This weekend marks the beginning of The Portland Rose Festival. And unlike many years, it looks as though the weather will be stellar. It all begins this Friday evening with opening night Fireworks and continues on for the next couple weeks.
For those of you from outside the Portland area, the Portland Rose Festival is an annual celebration which has been going on for over 100 years. There are parades, firework displays, concerts, etc. Pretty much something for everyone.
Last week, we had the pleasure of traveling to Scotland. It was my first trip to Europe and I must say, I've never heard many good comments about the coffee so of course, I had to check it out.
And, I was pleasantly surprised. There seemed to be limited choices from grocers but what was available in the cafes was for the most part, pretty good. However, there were only limited options when it came to organic coffees. We only found one cafe specializing in organic coffees and healthy food options.
Perhaps it's time to open a second location of St. Johns Coffee Roasters in Scotland?!?!
We also had the opportunity to have "high tea" while in Scotland. We went to the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh which was quite special.
As many of you know, one of my favorite methods for brewing coffee is the pour-over. After seeing the server pour our tea (photo attached), it gave me new inspiration for the "art of the pour-over" presentation. However, don't count on it anytime soon. :)
And the BIG NEWS is, next weekend (June 4th), is the opening weekend of the St. Johns Farmers Market. It always a big day with lots of new vendors as well as many who have done the market since its inception.
We'll be ready with plenty of both hot and cold brewed coffees as well as healthy snacks, organic juices and sandwiches. We also have received a new shipment of grinders from Baratza as well as Hario hand grinders, perfect for camping trips.
Speaking of camping, we also have the Aeropress coffee brewers in stock which include a zippered tote for simplifying travel.
I think that's it for this week. Many thanks for your continued support and keep the coffee flowing.
Mount & Crew
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
As most of you know, this Sunday is the annual Super Bowl. Whether or not you're a football fan, it's oftentimes a great excuse to cook and/or bake.
Here are some links to some of my personal favorite recipes utilizing coffee:
Sunday's weather sounds like it will make it a struggle to stay indoors so I will more than likely, try to get some time on the motorcycle. My son and his buddy plan on coming to my place to watch the Super Bowl so I will be using at least a couple of the above recipes.
Our web site has recently been updated to include all our new coffees as well as merchandise. Just in time for Valentine's Day gift giving! Hint, hint! :)
Many thanks and until next week, keep the coffee flowing!
Mount & Crew
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
Wishing each and everyone of you, a very happy new year!
2015 was a great year for St. Johns Coffee Roasters. We hit a lot of milestones and made so many new friends along the way.
Many many thanks for all your support and belief in what we're providing here.
We're excited to see what 2016 has in store for us.
Happy New Year!
Mount & Crew