Many thanks for your on-going support!
Mount & Crew
The concept of me telling someone not to drink coffee seems foreign. However, this past week, I received an e-mail from someone asking if our coffee was "gluten-free"? My initial reaction was ... I won't mention what I said.
After considering the question, I decided I should do some research to see if there was anything definitive before responding to the e-mail. Here's what I found.
Apparently, those who are gluten intolerant, may experience gluten-like side effects when drinking coffee due to similarities in the proteins present in coffee being similar to proteins in gluten.
Another culprit is when coffee is processed in the same facility as products containing gluten, there can be cross-contamination that takes place. And while I don't believe any of the coffees I purchase have been processed in this manner, I cannot guarantee it.
So the long and short of it is that for folks who find themselves gluten intolerant, you may want to find another option to coffee. I can't believe I just said that!
This Monday, we will be closed for the Fourth of July. If you are on schedule for home delivery on Wednesday, there will be not any interruption to your normal delivery.
The big news on the jazz scene is that on August 8th and 9th at 7:30 pm, Alan Broadbent will be returning to Classic Pianos for two shows. For those of you who are familiar with Alan's music... you'll know what his performances are like. Electric, profound, intimate and humble are just a few adjectives that come to mind.
He's performed at Classic Pianos multiple times and I've attended each of his performances. I have yet to be disappointed. If you would like to experience one of his shows, please call Peggie at Classic Pianos and reserve your tickets. They're guaranteed to sell out quickly. Peggie can be reached at 503.546.5622.
Be sure to check out our selection of coffees on Amazon. You may find them here - www.amazon.com/shops/stjohnscoffee.
Thanks for your continued support!
Mount & Crew
It's time again for the St. Johns Farmers Market to open. The season begins this Saturday, June 4th and continues through November 19th.
It sounds like it will be perfect weather for kicking off the farmers market season. Lots of sun (and heat). We'll be ready with an abundance of cold- brewed coffees, teas, snacks and treats.
One of the most difficult realizations of the coffee business is the seasonality of the various coffees. Especially when we find those that are incredibly special and which we come to love so much. We enjoy them and before we know it, they're gone.
Such is the case with two coffees we've had, the dry-processed Ethiopian Sidamo and a coffee we've purchased directly from the farm in Brazil (Brazil Grota Sao Pedro).
However, I'm happy to report that both will be returning next week to our offering list. They represent two entirely different profiles on the flavor spectrum.
The dry-processed Ethiopian Sidamo has a prominent blueberry note with orange, tamarind, toffee, taffy, nut, and a, soft body.
The Brazilian coffee, if anything like last year's crop, was like drinking creme brulèe. Medium roast with a wonderful caramel sweetness, chocolate and almond and oh so smooth!
We also have another new coffee from Ethiopia. It's a dry-processed Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. As with the Sidamo, it's fuller in body while still possessing many of the floral notes of the washed Yirgacheffe which, we also have in stock.
Can you tell I'm a fanatic for Ethiopian coffees???
Now that summer gardening has begun, people are often requesting used coffee grounds to be used in their compost bins. Did you know you can also use them as insect repellants and wood stains. Check out this article - http://theheartysoul.com/coffee-ground-uses/
Furthermore, I recently read an article where a group in Great Britain has begun collecting tons and tons of used coffee grounds from Britain's coffee shops, processing them and creating pellets that can then be used to heat homes. Check out this article - http://cleantechnica.com/2015/09/27/recycling-coffee-grounds-home-heating-pellets/
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
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.
Mount & Crew
When typing the subject line, I couldn't believe Thanksgiving is upon us. Seems like August was last week.
But alas, back to reality.
The Travel Presses and Espro Presses arrived this week and are beautiful! Both are elegantly designed, utilizing a micro-filter system to yield a sediment-free cup and double-wall stainless steel construction assuring hours of hot coffee.
To be quite honest, I've never been a huge fan of the French Press. I loved the taste of the first cup but subsequent cups were always cold and lackluster
(I prefer my coffee hot).
The Travel Presses and Espro Presses solve this issue with their double-wall, vacuum insulated stainless steel, and will keep one's coffee hot for hours. And the double micro-filter assures a grit-free cup of coffee. These were voted Best New Coffee Product for 2015 by the Specialty Coffee Association of America.
Check them out when you're in the shop next time. They'd make the perfect gift, either for yourself or someone special. Travel Presses are available in black, red, and brushed stainless steel. Espro Presses are available in 18 oz. and 32 oz. sizes in brushed stainless steel.
Another variety of travel mug was ordered yesterday featuring our logo. They're also constructed of stainless steel and are sleek enough to fit anyone's hand and vehicle's cup holder. They should arrive in about 2 weeks.
And, we've added a few new art pieces to our offerings. Local photographer/artist Athena Salvador creates art pieces with her photographs that are both beautiful and functional. We have two of her pieces incorporating her photographs mounted on glass which can be used as cutting surfaces and displayed when not in use. We also have some of her market bags incorporating her images of the St. Johns Bridge.
New coffees arrived this week. It was our largest shipment ever and several of the coffees were "staples" to replenish our supplies but there are also some notable standouts.
We received more of the incredibly delicious Ethiopian Yirgacheffe as well as the Ethiopian Sidamo, neither of which we ever seem to have enough.
The Yirgacheffe is a washed coffee, light roasted and full of complexity. Offering a softly fragrant aroma, these coffee beans have a subtle floral scent and a satisfyingly intensified finish that would leave any coffee drinker's palate wanting more. I prefer this coffee brewed as a pour-over.
Processed through the wet-processing method, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe's beans are fermented for over 72 hours after having their fruit and pulp removed by the use of natural enzymes. This process allows the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe to absorb the sugars in the coffee fruit.
Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee beans are known for having a warm zing, which makes this coffee bean distinctive enough to rank as one of the finest. However, what makes this African coffee bean stand out is its resonant finish – a highly-flavored mix that does not overpower with an earthy taste.
By contrast, the Sidamo is a dry-processed, medium roasted coffee which yields a fuller body and depths of blueberry notes, chocolate and spice with a wine like essence and a clean finish.
Grown in the Sidamo province of Ethiopia, our Ethiopia Sidamo is an Arabica bean varietal that has been certified Organic and Fair-Trade. Hand harvested and dry processed, this coffee has a very unique flavor profile that you will thoroughly enjoy. This is one coffee that I believe lends itself to the French Press brewing method.
And last but certainly not least is the new coffee from Java. Java Taman Dadar is sourced from family-owned farms located near the villages of Curah Tatal and Kayumas on the island of Java, Indonesia. In the 17th Century Java coffee was first cultivated in low lying areas, but by the late 19th Century coffee leaf rust had destroyed production, forcing new coffee cultivation into the highlands where high altitudes and volcanic soil provide perfect growing conditions. Smallholder organic coffee production is atypical of the region which is dominated by large government run coffee estates established by the Dutch in the 18th century. Taman Dadar, meaning flower garden, aptly describes the way smallholder coffee is cultivated, colorfully inter-cropped with parkia beans, avocados, erythrina, albizia, and leucaena trees, which produce food for local consumption and shade. Java Taman Dadar is wet-hulled, a uniquely Indonesian processing method in which the coffee parchment is removed before the final drying is completed, producing a hallmark Indonesian flavor.
The Java Taman Dadar is roasted a bit darker to bring out the chocolate and smokey notes and works well brewed either as a pour-over, drip or French Press. I purchased the Java to replace the Timor and, I hesitate to say this but I think it's even better! I just made a cup for myself and wow! The Java is more complex, still with a prominent chocolate note but with accompanied by some spiciness and subtle fruit notes.
As noted in the description of the Java Taman Dadar, is the mention of the leaf rust blight, going all the way back to the 19th Century. For coffee growers in Central America, it has risen it's ugly head within the past couple years and has wreaked havoc on coffee crops and the farmers' lives.
Please consider making a contribution to The Coffee Trust's program to help train coffee farmers in Guatemala in organic methods to combat this problem. There is a jar adjacent to the cash register in the shop where donations may be left. This program runs through the end of November so please contribute whatever you're comfortable donating.
From Bestow... whether you're hosting Thanksgiving or looking for a gift for a host, flowers are a wonderful part of Thanksgiving and will enhance any table setting.
Bestow is accepting pre-orders now for custom floral orders. Call 503.208.4395 to pre-order. Hand-tied and jar bouquets will be available for last-minute pickup Wednesday before 5 pm. Contact Nyki at Bestow, 503.208.4395 or www.bestowpdx.com.
Several weeks ago I mentioned we would be reverting to our original Saturday hours for the winter, opening at 8 am instead of 7 am. However, as a trial, we arrived and prepared to be open at 7 am, just in case there seemed to be a need/demand.
As it turns out, there are a lot of people needing coffee at 7 am on Saturdays so we will continue opening at 7 am on Saturdays. The only schedule change for this week is that we will be closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving. I'm sure everyone reading this probably made that assumption but, just to be clear.
One final note. I'm excited to be meeting with some folks today at a distillery to discuss a collaboration and the possibility of aging some coffee(s) in bourbon barrels. Who'd a thunk?
Meanwhile, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy the time with family and friends.
Keep the coffee flowing.
Mount & Crew