Funn studs are by far the sharpest and the gripiest, however we replaced them with some other ones we will now have to file sharp, it is probably time for a trip to GENERAL THREADED (the most awesome threaded place in Portland).
IMGP4125 by you.


There was this legendary kid who used to do freeride with this same bottom bracket, but now it is on one of our delivery bikes!