Archive for June, 2015

Japan trip part 2

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015


New LED edison lightbulb, available only in japan. Very warm like an incandescent.


Bedroom wall at Week- Kamiyama, Tokushima dropping down three stories to the riverbed.


Sapporo, at the top of the winter Olympic ski jump with Organic farmers from Kumamoto, Hey Sapporo, and Amy of Courier/Sapporo


Hey Sapporo Portland/Coffee talk at D & D.


Tokyo streets.


About Life Coffee brewers, serving Amemalia, Onnibus, and Switch. Shibuya- rad. Previously one of the managers was the Tokyo Synesso service tech, very knowledgeable.

Last we guested and spoke with Hey Sapporo, our friends who moved back to their hometown with the radical idea to renovate it. In Japan people do not renovate, they simply tear down and build again. They do have repairs they make, and additions, but restoring older buildings is not mainstream. Repurposing items is definitely something very rare here. Our role was to give people a glimpse of another city, like Portland, but this is hard to imagine in a country where local government makes decisions behind closed doors. We talked in very broad terms about how Portland got to where it is now, not through one person but through private, and public partnership, and many collective groups who each brought to the table their ideas. We also talked about an active government who has done large and small things with the purpose of economic growth such as reducing smog (federal government push), creating natural areas, backing projects that led to downtown development like shopping centers, transit malls, and creating urban improvement zones. Hopefully, through the stories of growing up in Portland, the people we spoke to know a little more about our city and will start asking more of their city.

We stopped in Tokyo for a night, then flew to Tokushima City. Here we talked more, but this time with city officials included. Unlike Hey Sapporo, who wants their city to become more green and sustainable- Tokushima City simply needs some kind of stimulation, since their city is large but the population and business is on the decline. Like Portland was/is Tokushima is a cheap place to live in, the rivers, mountains, and ocean are all close, however the city sprawls. People here complain of dangerous traffic, lack of public transit, and declining city services. All day we held a workshop before heading to Kamiyama, a town nestled in forested hills, on steep roads and slopes sprawling along a tiny valley where we held two coffee workshops.

The outpouring of local roasters in Kamiyama was amazing. We put out the word that at this point we may be running low on coffee to serve, so everyone brought coffee from their roastery. We probably had ten different roasters represented, which we tried to brew. Tokushima University put us up at Week hotel/restaurant- a place to rival Ace Hotel Portland, and not even open yet. The rooms are well designed, and the restaurant has an open kitchen and communal tables, with rotating chefs each night. We kind of made ourselves at home dodging in and out of the kitchen as they prepared dinner for 30 people. They were very interested in pourover technique, the gold filters we used, and roasting style between japan and Portland, which we led a demonstration on followed by sharing a lovely meal together.

At this point we are in Niigata, for the main reason for our trip, the death anniversary of my grandfather and grandmother in-law. Sakiko’s parents are rice and soy farmers (depending on what the federal government tells them to plant each year). The neighboring towns are mostly closed shops. Today we take bikes and ride to Sanjo City to explore what is left. I personally think this would be an awesome place to revitalize. Yesterday we visited the most promising roaster for miles Nakamura Coffee. They are one of the many new roasters using a 10 kilo Probat. Highly recommended. We have visited Snow Peaks Worl Headquarters in Sanjo, but want to see more factories and Sake Breweries. This is our last full day in Niigata before heading back to Tokyo.


Kamiyama house.


tokushima city, biking with students from the University on our 450 Yen a day bikes.

japan trip

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Switch Coffee, Meguro- the quietest roaster.

Nearby, Yoshida Senseis new shop- really good feeling here, a place you will feel welcome at.

In Hayama we make a coffee roaster with parts from the hardware store, and hold a roasting workshop in collaboration with Noninoko Family, and Ends & Means, which includes a bakeshop, coffee bar, rare japan vintage, Himmeli workshop, and Japan made clothing. Many beautiful people.

 

five beans coffee roasters Hayama

back in tokyo, some things are like Portland. Coffee talk in Tokyo, brewing Courier Coffee and talking about Portland and Coffee culture.

We head to Hokaido, where Sapporo is a little more green than other big cities. Meet up with Amy of Courier, who is back in her hometown. Guest speak about Courier and Portland, check out a few of the local coffee roasters.

Our trip to Japan has included speaking at three events, and two roasting workshops. Making and talking about coffee is a blast, and our schedule is pretty structured. We are in Sapporo now, and had a lecture last night, later midnight ramen shop, followed by grocery store beer. In a few days we travel to Tokushima to give another talk. Japanese technology is so so cool, as are their crafts. We have definitely visited our fair share of Kissatens and coffee roasters, and its just a little overwhelming how to transmit all this. all the best-j&s

Monday, June 8th, 2015

New coffee-
Rosario farm El Salvador, Bourbon varietal.
Las Delicias farm, El Salvador, Pacamara varietal.
Decaf Chiapas Mexico organic grown water decaf.

Restock-
Kebel Aricha Mill, Chelelektu, Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia.
Hacienda Supracafe los Naranjos, Cajibio, Cauca, Colombia.
Ikawa Cooperative, Dukorere, Burundi.

We closed last Saturday for staff training, where we kicked off the morning roasting coffee in a steel drum sample roaster in the doorway of 923 sw Oak, before going over pourover technique, and customer service, followed by plating. The end of the day saw us sharing a beer and watching the Starlight Parade marshall. We want to thank you for your understanding in our closing for the day.

I am currently in Chiba, Tokyo, Japan, and am preparing to teach a workshop on home coffee roasting. Yesterday we went to something like Home Depot, yet more comprehensive and less gross. With an empty paint can, a two foot steel bolt, metal cutting scissors and thermometer coming in under $15 we will make our drum roaster today including a hinged doorway to pull samples from. We will then season the roaster by burning it in. The shiny metal of the paint can is less than ideal because we dont want reflective heat so much as conductive, blackbody heat, and of course a heaver steel would be more ideal. And we dont have any mixing vanes yet for the drum, but these issues will all be solved today.

Shopping for green coffee in Tokyo is very easy, but off the shelf price will run $50 for 1000g, and this is past crop coffee. In the US green costs around $12 for 1000g. Keep in mind you can buy Stumptown Coffee here for $30 a pound. The basic end to the math here is that Stumptown coffee shipped from Portland is the same price for green coffee. Actually buying green unroasted coffee here is more expensive than buying roasted coffee. I have yet to wrap my head around the logistics of this, because $30 a pound for roasted coffee is actually on the higher end here for bulk- yet cheap compared to that an average pourover coffee is $5.

Buying green coffee just by looking and smelling, and without cupping is kind of another level for me. Yesterday i basically went on freshness, and visual moisture consistency. We picked out a kenya from last years crop, and a current crop honey processed brazilian (basically on look and smell alone). ill try and post some photos here soon. best joel ccr