Archive for December, 2009

snow

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Yesterday it started snowing. Matt Sperry tracing wires on an espresso grinder (Mazzer Robur), making a wire diagram. Alex packaging coffee and attempting to leave. I running acid solution through a 2 group Synesso (espresso machine) for the third time. Then it started to snow.

We received a visitor, Alex (different Alex). She is kind of part of the CCR family. She saw the snow and came over. A little play in the snow. We brought down our mini-bike and did doughnuts in the parking lot. Perfect snowball snow. Back inside we continue on the Synesso and Robur while Alex hangs out. Our Alex has by this time left.

Locking up the roastery I discover my keys are gone. This is hours later. Snow falling the entire time. Five bike lock keys, a few different house keys, keys to our accounts, keys to our shop. After THREE HOURS of raking the entire parking lot very carefully, a phone call is placed to Matt. Going through the parking lot on round two of methodical raking, I give up half way through and take a ten minute nap. Matt and Daphne show up and tell me they are going to look around. One minute later I hear Daphne’s voice, “We found them.”

Courier keeping holiday spirit, or our vintage three group San Marco Leva

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

Weather outside still cold. Mittens, hot drinks, windy bike rides tell us the holidays are still here. The streets were calmer this weekend, but places like Powell’s City of Books were bustling harder than ever. We spotted people traveling more often in groups than in ones and twos. This was most noticeable when looking into cars. People together equals holiday spirit to us.

At Courier we have many exciting side projects keeping us busy in the warmth of the roastery. One of them our La San Marco Spring/Lever two group from 1981. It is now propped on bricks sitting on recycled rubber pads. A stainless steel Synesso drain tray has been temporarily re-purposed to move water from drainbox to sink. We have been grinding and dosing with a Robur 110v grinder, wired with Delta fractional second timer. Last week we adjusted our incoming water line pressure to 25psi. This week we increased line pressure to 40psi, while adjusting the roller cam set screw down. At the peak of the eyelets contact with roller cam, water flow now approximates what we would see at the Half & Half Cafe, or the Little Red Bike Cafe. This is not set exactly and so tomorrow we will measure water volume vs. time.

There is an obvious source of channeling currently, in how we have our group set up. There is a notch at the bottom of every San Marco piston shaft, level at where the screen is held by the retaining clip. Water at pressure wants to go toward this gap, putting more force at the coffee grounds immediately below. Instead of water pressing equally through the puck of grounds locked into the portafilter, more water is pressed through the point of weakness. This part is getting over extracted, so that after all the goodness is pressed out, the awful bitterness is also pressed out. Technique may of course make up for this with the Leva, but why not make it better. Theoretically once the cavity of air above the coffee grounds fills, pressure equalizes between the line and the cavity. The cavity still has its own pressure barrier, the screen.

More positive forces at work this winter include a few new coffee friends serving Courier. Foster Burger opens soon, where Cava once was on 53rd and Foster.  Burgers, Milkshakes, rock and roll! Also Dovetail Baking opens for retail a few weeks into January, 30th and Alberta. Dovetail will be french pressing Courier Coffee all the time!

Just in time for Christmas

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Peru Rodriguez de Mendoza COOPARM Cooperative coffee fresh at the Half & Half Cafe (12/23). Light chocolaty in mouth, mango citrus aromatic, grown organically. Jeff of H&H has told us twice that he likes this coffee a ton.

Our espresso is changing at the Half & Half today, and Little Red Bike Cafe Christmas day (yes, they are totally open normal hours!). Espresso is now 100% naturally processed (grade 3) Sidamo from the Oromia Cooperative, organically grown. We are in experimental/ prototype mode for this new coffee as espresso, and expect it to be intensely fruited, hopefully awesome.

We are not standing around with beers today. So far this week…. OSHA did a surprise inspection (nobody called it, we were assured it was totally random). Agriculture also inspected us, that was today. Yesterday we did a big clean that lasted forever into the night. Alex clocked an eighteen hour day, and Matt Sperry was called in to help from 5-10pm. We flipped all bags of coffee in our cellar (the big burlap bags of green coffee) to flip flop high and low, compensating for moisture and temperature stratification within the room. Over the last week we have been swimming in projects and happily making headway. Achieving sleep at all is pretty nice. When OSHA arrived thats where I was, asleep in a sitting position, with a fake bear hat to keep my head warm.

Oh, and last night the studded bike tires were useful for the second time this season!

Christmas Eve we will be roasting coffee and delivering it by bicycle super early. In the morning we have a few pick ups, and then we are off. Tomorrow we will mostly roast coffee for our family. Any special orders please call them in tonight. Holiday cheer from all of us at CCR

Coffee at the shops this morning

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Alex left at 7am making the rounds to Little Red Bike Cafe, Under the Bridge Cafe, Half & Half Cafe, and Two Tarts.

Coffee roasted this morning for Little Red Bike- Ethiopia Yirgacheffe gr.2 Oromia cooperative & Guatemala finca las Nubes. The Guatemala is definitely well developed, on the darker side of medium for us, medium heavy, solid medium? Tangerine chocolate orange. The Ethiopia is medium/light, but not super light, on the floral side with a nice mouthfeel. We have definitely been delivering some super light roasts to LRBC, and these are being served. The fresh coffee this morning is perhaps more accessible for people making in their homes and we think crowd pleasers.

Half & Half Cafe will soon be receiving part of the same Guatemala las Nubes batch and Ethiopian batch as LRBC, as well as a full bag of Indonesia Flores Bajawa Ngura (wet-hulled). The Flores holds some darker flavors and is mostly peanut buttery chocolaty in your mouth.

The last of our current espresso is at both LRBC and H&H. On our workbench is a new coffee for espresso- Ethiopia Sidamo Oromia Cooperative, natural process. We also have Kenya Karatina aa coffee, roasted on the darker side of medium, and some El Salvador finca Alaska (close to being the last batch). The El Salvador Alaska will shortly be biked down to Perierra Creperie (12th & Hawthorne), where it is being served french press.

Special orders are welcome. We will be in and out this morning at the workshop, but please call ahead.

weekend

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

Saturday Courier made coffee at the Eyeful Gallery (6th&Everette), which will be closed this week and re-open the Wednesday after Christmas. We pulled our cargo bike into the space bringing stacks of ceramic cups, coffee, grinder, french press.

We then brought coffee to the Half & Half Cafe (923 SW Oak)

Besides biking like crazy around Portland we have found time to grab a beer float at our favorite pizza shop in town, DoveVivi (NE 28th & Glisen 4-10pm everynight). This is our friend Jesse Littlewood, who loved his beer float.

At noon Saturday in BT’s bedroom, BT & Michael Parich, produced a small run (twelve) of Courier shirts in small and medium, printed on cotton American Apparel.

Last minute special coffee orders are still ok. Advance notice would be great. With Christmas coming soon, Little Red Bike Cafe now open seven days a week (including this week!!), and places like the Half & Half Cafe buzzing with people, we are working hard to keep a variety of coffee stocked at each location for retail.

Where Courier gets gifts.

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Currently it is pouring. Alex is downtown riding the cargo bike around. Fresh Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee from the Oromia cooperative, roasted this morning, wrapped with red ribbon, at the Eyeful gallery (9th and Everette). The Dill Pickle Club has set up a gift shop where there are folk/blues records, Sprockette t-shirts, and some cool books on subjects like the history of Portland’s Chinatown.

Alex is also dropping fresh coffee at the Half and Half Cafe, 923 SW Oak. Indonesia Flores Bajawa Ngura, and Oromia cooperative Yirgacheffe. Half and Half Cafe is traditionally where we do our Christmas shopping. Definitely before they even started selling our coffee our friends got Half & Half t-shirts, and later, beer cozies. There was even a time they had Half & Half underwear. They have shirts in six different colors. They also have stocking stuffers located below the register, and this year a load of tapes from Eggy Records.

When you are at the Half & Half, also check out Reading Frenzy, next door.

This year we are ordering a ton of jam made by Little Red Bike Cafe. Check out their blog with mouthwatering pictures of their other food, and maybe some pictures of jam. Perhaps a nice gift for people who love food.

We also want to get T-shirts for our family from DoveVivi. It has been a week or two since we have eaten there, which we figure is alright since we sport their shirts pretty much non-stop.

Now, on the flip side of this, my father loves shopping for me at Veloshop, a bike shop around the corner from Half & Half Cafe. A few people have commented on the bike helmet my dad got me from there for my birthday. It is a Uvex helmet, nice.

And last- Hall Tool. They keep the Knipex tools behind the counter. We also like the Wiha screw drivers, and the Bondhaus allen wrenches. This is one of the many places we frequent in the East side industrial area. They are right across the street from Goodwill.

Seriously- this is where we get our gifts. The photo up-top was taken this morning. A bunch of freight had to be moved 5 miles along our delivery route. In those boxes are a bunch of glass, a Bunn coffee grinder, and a 5 gallon water tower.

glittering night time coffee delivery

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

Last night the streets were sparkling with ice. We have between our front loading cargo bike and my Surly 1×1 one set of Schwalbe Marathon Winter tires, with carbide studs. These offer a lot of rolling resistance, perfect for these icy mornings. Matt and Alex’s bikes run 27inch tires, which unfortunately do not have their own set of studded tires.

We have been tying some of the coffee that goes out with red ribbon. Below is our current offering list. A few coffees are roasted each day as part of 15 pound batches, often we have something roasted here fresh.

Kenya Karatina aa (Nyeri)- spicy, rasberry citrus.

Guatemala finca las Nubes- tobleron chocolate orange

El Salvador finca Alaska- tangerine, kumquat, super juicy and very full sugar

Ethiopia Yirgacheffe grade 2 Oromia cooperative, organically grown- rad.

Indonesia Flores Bajawa Ngura (wet hulled)- peanut buttery, organic grown.

Tuesday we expect two more coffees to arrive and be added to our list. If you would like coffee please just call our number listed on our main page.

Currently we have a nice rotation of coffee going at Half and Half Cafe and Little Red Bike Cafe. Our goal is to always have three different coffees at each. Our espresso is on the way out. Our 100% red bourbon varietal espresso from the Alvarez family, el Salvador, looks like it may be gone by either Christmas or the New Year. We are super in love with this espresso at the moment. Please check it out before it is gone.

gift giving freshness

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Half pounds of coffee make super gifts. They are small, portable, pretty much already wrapped, and the right amount to last a few days (while the coffee is fresh and awesome in your mouth).

We highly recommend getting coffee that has been roasted as close as possible to the date you plan to give it as gift. We think coffee is best enjoyed within seven days of being roasted, kept room temperature, away from draft, and in whole bean form. In these first few days the coffee kind of opens up, peaks, then starts to mellow. There is a freshness to the acidity, meaning the quality of the acidity, not the actual acid content. These first few days are when the coffee should taste like papaya, or tangerines (my examples), or all the wonderful things that you want your coffee to taste like. There is a full spectrum of flavors present and at the very first the coffee shows itself off. As coffee ages it loses its high and low notes. The feel of the coffee in your mouth gets more rounded and syrupy. In the case of ground coffee it ages so quickly that this roundedness happens within a few days (coffee grinders make great gifts too!).

There are some crazy misconceptions that freezing coffee, or refrigerating coffee keeps it good. Do you think anything is as tasty after its been dethawed, or refrigerated? Perhaps if we were in a place where it was impossible to find freshly roasted coffee then we would freeze it, but we live in Portland. There is a roaster on every corner! The refrigerator and the freezer are very dry places. They suck moisture and flavor from the things that go inside them. We do not put tomatoes in the refrigerator for exactly the same reason we do not put coffee in the refrigerator.

As always Little Red Bike Cafe and Half & Half Cafe sell our coffee in whatever amount you should wish. Eastmoreland market also sells our coffee. This year our friend Mark is also selling our coffee at the Eyeful Gallery for the Dill Pickle Club. People are always welcome to pick coffee up at our workshop, and things run a little smoother when orders are called in. Well, often if you drop-in we will have coffee as well. We also do bicycle delivery.

Purchasing our coffee from our friends supports them and supports us. This year we are going to try and set up pre-order lists at each of the above locations for pickup right before the 25th. We really want your coffee as gifts to be fresh. Already one of our major goals is that our coffee shops always have fresh coffee. We do deliveries daily to make everyones timeline, and make sure that our coffee is always enjoyed when its peaking. Holiday orders are totally welcome, and yes when its snowing we will still be biking, albeit perhaps on mini-bikes.

Thursday night heating steel

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Im warming up the roaster right now (4:49pm Thursday evening). Coffee for Little Red Bike Cafe, Half and Half Cafe, Hash (breakfast Sellwood), Veloshop (awesome bike shop downtown, for the bike races at PIR this weekend), Navarre (wine bar- brunch rocks).

Alex is biking coffee deliveries downtown. He went to Perierra Creperie (WHERE WE HAVE JUST SWITCHED UP THE COFFEE!! Sometime between now and 10am they are going to be doing El Salvador finca Las Nubes- HOLD ON COURIER COFFEE UNTILL THREE AM-ROCK!). Alex is currently dropping half pounds at THE CORNER OF 6TH AND EVERETTE, where our friend Mark is selling coffee as part of his project at the Eyefull Gallery. We love Mark, so if you are out tonight, or ALL MONTH LONG, he will be selling half pounds of coffee, and awesome printed matter. Mark is rad please go check him out. Last, Alex is delivering El Salvador Borbollon, fincas las Reforma and El Cerro to the Liberty Glass. The Liberty Glass is a truly special place, off the corner of Mississippi and Fremont, open till 2am. Their food is totally comfort food, and whenever I am hungry, or dying of starvation, I always stop by for a beer on late night deliveries.

The El Salvador finca las Nubes is going to be lovely tomorrow at Perierra Creperie (12th and Hawthorne)- serious. Are they still giving away free coffee with crepes- Hell yeah!

We are excited about this month. Perhaps not so excited about cold toes biking coffee, but we are super excited about beautiful coffee and lovely bike rides. Expect three fresh coffees at Little Red Bike Cafe at opening, and three fresh coffees at Half and Half Cafe shortly after. Mark, our friend will be selling Courier Coffee ALL MONTH long, so go check him out!! Much love and Cheer fromCCR!!!