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          Archive for May, 2012

          Thursday, May 31st, 2012

          Recalibrating temperature offsets using the Scace device downtown. Our machine has been detuned from factory using two teflon tubes reducing the area of water running through the steam boiler on its way to the brew boilers. The Scace creates a “like real” scenario, by letting through the same amount of water in time as a regular portafilter would (or as would happen with a real espresso). Basically it is a fancy portafilter with a temperature sensor. Whenever adjustments are made with temperature it takes roughly 20 minutes to achieve a new balance. A tenth of a degree in one second intervals is measurable but with low quantifiable accuracy. We really split hairs with trying to get both groups behaving exactly the same, however with proper calibration the Synesso machine comes close.

          So today we dial in our digital temperature read out to match what we think our espresso coffee feels in the portafilter basket. Our pressure with the Scace measures 114 bars. To give everyone an idea this is what we set Extracto up with, where CoffeeHouse NW was a year ago, and where we were a year and a half ago. Pressure like temperature is vital in how the espresso pours.

          Monday, May 28th, 2012

          status update- espresso machine fixed, after a 5am trip to Seattle. It has been a very long day.

          What should have been a box of 100 ohm sensors turned out to be a box of 2000 ohm sensors- problem. Had to drive to Seattle at 5am to pick up the correct part. Arrived at Synesso’s doorstep (the manufacturer) shortly after they opened, picked up the part and fixed ourselves an Americano before driving straight back. Tyler and David worked a double today and we are all closing together. It has been an equally long day at the roastery (Tuesday and Monday deliveries got rolled into one). whew. good news is that we are up and running with both steam boiler elements working beautifully and our one brew group.

          Monday, May 28th, 2012

          Our espresso machine is thankfully overbuilt. Coming off our busiest weeks on bar at Courier (so far) using only half the heating elements on our two group Synesso Cyncra. It is no secret that we have run the last year with only one group head functioning, but it was a surprise to find us using only one and not two heating elements in the steamboiler (with no decrease in quality).

          One of our staff has recently been learning how to steam milk beautifully for drinks. To help her out we turned the steam boiler pressure down by controlling the temperature level at which each element turns on at. The steam boiler is one chamber heated by redundant heating elements that are each controlled by redundant temperature sensors. The boiler has two main outlets for steam (the steam wands), that are also redundant in their own way (but its fun to have two of everything). Our learning pressure is 1.4 bars, which is what the boiler reads when we are steaming milk (1.8bars when the steam valves are closed). Lower pressure in the boiler slows down the process of steaming milk. Some days when we are working and want more or less steam pressure we adjust the temperature settings that our heating elements want to activate at. In the same way we adjust the group/brew temperature on the tiny 1.6 liter boilers that make our espresso when we want more or less extraction.

          Today is probably the day to install a new temperature sensor so that both our elements work properly.

          Sunday, May 20th, 2012

          Hand making each ice cube and straining cold steeped coffee through felt has become a daily ritual at the bar (not to mention sunning tea on our doorway ledge). Last week has been the busiest yet at our bar, and we truly have appreciated everyone who has stopped in for coffee, canele, or simply a glass of water. We thank you for coming.

          Next week we close for Memorial Day (Monday).

          Sunday, May 13th, 2012

          Sunday we work on new t-shirt designs for summer, prep Canele batter, and review. Cold brewing is in full swing, where we cold steep coffee in water for 24 hours, to strain through thick slabs of felt, making the coffee silky and smooth. Cold coffee is heads stronger than espresso poured over ice and cold water. There is more texture to it, and it is simply more substancial as a drink. Our refrigerator is very full of cold brew coffee, and we highly recommend that if you take it to go that you choose glass.

          Pretty soon there will be some pricing changes at our bar. These will be substantial since we work in dollar amounts. The food scene of Portland has left quarters behind and so have we. It is always an awkward moment for us at a bar to receive two quarters back. Mochas and Hot Chocolates and ten oz Lattes are slated to increase. The dollar refill for a cup of coffee will most certainly go away, but currently these are the only items.

          Looking forward to the summer we explore the possibility for a kiosk at 40th and Hawthorne, across the street from New Seasons, running very limited hours.

          Sunday, May 6th, 2012

          Growlers of cold brew coffee now for sale at our bar. Quantity limited, bottled as a concentrate to be cut with water/ice, in sixty four oz mason jars, with ten day shelf life cold. Growlers will be 24 each with additional 2 dollar jar deposit. Pint Mason jars of Cold brew Coffee also readily available to go. Perhaps the perfect beverage to take to the park, river, work or school.

          On the wholesale front PICNIC food cart has reopened at NE 20th and Everette for lunch W-Sun. They are serving our coffee hot. PINE STATE BISCUITS Northeast Portland is serving Courier Coffee alongside Stumptown Coffee, as part of their rotation of local roasters for the next two months.

          This week Veloshop moved out (neighbors). Vanessa Renwick brought us nine more Canele forms from Paris, France. And the bar did a major re shuffling of the refrigeration, following the failure of one of our coolers thermostats (which we repaired). Getting ready for the summer we have doubled our mason jar storage, and have posted a menu on our glass window.

          Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

          May, helicopters for a day, red posters for weeks. Our bank got ravaged in California we heard (Bank of the West). Downtown it was not the news, or customers, or posters, but the sound of helicopters, drawing our attention to the protest that carried on as we drank our coffee.

          May, photography at our bar by New Avenues for Youth. Students were sent into the city with disposable cameras. We invite you over late Thursday (really YOU are invited), and while non of the art is for sale we want our friends to come more familiar with our downtown neighbors. Please check out their website, and of course their photos. Here you are, there are some cameras, take photos and bring them back. We ask you this month to familiarize yourself with your surrounding. There are many kids who are not at home, not at school, and perhaps without obvious options. New Avenues provides constructive resource, check it out.