review of the Tern GSD- a year later (or how to cheat on your coffee deliveries).. and brief other news at the end.

September 24th, 2019

It felt like 3 years.

16 years ago I did varied super rush deliveries by bike for an office i worked at. ten minutes including the elevator and security- or ten minutes to hand off to a UPS driver who i would catch in traffic. just taking the freight elevator at the big pink building could take 10 minutes! it was somewhere at this time that a “real messenger” told me courier coffee would eventually just buy a car and deliver. before we took the name i asked around the bike messenger community if it would be acceptable. remembering years back when Little Red Bike Cafe started selling “sprockette” and “zoobomb” sandwiches and there was a little concern about it all. in hindsight people who deliver items are all couriers, but here we are and we still dont have a company car, we have a company cargo bike.. And supply our workers with parts, tires, tubes, and of course- coffee. However- i do feel a little older now- so i gifted my partner an electric cargo bike- which i mainly use. it has positive parts and negative.

The Tern GSD is an electric cargo bike, sort of a long tail, but the same length as a 29′r. it weighs approx 80 pounds, and uses a bosch a-b class motor (max 20mph). What I like about the Tern GSD is that it has two 20″ wheels, and a low standover height. i was thinking with a dress it is good. Also that the Bosch motor requires one to pedal to keep it moving- there is no throttle. bonus is the availability of a front rack, built in fenders, and lights. we got ours from Clever Cycles in Portland. I originally got it for my partner, and our daughter….

We live between hills, and instead of walking the bike up we can now ride, with our daughter. The bike is still heavy, and so having passengers still requires strength when starting and stopping to not fall over. 80 pounds, plus at least ten for the kid, and perhaps 20 for your bag. even with the 20″ wheels the weight is high, and the ballance challenging. I am a veteran of the two wheel long john style cargo bike- having done with plenty of load for at least the last 14 years- i think we still somtimes tip, especially when its icy, or when the load is tall. So i can appreciate how its hard for my partner, who has not been biking her entire life.

Having said all this- ive ridden the bike a lot. My back is kind of screwed up, and originally i used that as an excuse. the upright posture though does not actually aid. the low standover height is cool with a dress, but its high enough to be hard to lift a leg over, especially with back issues. this would be an issue on any bike, but it was something i was hoping a 20″ wheel base would cover. On the plus side- the Meguro hydraulic brakes are awesome- the shifting is awesome, having lights front and rear is awesome.

The fenders are poorly thought out- the rear fender will break if you store the bike verticle as intended. my kickstand would have been a liability for any child riding on the bike- mine just broke off with zero load on the bike except itself ( there was a recall which i was not notified of before hand,weird- when it failed they said- oh there was a recall).

the bosch motor i got presents a lot of drag- its actually harder than a normal 80 pound bike without the motor on. ive heard there is a new gen bosch with no drag- ill believe when i see. my bike tipped over one day and the meguro brake lever shattered off- plastic? probably solved with a new kickstand.

My normal ride is a 1×1 surly with a white industries freewheel, saint crank arms, and a front rack, and deore v-brakes. my other ride is a center for appropriate transport front loading cargo bike with saint hydraulics, deore shifting, and other nice things.

as for the Tern- i do love the adjustable front handlebar, for me its been a solid bike. Clever Cycles has been awesome. I brought up the defect thing, but they have been with me every part of the way, and helpful, and responsive. i would highly recommend them.

At the end of the day i feel faster on a non electric bike. since my back hurts i wish ididnt carry 80 pounds with me in the morning- brutal up hill- which is why i steal my partners bike in the morning. but i feel so much more free on my surly 1×1. .. someone told me there is another gen bosch motor with zero drag when its off- i would be interested in that. im certainly interested in not driving, and i feel there is a good place with the bosch motor and the Tern. also riding a mountain bike seems better for the back- the tern is upright, but it has huge balloon tires. still upright is a shock on ones back. This Tern makes me dream of Ahearns Truck Cycle. Although i cant decide over an electric Truck Cycle or a normal one. im kind of tired these days, and ive always always wanted a truck cycle.

we could be hiring?
We have a ton of tea downtown- so please let us know if we can serve it better.
We have agreed to do coffee at wordstock, it will not be pourover, but it will be delicious.
We have a pop up coming in october- farm to table kind of event that will open courier after hours from 7pm until whenever- maybe midnight- organic everything from our friends farm in Sauvie Island. it will be just one evening a week on the weekend. post that soon. first sunday in october is the first day. again- we have loads of tea. so this could be your new hot date spot. I think a good atmosphere- we just have not been able/willing to do late night.

There will be a staff meeting soon- we may (might) shorten our winter hours to 5pm. all days. and we will creatively do this so no one loses hours. I think what everyone wants is to Not pay more for coffee, but have the staff get paid more- am i right? of course with full health benefits… Honestly- truly- this is the dilemma (the problem),. i keep reading the news, and i worry. the economy does affect us. Nothing is really easy, and ive always felt our business is in a catch 22- a book ive read, read over ten times.

im cold..

honestly- that book brings tears now. on the other side i think we are all faced with crises.

oh- global warming… shock…. let us buy things from china,.,, cheaper is better…. we want a decent wage for ourselves, but we dont want to pay others to get that wage.

we will be selfish. trite.

all the innuendo- totally welcome at courier.
i think our biggest hope and goal of the coffee shop is to be welcoming.
our most deep and further goal is without words, and i guess money may i add- that we can convey our feeling and emotions with our coffee and drinks. without words, or sometimes with words, we hope to lift/ brighten your day.

and we want to do this with the best spirit, the best desire. at least thats my vision.


motorcycles in bike lanes

August 15th, 2019


an interesting day, where a motorcycle in a bike lane starting yelling at me. I was on the cargo bike carrying 100 pounds of load, in addition to the 80 pound bike. i believe his exact words were- ” get off the bike and i will fuck you up.”

I was heading south on 10th avenue and he was coming up Sandy. the cars were stopped, but i guess i should have thought- no- motorcycles are in the bike lane.

i yelled for help, and all the drivers looked away and left the scene, and i asked people to video the driver.


i got off my bike, and told him- ok, but the coward fled.

i hope this guy understands that, first of all, dont threaten, and second, if you say it follow through.

perhaps the most important thing-
dont run your motorcycle in the bike lane.

July 21st, 2019

update- dont want to give them too much credit- but 21 days later and 6 visits by comcast we still dont have internet with them.

perhaps you should put your money in bottle, and just address it to us.

We had our first wildfire smoke of the season Saturday, and you bet we have filters for our air intake, and respirators on hand. Only a few noticed i think, but smoke and biking is pretty serious stuff.

there is too much to talk about- we are doing a shaved ice event every week at the shop, housemade, organic, seasonal all. we have a new colombian coffee from Esmerelda farm, yellow bourbon, pitalito, Narino. and two or three coffee arriving this week.

internet crises, and synesso steamwand failure

July 1st, 2019

installed two water filters at courier, and one at a client.

new gaskets on our steamwand valve, and brand new wands. unfortunately synesso shipped us a bad batch of steam wands many years ago, and wants us to eat the cost. heads up- they dont test parts, only built machines. but i dont fault them too much.

we tasted maybe 15 coffees today, and new coffees are on the way.


June 25th, 2019

New flat gaskets on the handwashing sink, New Lucifer brew valve on the right Synesso group head (to eliminate the whisteling)- basically the synthetic ruby seat had gotten chipped, reused the synethic ruby.6mm orifice, or flow restrictor. new gaskets, donuts, and o-rings on the steamvalve for the wand.

I remember hastleing our ice provider, and now christopher brings us the most pristine clear ice blocks for our weekend japanese shaved ice.

we are now about to get a bunch of new coffee, and we are also in some sort of internet provider crises- i have jumped between three venues today just to work.

the best news is at the coffee shop, see you soon- joel

Coffee this three day weekend, AND perhaps a late opening Monday.

May 25th, 2019

There are two coffees roasted today. Alejandra farm, Huila, Colombia. and Twi’ha farm, Chalum lot, Huehuetenango Guatemala. There is also a Gayo Mandiri mill, Sumatra from the 20th, which is fantastic- the roast really highlights the pungent plum aromatics. But both of this mornings roasts are really solid- lighter- medium bodied. We did go through a period of more developed roasts last week, as we learn with the new clean roasting jets.

This Saturday- like all summer Saturdays- the shaved ice went really well. We are starting to store the crystal clear ice blocks at the roastery, and, we hoped everyone enjoyed it. Fresh Rhubarb and Strawberry from Groundworks Organic in Junction City, Oregon (just near Eugene).

Because of the holiday we will most likely open a little later Monday morning, and use that time to prep Muffins, Cookie dough, granola bars for the week. but dont worry, we will probably let you in anyway, if you want, but expect a little more relaxed morning if you pop in.

San Franciscan Roaster gas Jets Cleaned, and thank you for returning your jars.

May 20th, 2019

Last week, for the first time ever, we cleaned the orifices on each of the brass jets for our SF-25. We had been debating our gas flow for months, but finally a week ago our afterburner started to cut out (totally separate issue from the jets). This led us to schedule a day without roasting, midweek- especially important, since supply houses and emergency mailings cut out over the weekend. There were many tiny screws to remove, but starting on the afterburner we are never really sure, but somehow cleaning the spark-plugs, or ignition points, and checking air to the gas- well it worked.

Luckily the afterburner (incinerator) stopped working on some misty and rainy days. Coffee smoke is organic matter, but drops out in mist, or rather gets caught in the water molecules. Coffee smoke is a lot of oils, and carbon, and other gases. Normally we only run our roaster just over 1100 Fahrenheit (593.33 Celsius). which is the magic number where visible particulate matter breaks down, or SMOG. it still smells until 1400 F. (760 C.) It smells but the smoke is clear. Since there has been a roastery here working for at least 25 years, it seems to be ok in the neighborhood (the neighbors mostly do not know we are here).

With the afterburner magically fixed, although we have no idea why, in under 30 minutes, well we thought we would look into our longterm problem. the gas jets.

The reason why we had never undertaken cleaning of all of the tips, is that, in order to remove them you either have to spend a lot of time, very awkwardly, and painfully removing them in place, or, drop the burner itself. Dropping the burner, or the welded square tubing running parallel under the drum requires the removal of the gas line in three points, and gas lines are not exactly our specialty. Since we had the day, why not.

Remarkably, we dropped the burner down so we could access, and after checking the build up on the nipples were about to put it back and give up, but…. and this took us a minute, to discover the tiny pinholes where the gas went through were more than clogged with precipitant, or calcium carbonate i assume. Now. for a long time the front few jets had been very difficult to light. This involved a trick by cutting airflow to ignite all the nipples. But the last year always a few never lit, which we always thought was a draft issue. So, very carefully using a safety pin we cleaned each orifice on each jet. We noticed while re-installing that the threading on the burner was off, and some of the jets had almost been crossthreaded. With the gas lines reinstalled, the results were amazing.

So the last winter we had been doing 3 batches an hour at 12 pounds, and having a hard time with it. Today, after the maintenance we are doing almost 5 batches an hour, and dropping in 18 pounds. This seems more inline with our friends roasting on 1950′s Probats (the ratio of beans on a similar sized drum). When we first started roasting we were dropping 15 pounds and four batches an hour. Cleaning jet orifices has made such a huge huge improvement.

Other news, someone returned about 28 jars the other day- thank you. Please dont recycle your widemouth mason jars but re-use. Selling in glass is hard for us, but glass is preferable to paper, and so so so much better than plastic- as we are the only roaster in portland not packaging in plastic bags, we are excited to offer glass, and to re-use. thank you.

More other news- Japanese shaved ice saturday went smooth. Strawberry Rhubarb was the favorite. more of that next saturday.

Shaved Ice Starts Saturday 11-3, and roastery news

May 16th, 2019


May 11th, 2019

Starting this Saturday, May 11, 2019, Courier Coffee will host the first Concept Capsule by ESPER: a young, Portland-based concept developer inspired by classical anachronism, paradisiacal fanaticism and design simplicity. The installation includes two designs on canvas and limited edition printed T-shirts on 100% cotton.

Find ESPER on Instagram: @Esperusa

Contact Email:

Kakigori summer.

May 7th, 2019

May 18th. get ready.

check us on ssshavedice on instagram for detail.