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          Archive for July, 2009

          Blueberry Button Espresso now being served at Little Red Bike Cafe

          Friday, July 31st, 2009

          Multiple text messages, on my phone, as I pedal away from Hash Restaurant. “Espresso from the 27th is like pressing the blueberry button,” Ray of LRBC texts. I forward this note to Natasha and Jeff of the Half and Half Cafe, who I know are also making espresso of the 27th. Ray also approves of the Guatemala Las Nubes roasted the 28th, “light-bodied but has a nice tangerine sweetness.” Then, “super juicy,” blinks on my phone.

          Espresso roasted on the 27th will be served Saturday at LRBC and Half & Half Cafe, until it is gone. Then we move on to todays 7:33am batch. Our espresso is still a 50/50 mix of semi-washed Ethiopia Sidamo and Sulawesi Toraja grade 1. We have maybe a few weeks of this mix at best. Tomorrow morning I am going to go check the calibration, of both the H&H and LRBC, on their Synesso Cyncra espresso machines, and have some espresso!! Little Red Bike Cafe should be extracting their espresso a little hotter than H&H, but i would like to check their brew pressure as well. 200.5F Ray? Our new coffee, Guatemala Esquipulas de Chiquimula finca las Nubes, is also now available at both cafes.

          thirteen hour days in the heat wave

          Thursday, July 30th, 2009

          At home savoring the last batch of the Guatemala Huehuetenango finca Palhu. Strangely it was better than ever this morning. At work we are digging the Guatemala Esquipulas de Chiquimula finca las Nubes, late July crop arrival. This coffee has more weight in the mouth over the Palhu, but still has a medium to light body. We have still only one mornings worth of production roasts of the Las Nubes. Tuesday morning we turned out three very similar, yet different batches, and we will do a few more at 5am Friday.

          Our workshop is not air-conditioned, but our green coffee store room is. The last 48hrs our cellar has been struggling at 62F and 74%RH. Before that we were at 70%RH steadily. Roasted coffee moves immediately to the cellar, unless it is going out, where it will stay until delivery.

          As a rule of thumb we do not let our coffee sit at our clients places past seven days. We have been very tight with the amount of coffee we deliver lately, especially at shops where the temperature climbs at night. We would be lying if we said that all our clients store their coffee cool at night, for some this is just a product of the summer heat wave. However, since we are small we may do daily deliveries when it makes sense. Yesterday afternoon we just biked around to say “hi” to some of our clients, and check in on the coffee.

          Coffee, work, Sprout Cycles rack filled with gold

          Monday, July 27th, 2009

          Yesterday we roasted the last batch of Guatemala finca Palhu. It was a nice coffee, some people really loved it.

          Tomorrow morning a new lot of Guatemala coffee arrives from finca las Nubes. Alex will be biking St. Johns, while I will be waiting expectantly. Since it is super hot we will be moving most of our roasting to around 5am.

          Today we are going to shuffle espresso machines around. Bringing the Half & Half’s first espresso machine back to life. We may even fire up the 3 group San Marco Leva.

          Here are some parting photos of my Sprout Cycle Rack, recently mended by Edwin Brown, who is now preparing for the Oregon Manifest handmade bike show.

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          friday and saturday

          Sunday, July 26th, 2009

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          Sample roasting Friday evening after work.

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          Saturday morning Daphne, Matt Sperry, and I, cup samples before joining Sam Adams in the Division/ Clinton street parade.

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          After the parade we head to the crepe cart on 12th and Hawthorne. What a beautiful day.


          Friday, July 24th, 2009

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          Free Courier Coffee at the Portland Zine Symposium this weekend. Smith Ballroom PSU, opens at 2pm today. Sat and Sunday starts at 10am. Bring a cup from home.

          Navarre serving Sumatra Toba Lintong this week, roasted today, cups provided, fancy. This was a beautiful roast.

          Perierra Creperie serving Guatemala Huehuetenango finca Palhu, roasted thursday till 3am, bring your own cup.

          Saturday morning Courier Coffee will join Sam Adams in the Division Clinton street fair 10:45am start. We will be wearing the color green, and some other bike businesses will join.

          Espresso has changed to a 50/50 mix of Ethiopia Sidamo semi-washed organically grown coffee and Sulawesi Toraja grade 1.

          Monday a new coffee arrives at our workshop. Guatemala finca los Nubes and we are ready and excited. This past week has been a rush, Courier has been working on four seperate Synesso espresso machines, and its been a blast. Sprout Cycle has laid more gold inside our porteur rack, and it is ready for pick up. Time to bike downtown for the final deliveries of friday. You might find me having a beer and roasting samples of coffee in my garage after work. Best joel ccr

          Our LSM 2 group Leva

          Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

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          Introducing our La San Marco Leva 2 group, type 80, 1983. We spotted this on 30th and Belmont in 2002. A few owners later and we purchased the machine. Now we use it in our shop.

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          The LSM Leva has the ability to do one thing very well, to provide smooth and stable water flow to the brew groups. No Marzocco, or Synesso, or Slayer can match it. These newer machines definitely are advantageous, but no machine except a lever completely isolates the brew water from the brew line. Isolation means that for the majority of the duration of an espresso being pulled the brew water is completely separated from the water line.

          The LSM Leva is a spring/piston lever. When the lever is vertical and the machine at rest, the piston is almost touching the shower screen. Pull the lever down and the piston raises, at the same time compacting two large springs. There is a point at the bottom of the pull where a part of the piston assembly, that has been pulled up, contacts a cam, opening a water valve, letting water into the shaft. The valve opening is controllable by the degree that the lever is pulled down. The valve opening is immediately next to the shaft. When the cavity is filled with water, the lever may be released and the spring exerts pressure on the column of brew water, pushing through the coffee. As soon as the lever is released, pressure on the cam stops and the valve is shut, completely isolating the column of water as it gets pushed through the grounds.

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          The fat tube leading to the back right of the steam boiler, carries cold incoming water into a heat exchanger tube, that hangs in the roof of the steam boiler, up in the steam. You can see where it exits the back left of the boiler and branches out to each group. The group has a cavity that is full of water, waiting at the valve to be let into the shaft. This cavity extends into the steam boiler in a dead end pipe. How efficient this is at keeping the water temperature stable we only have a feeling.

          Anyway, this is the machine we use at our shop. We make experimental espresso’s, serve friends, occasionally take it apart and rebuild. When Matt Sperry started he rebuilt this machine. Now Alex is working on our three group, between deliveries and roasting/apprenticing.

          coffee delivery

          Monday, July 20th, 2009

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          so far H&H is open tomorrow

          Friday, July 17th, 2009

          wicked hot today. They have a Terminal Gravity special going at Belmont Station, 45th and Stark. $7.50 a six-pack. Someone updated us that some taps are new at Liberty Glass, and one of them is amazing.

          Its now twelve hours into my day at Courier Coffee, last delivery to the kid who washes dishes at Dovevivi Pizza. I will be at the Half and Half at 8 a.m. with fresh espresso and coffee.

          Thanks to Chris Merkel today for making the trip up to Multnomah with my rack. Tomorrow night come have a beer with me at em-space, 407 se Ivon six pm. The event is called BRIDGES and its an art show from 6-9pm.

          Half & Half closed, repair work continues. Bike maintenace, coffee future, espresso update.

          Friday, July 17th, 2009

          Half & Half Cafe closed again today. Repair work continues below the sidewalk of Veloshop. The problem is at the sewer junction where the building’s line meets the City’s, basically on Veloshop’s doorstep. Today there is the possibility of a Barbeque outside Half & Half, if so we will post it here. The outlook this morning is that work will complete today. We will keep you posted.

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          At Courier yesterday we ran around, then finished the day with working on our bikes. The steering tube headset on the cargo bike got a little love. This is the tall vertical shaft that the handlebar stem mounts onto. The lower retainer bearings, and races, got cleaned and repacked with grease. Then we adjusted the headsets. This is a two person job that for us involves a pipe wrench and 5mm allen. Now the shaft is tight and nice and ready to go.

          On the coffee front, we have been cupping and re-cupping samples. We were excited about a promising assortment of green coffee samples from Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Guatemala. All are organically grown, and from cooperatives. Nothing really blew our minds and this at a time when we are super low on coffee. On the up-side we do have a beautiful Guatemalan coffee that arrived somewhere on the west coast yesterday, a carrier has been contracted and we hope to receive later next week.

          Our espresso is about to make a phase change. Two nights ago I roasted the last of the organic natural Sidamo that made 50% of our espresso. We have another Sidamo, but it is different, lacking the vibrancy in the higher notes.

          Half & Half Cafe closed for the day

          Thursday, July 16th, 2009

          Yesterday a sewer pipe broke below Veloshop, affecting most of the block, including the Half & Half Cafe. They will be closed the entire day, while a crew works to repair the damage.

          If anyone needs coffee beans please call our workshop. We are roasting right now for the morning deliveries, and for a delivery later today to Little Red Bike Cafe. This would also be a great time to pilgrimage to the east side food carts and get some Courier at Perierra Creperie-12th and Hawthorne.