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
For those of you in the Southeast Portland area, Taryn will be handing out samples of our organic and fair trade coffees at the Woodstock location of New Seasons today from 11am - 2 pm.
Stop by and say hi and sample some delicious coffee in the process.
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???
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
I don't know about everyone else but I'm ready for some warmer, drier weather. I guess I shouldn't complain too much after what the folks in the Midwest have been going through.
After the frenzy of the holidays, things seem to have slowed down just a bit although the shop has continued to be busy. A lot of people have been coming back for items they'd had their eyes on before Christmas but which, for some reason, didn't make it into their gift bags.
The Travel Presses and Espro Presses along with the logo travel mugs and ceramic logo mugs have been top on that list of coveted items.
We also did something this week which we've never done before but which I believe will become a new tradition. When I was taking an inventory of the bags of coffee we had on the shelves, discovered there were a few bags which had been there over one week.
So we created a 1/2 price bin so people could take advantage of that opportunity and, it's been a huge success. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the coffee whatsoever. It's just that we like to keep the roast dates on the shelf to be within a week.
We are currently sold out of these bags but when the opportunity presents itself again, we'll put a notice on Facebook. And, I would encourage you to stop by the shop when convenient to see if there's anything available.
Another new development this week was FINALLY finding an organic, fair trade coffee from Rwanda. I tasted some Rwandan coffee several years ago which was stellar and I've never forgotten it. However, the only coffee ever available was not organic so I never purchased any.
However, that has changed. We're expecting our first delivery of it today. Not in time for this weekend but certainly in time for next Wednesday's home deliveries. It's described as having notes of orange, vanilla, floral and is very sweet. I can't wait!
When coffee cherries are dried at the source, they're spread out on patios which are slabs of concrete. Oftentimes, we find pieces of concrete, stones, etc. amongst the beans after we roast them. We've always tried to be scrupulous in searching for these because well, they don't do anything to enhance the flavor of the coffee. :)
As our volume has increased, it has become more difficult to find each and every stone. To mitigate that, we purchased a new piece of equipment called a "de-stoner". Pretty tricky eh? Anyway, it has been earning its place in our shop, doing a stellar job of removing those unwanted items.
I think that's about it for this week. Several of us are doing double-duty due to being a couple people shy of our normal crew. Which means, I'm getting ready to head out and do deliveries.
Until next week, take good care and many thanks for your continued support.
Mount & Crew
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
In addition to finishing up the roasting of coffee for tomorrow's deliveries, today was spent cleaning and organizing.
We received our order of Mexican pottery today and did our best to get it checked in and priced so it would be available. Another really beautiful shipment of serving platters, cream pitchers, water pitchers, flower vases and large fruit bowls, for lack of a better term.
I haven't yet had time to photograph any of them but I encourage you to stop by and see them for yourself. You won't be disappointed.
Today I received an e-mail from my contact in El Salvador who will be sending me some samples from their latest harvest. I'm excited about the possibility of once again begin able to offer some stellar coffee from El Salvador.
And, some of you may remember me mentioning a couple weeks ago that we were going to be movie stars.... Well, it's happening tomorrow. The film crew is scheduled to arrive between 9 and 9:30 to begin shooting. I'm sure it will take them a little while to get set up but if you're able to stop by at some point mid to late morning, it would be great to have a nice "active" shop.
I'll let everyone know once the show is ready to "air". I'm anxious to see how it turns out. Seems like a great opportunity to help spread the word about St. Johns Coffee Roasters.