Small Batch Coffee Bean Dispenser

May 16th, 2011

Ready for delivery. Tyler and his coffee dispenser for St. Johns Coffee Roasters.

My boyfriend Tyler Adams is one of the most resourceful people I know. Some of the incredible things that he’s made (fabricated and built from the ground up) during the 10 years we’ve been together include a top loading glass kiln, countless tattoo machines, a backyard kiwi arbor and all sorts of other garden structures, loads of motorcycle parts (some really complicated ones too), a welded metal interlocking security system for a Land Rover (friends who are now traveling in South America), and the coffee bean dispenser above that Tyler made for Mount Burns and Julie Gebron of St. Johns Coffee Roasters. Tyler spent months on this one and it shows.

A few weeks ago we delivered the dispenser to St. Johns Coffee Roasters just in time for their business anniversary party. Prior to the dispenser Mount and Julie had done all of their coffee packaging by hand with a metal scooper. That got a little old especially considering that they’ve signed some big new accounts in recent weeks. (You can find their tasty coffee at all ten New Seasons Markets, several local Whole Foods Markets and Market of Choice locations as well now.)

Tyler's coffee dispenser's new home at St. Johns Coffee Roasters!

Mount filling her up...

Tyler and Mount messing with the lever.

Works like a charm!

I can’t tell you all the ins and outs of the dispenser design but if you vaguely remember a guy with a notebook, scribbling things and making sketches while examining your local market bulk coffee dispenser during the past few months that was probably Tyler. All of this R&D paid off because the dispenser is now in full swing and saving Mount and Julie a lot of time.

If you have any interest in Tyler’s coffee dispenser (it’s a one-off for now but he might make more in the future) drop him a line at tyler at grizzlytattoo dot com or stop by his new tattoo shop after June 1st — Grizzly Tattoo on North Williams — and ask him about it.

St. Johns Coffee Roasters
Organic/Fair Trade
503.445.2249
Portland, Oregon
www.stjohnscoffee.com
info@stjohnscoffee.com

Grizzly Tattoo
www.grizzlytattoo.com
3949 North Williams Ave.
tyler at grizzly tattoo dot com
Portland, Oregon

Dovetail Bakery about to spread its wings: New retail location!

December 5th, 2009
I've got the scoop! The Dovetail Bakery scoop! Dovetail Bakery owner Morgan Grundstein-Helvey has some fabulous news.

I've got the scoop! The Dovetail Bakery scoop! Dovetail Bakery owner Morgan Grundstein-Helvey has some fabulous news.

I’m in the final edits stage of my book at the moment and in an effort to stay on the sunny side about the seemingly endless tedium it’s been great in the past few weeks to add some exciting new ventures to the pages of Food Lover’s Guide to Portland.

One that I’m very excited about is Dovetail Bakery’s soon to open retail location on Northeast Alberta Street. For years Dovetail has vended at farmers market and delivered wholesale only, with no retail location.

These lovely vegan baker ladies have been working around the clock the past few months to make the retail bakery happen and if all goes well Dovetail Bakery plans to ring in the new year and open shop on January 1st, 2010. The new Dovetail Bakery location has indoor and outdoor seating and plenty of bike parking in front.

Grand opening Jan. 1st, 2010!
Dovetail Bakery
3039 NE Alberta St.
Portland, Oregon
503.288.8839
Hours: Tue.-Sun. 8am-8pm

Same great vegan sweet and savory pastries at new retail location.

Same great vegan sweet and savory pastries at new retail location.

New menu to include:

Cinnamon rolls
Aunt Miriam’s sticky buns
Seasonally inspired sweet buns
Daily selection of cookies
Seasonally inspired loaf cakes
Seasonally inspired muffins
Sweet & savory tarts
Seasonal fruit pies
Changing selection of cakes & cupcakes
Artisan breads
Housemade coconut yogurt w/ Dovetail Bakery granola & fruit
Daily soup (featuring farm direct produce)
French press Courier Coffee
Magic Kombucha
Special orders are always welcome!

*Everything baked fresh on site.
*Loads of local ingredients.
*New CSA/CSB program. Dovetail has partnered with local farm Wealth Underground Farm that will provide the CSA portion (veggies, fruits, beans, etc.) while Dovetail will provide the bread and pastries CBA portion. Contact Dovetail for more information.

The fabulous Dovetail Bakery ladies move shop to Northeast Alberta.

The fabulous Dovetail Bakery ladies move shop to Northeast Alberta.

Dovetail Bakery
3039 NE Alberta St.
Portland, Oregon
503.288.8839
Hours: Tue.-Sun. 8am-8pm
dovetailbakery.blogspot.com

Nossa Familia Coffee — Stop by the North Portland Cafe

October 30th, 2009
No other local coffee company sources solely farm-direct AND family-direct coffee.

No other local coffee company sources solely farm-direct AND family-direct coffee.

Augusto Carvalho Dias Carneiro co-owner of Nossa Familia Coffee — which was founded in 2006 and is the only family-traded coffee in Portland — grew up in Rio de Janeiro but spent holidays on his family’s farm eight hours west of Brazil’s capital. According to Augusto that’s where most of his childhood memories are. Some of the fondest include early morning horseback rides with his grandpa and his grandpa’s friends through the coffee fields.

These days Augusto who’s lived in Portland since 1996 still likes to ride around his family’s sixth generation Brazilian farm. He just has different transportation now — his bicycle. Augusto is a cycle enthusiast and has made a couple trips to the farm with fellow mountain biking friends. (The last time I saw Augusto he was setting up a coffee booth at a cycle event at the Washington County Fairplex in Hillsboro the same weekend as the Home Orchard Society’s All About Fruit Show.) Of course anytime Augusto returns home now — usually once or twice a year — there’s plenty of work to be done.

Although Nossa doesn’t roast its own bean (another Portland roasting company roasts for them) Augusto hopes to in the near future. Nossa currently imports about five percent of the farm’s Brazilian coffee — about 80,000 pounds a year — so there’s plenty of room for growth in more ways than one.

In the summer of 2009 Nossa Familia opened a café at the non-profit Ethos Music Center on North Killingsworth that serves Nossa Familia Coffee, tea and snacks. In addition to the café you can find Nossa Familia Coffee at all New Seasons Markets, People’s Food Co-op, Food Front Cooperative Grocery, the Hollywood and Lents Farmers Markets and other locations around town.

Nossa Familia Cafe at Ethos
2 North Killingsworth St.
www.familyroast.com
Hours:
Monday-Friday 8am-6pm
Saturday 10am-3pm

Stumptown Producer Panel: @ Leftbank this Thursday at 6pm

October 6th, 2009

Go to Stumptown's Leftbank event this Thursday, October 8th at 6:30pm if you want to know more about where coffee comes from.

Go to Stumptown's Leftbank event this Thursday, October 8th at 6:30pm if you want to know more about where coffee comes from.



(((Unfortunately I didn’t make it to this coffee panel but WW did. Go here if you want a run-down of the standing room only, super successful event.)))

Although this is kind of last minute I want you to know about this free and open to the public coffee event this Thursday night at Leftbank:

Stumptown Coffee Roasters is hosting international growers and exporters from Columbia, Kenya, El Salvador and Costa Rica for a public panel discussion about everything from sustainable farming vs. conventional production to innovations in trade channels. There’s a coffee tasting that precedes the event in the Leftbank lobby at 6pm and the panel discussion begins at 6:30pm.

If you’re hungry or thirsty for something more than coffee you can also sample food and drink from Upright Brewing Company and Leftbank Cafe while there.

Stumptown’s green coffee buyer Aleco Chigounis will moderate the event and panelists include:

Jeovanny Liscano & Walter Penna, farmers from Pedregal de Cauca, Colombia

Alejandro Cadena, exporter from Bogota, Colombia

Ngatia Kanyoge, farmer & assistant general manager from Gaturiri Cooperative, Karindundu, Karatina, Kenya

Kamau Kuria, agronomist and mill manager from Nairobi, Kenya

Juan Ramon Alvarado, farmer & exporter from Heredia, Costa Rica

Francisco Mena, exporter from Alajuela, Costa Rica

Aida Batlle, farmer from Santa Ana, El Salvador

I don’t think I’ll be able to make it but I hope a lot of folks turn out. It’s pretty incredible that Stumptown is hosting such an event for its growers, exporters and for Portland. I have a lot of love for this.

Leftbank
240 North Broadway
Visit www.leftbankproject.com for directions

Ristretto Style: Spella Caffe

August 19th, 2009
Andrea Spella is holding my key to happiness -- a Spella Caffe cappuccino.

Andrea Spella is holding my key to happiness -- a Spella Caffe cappuccino.

There are a lot of great Portland food and drink carts and Spella Caffé, open since fall of 2006, is one of the best. The reason: Andrea Spella. Andrea is part Italian and part Polish and drinks about 10 to 15 shots of espresso a day. He claims it helps him sleep and adds with a smile, “I guess I’m just wired differently.”

I guess so. In the past few weeks I’ve been so nervous about my impending book due date that I’ve sadly had to cut out my afternoon cup of coffee. In the past couple years I’ve looked forward to my afternoon cup almost as much as my morning cup but when your heart is aflutter with nerves too much coffee just adds to the stress. Anyway, 10-to-15-shots-a-day Andrea obviously doesn’t feel my pain. I met with him in late April and learned all about why he loves coffee and why we Portlanders love his coffee.

Spella Caffe’s signature classic Italian roast coffee is roasted in small 11 pound batches and pulled ristretto style with an old school piston machine as opposed to a modern pressurized pump espresso machine. There’s no walking away from the machine or even talking much with customers while a Spella espresso is in full swing. The end result is a nicely extracted cup of coffee with a beautiful crema.

In addition to expertly prepared coffee the cart serves from-scratch chai, hand shaken iced drinks (Andrea doesn’t like blenders), small batch Stella Gelato made in Eugene, and all sorts of tasty baked goods — authentic biscotti, quickbreads and cookies — prepared by a loyal customer and librarian at downtown’s Central Library.

Over the years Spella Caffe has acquired quite a following so it’s rare to step up to the window without at least a short wait. Two of Andrea’s favorite regulars are Little Red Bike Café owners Evan Dohrmann and Ali Jepson who rode their tandem bike to the cart for a celebratory shot of espresso minutes after they were married (for the third time) at the Multnomah County Circuit Court in 2008.

Spella Cafe
901 SW Alder St.
503.421.9723
www.spellacaffe.com
Mon.-Fri. 9am-4pm.

Green Bean: Stumptown Coffee Roasters

August 6th, 2009
Stumptown holds free public coffee cuppings at the Portland Annex every day at 11am and 3pm and at the Seattle 12th Avenue location every day at 3pm.

Stumptown holds free public coffee cuppings at the Portland Annex every day at 11am and 3pm and at the Seattle 12th Avenue location every day at 3pm.

In late spring I got to hang out with Stumptown head of operations Matt Lounsbury at the Stumptown house behind the original Southeast Division cafe. Lounsbury started at Stumptown in 2003 as a barista at the Downtown cafe.

It was a hot afternoon and Lounsbury’s dog Mabel lay on the floor between us as we cracked open a couple beers and talked bean and recent Stumptown developments such as its popular Meet the Producers events. Stumptown regularly helps the growers it works with travel to Portland, Seattle and soon to New York (their cafe in the lobby of the Ace Hotel in Manhattan is due to open any day and the roastery in Brooklyn is already up and running) so that they can hold open to the public informational events, slide shows and tastings. According to Lounsbury it’s often very emotional for these growers to see their coffee labeled with the name of their farm and town in cafes and shops. It’s usually a first.

While I met with Lounsbury Stumptown’s green coffee buyer Aleco Chigounis was busy getting all his beans in a row at the cupping laboratory next door before setting off to Rwanda for two weeks, a week in Columbia and a few days in Ecuador. An average year for Chigounis entails seven months of travel time visiting Stumptown Coffee growers and potential growers around the world.

Chigounis follows a strict regimen that involves checking on the ripeness of the beans at harvest, inspecting the washing stations, making sure the coffee is kept separated by harvest day and more. If Chigounis has his way Stumptown will completely walk away from Fair Trade with 100% direct trade coffee in the near future. The hardest nuts to crack in terms of farm direct are Africa and Indonesia. This summer Stumptown welcomed its first farm direct Indonesian coffee.

I took this photo several years ago at the Division Street roastery.

I took this photo several years ago at the Division Street roastery.

Ditto for this one...

Ditto for this one...

Stumptown Coffee Roasters
www.stumptowncoffee.com
Locations in Portland, Seattle and New York

Farm Direct: Portland Roasting Coffee Company

June 29th, 2009
Portland Roasting Coffee Company owner Mark Stell

Portland Roasting Coffee Company owner Mark Stell

A week ago I visited Portland Roasting Coffee Company in Southeast Portland and talked with owner Mark Stell and national sales director Marie Franklin. The almost 14 year old coffee company is one of Portland’s first direct trade roasters. On average PRC pays coffee growers 30 percent more than Fair Trade. I learned about the history of the business and current goings-on while drinking a Clover brewed, lightly roasted cup of their tasty morning blend in the cupping room. I also got a tour of the 18,000 square foot space which used to be a popcorn roasting facility.

Stell owns a coffee farm in Tanzania, situated right next to Ngorogoro Conservation Area, with his two brothers and a Tanzanian partner. The farm is 1,000 acres total but only 160 acres are devoted to coffee. The last couple years the farm has produced two shipping containers worth of coffee per harvest that’s been used exclusively for PRC’s Tanzania brew. In the future as the farm produces more they’ll distribute excess to other roasters. When Stell and his brothers bought the farm two and a half years ago it employed 12 farm workers, PRC now has 70 full-time Tanzanian employees on payroll.

If you want to participate in a free Portland Roasting Coffee Company tasting (afternoons Monday through Friday) call the office at least 24 hours in advance. Tastings can usually accommodate up to 10 people and last about an hour.

Portland Roasting Coffee Company regularly roasts small samples of beans from farms from around the world.

Portland Roasting Coffee Company regularly roasts small samples of beans from farms from around the world.

Several times a week employees participate in cuppings that are often open to the public.

Several times a week employees participate in cuppings that are often open to the public.

Mark Stell visits the Tanzanian coffee farm three times a year. The elephants are not on payroll.

Mark Stell visits the Tanzanian coffee farm three times a year. The elephants are not on payroll.

Portland Roasting Coffee Company
www.portlandroasting.com
340 SE 7th Ave.
503.236.7378
800.949.3898

Biked Beans: Courier Coffee

May 22nd, 2009
Courier Coffee owner Joel Domreis (left) and Alex Geddes

Courier Coffee owner Joel Domreis (left) and Alex Geddes

I recently met up with Courier Coffee owner Joel Domreis and employee Alex Geddes at their small backyard roastery and talked coffee, and of course drank coffee, for a couple hours. Alex had roasted some Bolivian Cenaproc Cooperative coffee that morning and he brewed us a pot in one of their new Hario vacuum pots. This was my first experience with siphon brewed/vacuum pot brewed coffee, even though I’ve heard a lot about it, and it was delicious and really fun to watch. The standout for me was that there was no silty residue in the cup and the coffee was hyper full of flavor. I don’t think I’d ever own a vacuum pot though. I have a hard enough time not breaking the glass in my French press. These are works of art.

Most of my interviews for the book so far have been about an hour long but the really good ones often seem to spill over. There were a lot of beans to be spilled in this case…

Where 10,000 pounds of Courier Coffee is roasted annually

Where 10,000 pounds of Courier Coffee is roasted annually

28 year old Domreis started his bike delivered Courier Coffee three and a half years ago and for a year and a half he ran the show. Now he has one full-time (Alex Geddes) and one part-time (Matt Sperry) employee to roast beans with and peddle around town with. A typical day for these guys starts at 4am and ends after the sun has set and all the coffee for the next day has been roasted. Deliveries are made from as far southeast as Southeast 92nd and Johnson Creek Blvd. to as far north as St. Johns. And even though Courier only has about 30 accounts (coffeeshops, restaurants, bars and offices) they deliver daily to many of them in order to ensure super fresh, super tasty bean. Some of their most valued clients include Half & Half, Little Red Bike Cafe, Sel Gris, Olea, Two Tarts Bakery, Eastmoreland Market & Kitchen and Dove Vivi.

Domreis talked me through their roasting process, showed me their burlap sack stacked coffee storage area and discussed the merits of slow growth in particular to his business. Understandable since every new account adds many miles literally and figuratively to their work week. That’s not the only reason Domreis is reticent. Courier has a certain ethic and culture that clients need to jive with. If you don’t want to discuss things like first and second crack, or if you want all your coffee ground and delivered a couple times a month Courier doesn’t want you.

Joel Domreis of Courier Coffee hopes to open a Courier Coffeeshop one day soon

Joel Domreis of Courier Coffee hopes to open a Courier Coffeeshop one day soon

Map of Portland's coffeeshops and Courier's Hario vacuum pots

Map of Portland's coffeeshops and Courier's Hario vacuum pots

You can buy bags of Courier Coffee beans at Half & Half, Little Red Bike Cafe, Eastmoreland Market & Kitchen and Two Tarts. You can also have Courier Coffee delivered to your door step or pick it up at the roastery — just call ahead first.

Courier Coffee
SE 40th and Hawthorne — call for directions
www.couriercoffeeroasters.com
Joel Domreis — 503.545.6444

Don’t feed the baristas: United States Barista Championship

March 9th, 2009
Albina Press owner Kevin Fuller early on working his cappucino magic

Albina Press owner Kevin Fuller early on working his cappucino magic

It was hard to decide what to blog about this time. Since the last time I blogged five days ago I’ve been out to Dave’s Killer Bread (met Dave), Bob’s Red Mill (brushed shoulders with Bob), Ken’s Artisan Bakery (talked with Ken), to the United States Barista Championship in Portland, to Seattle to meet with my editor and visit friends over the weekend, and to the Farmer-Chef Connection in Oregon City today. The volume has been a little mad — all of the interviews, facility tours, networking with chefs and farmers — but I’ve promised myself that in a week or so I’ll clear two to three days and create a hermitage. I’ll write and nothing but.

For now it’s coffee. I just drank some so I have the fuel to write about it. It turns out that I saw two of the USBC — United States Barista Championship — finalists in action this year. I showed up mid-day last Thursday and got to see Devin Pedde (5th place) of LA’s Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea and later Mike Marquard (6th place) of Kaldi’s Coffee in St. Louis. Intelligentsia rocked the USBC house just like Slumdog Millionaire at the Oscars with four out of six awards including first place — USBC champion Mike Phillips of Intelligentsia Chicago.

I’m sad that no Northwest baristas made it to the crema but hope that Portland baristas don’t need an award to know just how amazing they are.

Some standouts from my first day of USBC:

Devin Pedde infused Earl Grey tea, dried persimmon, cherries and brown sugar into water in an ornate Belgian vacuum coffee brewer and spooned that into cups to mimic and tease out the flavor profile of the espresso that he topped it with.

Mike Marquard lit tobacco leaves next to shots of espresso with whipped chocolate and covered that with glass domes in order to “smoke” the shots and give an olfactory hint to the coffee flavor to come.

Kevin Fuller of Portland’s home team — owner of Albina Press — whisked Stumptown espresso with homemade caramel, topped it off with cold pressed grapefruit oil steamed milk, and served that with sidecars of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice. Graham crackers were involved too but I must have been clearing my throat when he said how.

Each barista had 15 minutes to set-up, and 15 minutes to prepare espressos, cappucinos and a signature coffee drink for each of the four steely eyed sensory judges. Hooked up to microphones they described their techniques, their coffee, their coffee shop/roastery as the technical judges swarmed around them taking notes and watching their every move. Not to mention the hand-held and mounted TV cameras and the two huge screen TVs televising it all in real time. I think the event was live-streamed — maybe it was broadcasted on TV as well.

Fuller serving it up

Fuller serving it up

I had a great time sitting in the audience drinking free coffee, listening to the baristas’ music (each chose 15 minutes of music to coincide with their slot) while watching the action. And I was very happy that the flood lights weren’t aimed at me. No matter what kind of false security I’ve been known to gain from superhero servings of coffee and espresso I would never put myself through that. Conversing with an emcee is the stuff nightmares are made of.

No noise complaints: United States Barista Championship

February 27th, 2009
Don't you love me?

Don't you love me?

Last night I went to my first ever barista throwdown — PDX Tamp Your Face off! I didn’t know what to expect but a local vegan baker gave me the word and I was there. It took place at Blend Coffee Lounge just a few blocks from my house so a neighbor and I walked over at around 8pm.

I don’t know if you know but a really big coffee competition is brewing in Portland next week — the United States Barista Competition. It’s at the Convention Center Thursday through Sunday — March 5-8 — and is free and open to the public. I’m definitely going to head over for some of the action. The winner from the USBC, which is held in a different city every year — Minneapolis last year — goes on to compete in the World Barista Championship in Atlanta in April. Those are the big beans.

So what about last night? I thought I’d take some photos but it was too crowded. Blend isn’t a big coffee shop — or excuse me lounge — and it was pretty much 10-deep all around the coffee bar. Every once in a while I could see some girls moving around and smiling behind it. I assume that they were pulling espressos, frothing milk, tamping coffee, but honestly I couldn’t see much. There were a bunch of pizza boxes in one corner — mostly eaten, and a lot of folks drinking tall boys and holding up cell phones to take photos. I saw a few people sipping espresso from little paper cups but we didn’t stick around long enough to get one.

It felt like a basement show without a band. And our shoes didn’t stick to the floor. The baristas were the band — kind of quiet, although they did have some highly functional percussion. I think if we’d elbowed our way to the front it would’ve been much more entertaining but that’s shitty so we didn’t. My friend put it nicely — “We could stand around and listen to other people’s conversations for a while…” We did check out the collection of beans on display from all sorts of local roasters before we left. There were some there that neither of us had heard of, along with several that we had. There were also some roasters that made a trek for the event — one from out in the Gorge.

Since the USBC competition is in Portland this year, local baristas are ramping up, along with local roasters, with these after-hours espresso slinging gatherings where they can practice for the people. I guess the first throwdown was at one of my favorite Portland spots — Little Red Bike Cafe.

I’d go to another but I’d be sure to show up early and wear my Inspector Gadget arm so I could get some of that perfectly pulled coffee.

Oh and there were also some silk screened chocolates from a guy named Dane. That’s right, silk screened.