Archive for April, 2016

single lot espresso

Friday, April 29th, 2016

while redrafting our coffeebar menu for 923 sw Oak discussion arose about the next five years of minimum wage increase, and increasing pricing on the menu. In eight years minimum wages will be above 14 an hour, and there will be tips on top of that- but what will a cup of coffee cost. we know about the 5 dollar costs of pourover coffee in LA, and the 8 dollar coffee in Japan. Perhaps a lot of the thought work should be focused on relative prices in the area- if everyone sells a 5 dollar cup of drip coffee then customers will not feel bad. Its a different story comparing even a dollar difference. I now feel easy about a 5 dollar pint of beer, but not as easy about 6. The talk of wages is very important. Its also important to know that someone who earns 15 dollars a day in the service industry, and someone who earns 15 dollars a day in a desk job- they both take home different amounts of money. dollar for dollar the service people always will take home more because in Oregon the rule of thumb is not to claim all of the tips on your tax return. Income tax, Social Security, and Medicare take a big split of what does not go into a workers pocket. Desk workers probably know that a large chunk of income goes to pay taxes, but service industry people avoid those taxes, and receive in the end more for their money per hour. Maybe this is well deserved, but lets think about what that money will buy you.

Our espresso has been simple, which we think is perhaps more imperfect, and more beautiful. Espresso blends in Portland are often made with more than three coffees, which are usually shrouded in secrecy, because they are protecting their blend against other roasters? or because they are using their cheap coffee, or to get rid of their overstock? Maybe they do none of these things but they surely are not being honest. Honesty may not be the best term but can they tell you the ratio, how much they paid the farmer, and can they tell you if they purchased the coffee intentionally because it was lovely or was it a mistake and they are masking the flavors in a blend. actually many many roasters focus on using cheaper coffees. Is espresso made by us totally awesome- no- but there is a certain beauty in it we believe. Our espresso today- the Kochere, Yirgacheffe- cost us 4.75 a pound green, add on top of that a 20% increase for mass loss during roasting as water weight (among other compounds)escapes. sometimes we also hear that a coffee is too nice for espresso. But on our end each coffee, we feel, tastes or behaves better. I guess that is what we want to do, provide something enjoyable.

In other news….

There has been a level of genius/lo-tec in our labels. We have been hard pressed to do away with packaging waste, material waste, while also making a label which looks ok. I think the material we are using now is for painters tape. it is paper with a gummy back. different than a sticker, although i wonder if it is not vegan (hmm). as of this week we just gave up stamping our jars and have attempted to print on this roll paper stock. It is considerably difficult to get it to feed correctly, but the image looks crisp. You will notice this new label on the shelves and on your porch. We are unsure how the toner will hold up, but it truly is a timesaver and looks great.

Nice Package –

Sunday, April 10th, 2016

There is a new coffee package on the shelf at your local grocery store- from more than a few different roasters using the words “biodegradable”. But how can polyethylene be biodegradable?

Polyethylene is plastic. it is used to line milk cartons, and coffee cups. There are paper coffee bags that are lined with polyethylene, and in general it is a thin plastic film, used for plastic bags- probably with BSP. We are almost positive that plastic is not biodegradable- but that word has many definitions which do not exactly match up with ecological sustainability. The question at each step is- is this necessary.

The long and short is that no- coffee is not necessary. We started this business as a vice. a necessary evil tied up in the economics of global trade, displacement, colonialism, Christianity, world wars, and plastic packaging. Let us even mention the large amounts of fossil fuels roasting, those roasters who choose to heat their space with a roaster while also running air conditioning. To their defense let us look toward a time when having ice and refrigeration are considered wasteful.

Let us be thoughtful. we should not believe these smooth words like Biodegradable. we should be thinking of the impact of what we do. Maybe bring your own cup to the coffee shop? We certainly appreciate you who appreciate. I really do not like having to sell coffee cups and plastic lids. What would make us most happy is to be part of a business where more than not we see thoughtfulness, and mindfulness.

Great- now that we have guilt tripped you, let us tell you…. This past week we ordered ten cases of mason jars from Target, which were shipped in eight large boxes, each containing two smaller boxes, each box containing one box of 12, quart mason jars. These are remarkably cheap. we are not even able to wholesale directly from the company for this price. The company is called Jardin corporation and they own kerr, ball and 20 other different companies. right now its a moral dilema where to get glass from.

We also received nine N44g Shure Phono Styluses, samples of coffee from El Salvador, parts from Synesso espresso machine manufacturer, and tires from bike tires direct.