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How to brew coffee in a moka pot and eating crow.

Posted on February 26, 2016 by St. Johns Coffee | 0 Comments

There are a few things to top off this week's newsletter. First of all, big congrats to our customer, GiGi's Cafe in the Hillsdale neighborhood of Portland. They were included amongst the top 15 breakfast locations in Portland this past week!

Secondly, in addition to now offering fresh-made jams, two days ago we added fresh-made hummus. Many have requested an option to the cream cheese spreads for bagels. The hummus is delicious, very nicely balanced with a nice texture.

There are of course, many ways to brew coffee and we're constantly asked which is the best. One of my personal favorites is the Stove Top Espresso Maker, aka, Moka Pot.

The Moka Pot brews an incredibly rich cup of coffee (I'm not talking mug here). The size categories of Moka Pots is shown in cups but they are referring to demitasse size cups.

Many customers have told me they purchased a Moka Pot but they don't particularly care for the taste because it seems bitter. When asking about their brewing technique, it becomes apparent why this is.

Some have said they've used a powdery fine espresso grind that they've tamped into the filter basket, compacting the powdery grounds similar to what a barista does with a conventional espresso machine with porta filters. 

The first thing to understand is that these Moka Pots are NOT espresso machines and as such, function differently.

A friend forwarded me an article this past week that appeared in Splendid Table and which describes the process of using a Moka Pot. I will include the link so you can read the article. http://www.splendidtable.org/story/tips-great-coffee

However, my method differs from what they suggest so I will attempt to describe that so you can try both approaches and see what works best for you. 

To start with, I fill the base with fresh, cold water up to the bottom of the threads. I then insert the filter basket, hold over the sink and invert the base to dispense any excess water.

The next step is to grind the coffee. After much experimentation, I have settled on a coarser grind than what many suggest. I use a grind just a bit coarser than one would use for a "fine/cone filter" type grind.

I also found that by using less coffee, one gets a better flavor from the Moka Pot. I pour the ground coffee into the filter basket so it forms a bit of a pyramid with the sides tapering down to being about 1/4" below the top of the filter basket.

 Give it a gentle shake to even the grounds then tightly screw  the top half onto the base. I DO NOT TAMP the grounds as is  done with conventional espresso machines with porta filters.

Set the Moka Pot on a burner and set the heat to a medium setting. Do not set to a high setting. Just be patient. This is the perfect time to select your cup and any desired accoutrements (twist of lemon peel, sugar cube, etc.)

Once you start to hear the contents "rumbling", turn off the heat and let the Moka Pot just sit for another minute or so to finish the brewing process.

The final step is to pour into the cup of your choice, grab a copy of the New York Times, sit back and savor the delicious coffee.

As with anything food related, taste is a very subjective thing so I would encourage you to experiment. Just know there is potential for a great cup of coffee from the Moka Pot. 

And this just in.... There have been a few times since the inception of this business where I've had to "eat crow". Well, another of those times has arrived. As most of you know, we used to have "frequent flyer" cards for whole bean coffee as well as beverages.

We received a lot of comments from customers expressing both pros and cons to doing something like that. So, we transitioned to a digital version of customer loyalty program. However, that didn't work nearly as smoothly as I'd hoped so we abandoned the digital version.

I believe rewarding repeat customers is an important aspect of doing business so we have gone BACK to the original punchcard. They just arrived about 30 minutes ago. The details remain the same. After ten purchases of either beans or beverages, the customer will receive a 20% discount toward the purchase of anything we offer.

That's right, anything - cups, hoodies, grinders, etc. Next time you're in, be sure to ask for yours. And, we will continue to honor any of the old "frequent flyer" cards. And, if you'll post a review of us on Yelp, we'll add an additional punch!

Many thanks and keep the coffee flowing!

Mount & Crew

 

Posted in Amistad, anti-oxidents, bagel spreads, bagels, Bialetti, Brazil, Brazil Grota Sao Pedro, caramel, cardamom lattes, Chuck's Produce, coffee, coffee tasting, Colombia Red Ecolsierra, Costa Rica, Costa Rica La Amistad, croissants, Dry process, El Pilon, El Salvador, espresso, Ethiopian, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Fair trade, food options, Frequent flyer cards, GiGi's Cafe, grinders, Guatemala Finca Bourbon, Honduras Alto De Los Santos, hoodies, hummus, jams, latte, logo cups, Mee Mee's Goodies, Moka Pot, Mount Burns, new food items, Organic, real good coffee, roast, Stove Top Espresso Maker

Take time to stop and smell the roses, or coffee in this case!

Posted on February 19, 2016 by St. Johns Coffee | 1 Comment

Customers often seem bewildered when we start describing coffees as having, "notes of macadamia nut, cinnamon, blueberry, anise, etc." I've contended for a long time that a lot of developing those olfactory senses is simply to slow down and take the time to savor what you're tasting and/or experiencing. This principal does apply to many more things than just coffee!

 There are those who just seem to posses  a much more sensitive palate than others.  I don't consider myself to be blessed with  that quality. However, a large part of  developing those senses is a "learned"  trait which benefits from just slowing  down.

Prior to getting into the coffee business, my choice of coffee was primarily based on, "this tastes great or this one doesn't." But that was the extent of my criteria. I never took  time to analyze the characteristics that defined either classification.

As we rapidly approach our 8th year anniversary, I feel I'm finally getting a much better grasp on identifying those various profiles which define the taste of the coffees. 

Just to be clear, I'm not suggesting people turn their morning coffee brewing into a science experiment. I would just encourage you, when you take that next sip of coffee, truly sip it so the coffee hits as many taste buds as it can and ask yourself what is it you're tasting.

If you would like to practice, please  join us tomorrow (Saturday) at 2 pm in our tasting room as we sample three of our newer coffees. The El Salvador El Pilon, the Costa Rica La Amistad and the Rwanda FTO Coopac.

A friend/customer just shared a great article related to this topic. If you care to read more, just click on the following link. It's a quick read but very informative. 

http://www.splendidtable.org/story/stop-and-smell-the-coffee-olfactory-stimulation-might-increase-your-sense-of-smell

A huge congratulations this week to our customer, GiGi's Cafe! They were just included as one of the top 15 breakfast locations in Portland!!! I'd like to think it's because of our coffee but, I'm sure it's more than just that. :) Congratulations Mike and Charlene!

http://pdx.eater.com/maps/best-portland-breakfast-restaurants/gigis-cafe

And finally, we would like to welcome Chuck's Produce & Street Market to our list of grocers in the Vancouver, WA region. Beginning Wednesday, February 24th, our coffees  will be available at their Mill  Plain store. Greg and I just  visited them yesterday  and  it's a beautiful store.

That's it for this week. Many many thanks for your continued support and keep the coffee flowing!

Mount & Crew

 

Posted in Aeropress, Amistad, Baratza, breakfast, caramel, cardamom lattes, Chuck's Produce, coffee tasting, Colombia Red Ecolsierra, Costa Rica, Costa Rica La Amistad, Dry process, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Fair trade, Farm direct, GiGi's Cafe, Guatemala Finca Bourbon, Honduras Alto De Los Santos, latte, Mexican pottery, Organic, pour over, real good coffee, Rwanda, Travel mugs, village patisserie, Yelp

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly!

Posted on February 12, 2016 by St. Johns Coffee | 0 Comments

Well, the outcome of the Super Bowl certainly wasn't what I'd expected? I thought the Panthers were going to run all over the Broncos. Good thing I'm not a betting person. :)

I received an e-mail from Espro (the company who produces the stunning stainless steel French presses we offer) a couple days ago, announcing the introduction of a durable glass French press. As with the stainless steel models, the design is stunning with the advantage of them having a lower price point.

Two models will be available. One will be called the P5 and the other a P3. I'm not sure of the numerical significance. As soon as more information and photos become available, I will certainly share.

The scheduled shipping date is in three weeks and I've already told them I want some so keep your eyes peeled for those.

In other news this week, I learned yesterday my grant application to the St. Johns Mainstreet has been approved so we will soon be adding some additional exterior lighting to the building which I'm very excited about. It will go along the exterior wall facing Ivanhoe Street.

So, I'm going to get up on the proverbial Soapbox for just a minute and talk about The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

Most of you are familiar with Yelp. It's a great resource for obtaining information about businesses one is considering patronizing. St. Johns Coffee Roasters has been very fortunate to have garnered such great Yelp reviews. Until yesterday.

Yesterday we received a scathing review from someone that I feel was completely mean-spirited and wrong. It seems the author had an agenda and didn't have the courage to speak with any of us directly.

That said, I'm not suggesting we're perfect. We make mistakes but I'd like to believe, we do our best to learn from those mistakes and grow. Each of us are very passionate about coffee and the level of service we provide and take those responsibilites very seriously. 

So I just want to put it out there that if when you visit our shop, if your experience is anything less than stellar, please ask for myself or mention something to any staff member. We encourage your feedback, good or bad and I promise you, we will listen.

Taryn just left a few minutes ago to go to the Concordia New Seasons Market to conduct a demo of our line of coffees, sold by New Seasons. If you're in the area of NE 33rd and Killingsworth St., please stop by and say hi.

I think that's it for this week. Have a great weekend and keep the coffee flowing!

Many thanks,

Mount & Crew

 

Posted in Aeropress, Amistad, antioxidents, Baratza, Brazil, breakfast, burlap, caramel, cardamom lattes, coffee tasting, cold brew, Colombia Red Ecolsierra, Costa Rica La Amistad, Delores Hidalgo, El Pilon, El Salvador, Ethiopian, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Fair trade, Farm direct, Guatemala Finca Bourbon, Honduras Alto De Los Santos, hoodies, logo cups, pour over, real good coffee, Rwanda, salads, Travel mugs

Spring is in the air...

Posted on January 29, 2016 by St. Johns Coffee | 0 Comments

This past week has certainly gotten me to thinking about Spring. Warmer temps and a few dry days even allowed for some motorcycle rides beyond just the usual commute. Always a good  thing!

 The shop has been busy this week. A lot of people have  been enjoying the new coffees from Rwanda and El  Salvador. Rightfully so, they're both stellar in their own  rights, both of which are medium roasts. The El Salvador  has a subtle fruitiness with a caramel sweetness and slight  chocolate aftertaste with a velvety texture. The Rwanda is  extremely smooth and syrupy sweet with notes of orange, vanilla and a touch of floral.

And, with the warmer weather, people have been sitting outside, basking in the sun while enjoying their favorite coffee beverage.

For those who didn't see my Facebook post earlier in the week, our friend and customer, Andrew Shroyer hung a new sign for us which he created. It's awesome! Check it out if you haven't yet seen it.

I have a question I would like to pose. Over the course of the past few months, there have been a few folks who have asked about our extending our operating hours into the evenings. I'm just curious if that's something that would appeal to folks? If you have thought/opinions/etc, please e-mail me.

While out completing deliveries, Greg has started spreading the word about St. Johns Coffee Roasters and it appears to be working. There are several prospective customers interested in our coffees. If any of you know of restaurants or cafes who you feel could improve their coffee offerings, we would very much appreciate any referrals.

I met with my web designer this past week and he will be updating our shopping cart with all the new coffees we have in stock so stay posted. That said, it's hard to believe but Valentine's Day will be here before we know it. 

We have a great selection of coffee related gift items, perfect for that special someone. Travel mugs, t-shirts, hoodies, coffee, Mexican pottery, etc. And of course, there's Bestow for all your floral needs.

And in March, another jazz concert at Classic Pianos.

Monday March 7th at 7:00 pm, George Fendel presents - Rebecca Kilgore, singing songs associated with Susannah McCorkle, featuring Randy Porter on piano with special guest, Marc Fendel on alto sax.

Classic Pianos is located at 3030 SE Milwaukie Ave, (corner of SE Powell Blvd and Milwaukie Ave.), next door to the Aladdin Theatre. Concerts are held in their recital hall which only has a capacity of 100 people, offering an unforgettable music experience.

Reservations are highly recommended. Call Peggie at 503.546.5622.

In the meantime, many thanks for your continued support and keep the coffee flowing. It looks like it's going to be a good weekend for consuming copius amounts of coffee. But then again, what weekend isn't???

Many thanks,

Mount & Crew

Posted in Amistad, Baratza, Bestow PDX, Brazil, brewers, caramel, cardamom lattes, coffee, coffee tasting, Coffee Trust, Colombia Red Ecolsierra, Costa Rica, Costa Rica La Amistad, Delores Hidalgo, Dry process, El Pilon, El Salvador, espresso, Ethiopian, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Fair trade, Farm direct, GiGi's Cafe, Golden Bean Award, grinders, Guatemala Finca Bourbon, Honduras Alto De Los Santos, hoodies, Katie Johnson, La Roya, logo cups, Mexican pottery, motorcycling, Mount Burns, Organic, pour over, real good coffee, roast, Rwanda, tea, Travel mugs

More new coffees!

Posted on January 21, 2016 by St. Johns Coffee | 0 Comments

Last week we introduced you to the new coffee from Rwanda. It has quickly become a favorite among many of our customers (and staff). This morning we roasted some of the new coffee from El Salvador and I'm sipping on some right now.

They just keep getting better! This coffee is SO SMOOTH with a velvety mouthfeel. A bit of fruitiness but not overwhelmingly so, and some delicious caramel sweetness with just a touch of chocolate on the after taste. It's been a few years since we had the coffee from El Salvador but I believe this one surpasses it!

Here is some information on the farm along with a map showing its location -

El Pilon Farm is located in the western part of El Salvador in the Apaneca-Ilamatepec Mountain
Region. It produces wild Red and Yellow Bourbon varieties in a microclimate of 1500 to 1600
meters above sea level. It consists of an area of 84 hectares, where the temperature all year
round is 7-18 degrees Celsius, with fog that gives the coffee a great density, and lots of juice when
hand-picked in a perfect red yellow color.

El Pilon has spectacular views of Eagle Mountain
near the great Volcano of Santa Ana that in 2005 had an eruption and its
ashes covered all of El Pilon Farm. All the coffee trees lost their leaves, but they survived as the
family continued to care for them. El Pilon farm got its name from the small coffee plant nursery,
it is certified by the Rain Forest Alliance seal. This certification assures the farm is sustainable with the environment and wild life. 

El Pilon coffee gets to our Eco-Mill, located at 20 min from the farm, were it is processed by our
team assuring the best quality at the pulpers and washed through a continuos flow aqua-pulper. 

Then it is dried on African beds in the heat of the sun. The drying process takes from 12 to 18 days.
After the coffee is dried, two cuppers sample each daily lot of El Pilon Farm coffee
to select the best lots to export.

With the addition of these two new coffees, we are now able to offer 24 different coffees to offer our customers. A perfect opportunity to come in and let us make a pour-over for you. And the weather couldn't be more perfect for drinking coffee!

The new development across the street from the shop is going up at a "lightning-fast" pace. It's sad that we've lost what little view we had of the St. Johns Bridge but it's also exciting to think about the prospective new customers. We joked with a customer the other day that we'll have to install a zip-line between the shop and the apartments to deliver coffee drinks to the residents.

We've also joked that for us to regain our view of the Bridge, we're going to add a rooftop after hours lounge. Trouble is, we'd have to go up two stories and I'm not quite sure that's in the plans. :)

Starting this Friday, January 22nd, we have a special promotion going on. With a minimum purchase of $25, get a free ceramic logo mug. Quantities are limited so don't hesitate.

Until next week, take care, have a great weekend and keep the coffee flowing.

Many thanks,

Mount & Crew

Posted in Aeropress, Amistad, anti-oxidents, Baratza, botanical, Brazil, breakfast, brewers, caramel, cardamom lattes, coffee, coffee tasting, cold brew, Colombia Red Ecolsierra, Costa Rica, Costa Rica La Amistad, Delores Hidalgo, Dry process, El Pilon, El Salvador, espresso, Ethiopian, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Fair trade, Farm direct, grinders, Guatemala Finca Bourbon, Honduras Alto De Los Santos, hoodies, latte, logo cups, Matcha Latte, Mexican pottery, Mount Burns, Organic, pour over, real good coffee, roast, Rwanda, Travel mugs

Merry Christmas - Round Two!

Posted on December 24, 2015 by St. Johns Coffee | 0 Comments

Well, Christmas is officially upon us.

It's been an incredibly busy week and just when we thought we'd finished roasting, realized this morning that we needed more so the roaster is fired up and raring to go.

We still have a great supply  of organic and fair trade coffees and will be replenishing things as the day goes on. We also have a nice selection of brewing equipment and supplies as well as Mexican pottery, travel mugs, stocking stuffer size bags of coffee and various other coffee related items. 

 About a week ago, we began  offering jars of honey from P&P  Apiary. It's the same honey we use  and talk about local! The hives  are about 1 1/2 miles from the shop  so, it is LOCAL! And delicious.  It sells for $10.95 for a pint size jar.

 After today, we'll be closed for  the weekend but we'll be back, ready to roll at 6 am Monday morning.

I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend and we'll look forward to seeing you next week.

Many thanks as always,

Mount & Crew

Posted in Aeropress, Amistad, bags, Bestow PDX, Brazil, Brazil Grota Sao Pedro, brewers, caramel, cardamom lattes, coffee, Colombia Red Ecolsierra, Costa Rica, Costa Rica La Amistad, Delores Hidalgo, Dry process, espresso, Ethiopian, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Fair trade, grinders, Guatemala Finca Bourbon, Honduras Alto De Los Santos, hoodies, La Roya, latte, logo cups, Matcha Latte, Mexican pottery, Mount Burns, Organic, pour over, pumpkin spiced lattes, real good coffee, Travel mugs

Merry Christmas!

Posted on December 18, 2015 by St. Johns Coffee | 0 Comments

Here we are, the week before Christmas. There's still time to get that someone special their coffee related treats, whether it be whole bean coffee, t-shirts, hoodies, mugs or whatever.

You may notice I'm a bit "late" getting this message sent out. The day got off to a very rocky start when I learned my lead barista had been involved in a nearly head-on wreck on Hwy. 30 as he was headed to the shop to open.

Luckily and remarkably, he's ok. I'm sure he'll be very sore tomorrow. But his car is totaled. Despite that rough start, he walked to the shop and finished out his shift without missing a beat! What an amazing guy!

We received our shipment of Mexican pottery this week and it is, as usual, beautiful. All the items we received are new to us. We have water pitchers, large fruit bowls, serving platters, cream pitchers, sugar bowls, flower vases, etc.

And, we moved one step closer to implementing our new display wall. All the shelves are up and are filled with bags of whole bean coffees and coffee related merchandise. Some have remarked they miss the chalkboard with all the varieties of coffees listed and, I agree. We will be bringing that back and incorporating it as soon as we're able. We never intended to do away with it permanently.

 The ceramic logo coffee mugs are scheduled to arrive Tuesday,  just in time for Christmas. And, the ever popular stocking stuffer  bags of coffee are back. Come and get 'em!

 Just a reminder to stock up on  whole bean coffee and any  brewing supplies before  Christmas. We will be closed  Friday, Saturday and Sunday  the 25th - 27th.

We stocked up on filters, Toddy brewers, AeroPresses, burr grinders, and a multitude of other coffee brewing equipment which will satisfy even the most discriminating on your list.

In the event I don't get to see some of you personally before next week, I'd like to take this opportunity to wish each and everyone of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. I'm very grateful for you all and how you've supported this business that we're so passionate about. We couldn't have done it without you.

Many many thanks,

Mount & Crew

Posted in Amistad, bags, Baratza, Bestow PDX, Brazil Grota Sao Pedro, cardamom lattes, Colombia Red Ecolsierra, Costa Rica, Costa Rica La Amistad, Delores Hidalgo, espresso, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Fair trade, Farm direct, grinders, Guatemala Finca Bourbon, Honduras Alto De Los Santos, hoodies, latte, logo cups, Mexican pottery, Mount Burns, Organic, pumpkin spiced lattes, real good coffee, wreaths