As someone once said, "the only constant is change". This past week has been a perfect example of that.
The most obvious change for me occurred this morning when I entered the shop and experienced the absence of Bestow, our in-house floral shop.
Nyki (Bestow) has decided to move back to Southern Oregon where she originally came from. She's accepted a position in a flower shop in Ashland and I'm sure will re-invent Bestow once she gets settled and we wish her nothing but the best in this new endeavor.
Her plants and flowers added such a welcoming element to the shop and to see it all gone this morning was a bit of a shocker. However, we're already discussing ideas on re-creating that feel and adding some additional seating at the same time.
Meanwhile, we're going into what looks to be a beautiful weekend. We'll be prepared with plenty of fresh roasted organic and fair trade coffees and delectable sandwiches and treats.
Speaking of which, we have some new selections in the way of food items. Delicious berry pies from Mee Mee's Goodies, perfect for sharing and are the perfect pick-me-up for a late afternoon snack. And coming soon... Columbia Gorge Organic Juices!
Meanwhile, thanks so much for your on-going patronage and keep the coffee flowing!
Mount & Crew
So it's tax day. I'm not sure what else I can say about that. :) I'm always reminded of the Beatles song, "Tax Man", on this day.
For those of you who need a little more "mojo" to get you through your taxes, we have plenty of caffeine related beverages and whole bean coffee to help you.
It has been a huge week for us here at the shop. We worked very hard to deliver our first order of organic and fair trade coffees to Made in Oregon stores in addition to our regular group of retail stores offering our coffees.
Made in Oregon stores are located in all major Portland shopping malls as well as three locations at the Portland International Airport.
One new addition to our line-up is the Market of Choice store in West Linn. They'll be offering two of our coffees in bulk bins as well as an assorted variety of our packaged coffee. If you live in the West Linn, Clackamas or Lake Oswego areas, there's now a new location from which to purchase our coffees.
And, we've added a new sandwich to our line-up of healthy food options. It's a toasted brioche with sunflower butter and apricot jam. Check it out when you're in the shop next.
New coffees were ordered this past Wednesday and are scheduled to arrive next Monday. Among them are a new Ethiopian Dry Processed Yirgacheffe which differs from our current "washed Yirgacheffe". Typically, dry-processed coffees yield a fuller body as well as possessing all the characteristic flavors so I'm very anxious to try it.
We also purchased a new variety of coffee from Sumatra. I was told it has prominent notes of chocolate, caramel, and vanilla. Sounds like a Snickers bar in a cup! I can't wait to try that one!
And just a bit of a warning... the delectable Guatemala Finca Bourbon is getting low. We've ordered a new Guatemala to take its place which we've had before and has always been very very good.
But for those of you who have developed a fondness for the Guatemala Finca Bourbon, there's no time like the present to enjoy it.
Taryn is on her way out the door to the Hillsdale location of Food Front Cooperative Grocery to sample some of our coffees available there. If you're in the area, stop by and say hi. She'll be there from 11 - 2 today.
Meanwhile, I hope you have a fantastic weekend we'll hope to see you in the shop.
Mount & Crew
Recently, the following article from RealSimple Magazine was shared with me and I thought it appropriate to share with you since we provide and offer for sale, local honey from P&P Apiary.
Eco quandary - Considering the bee crisis, is it bad to buy honey.Not at all! Since 2007, the US has lost about a quarter of its beehives each year due to pathogens, parasites, pesticides, and poor nutrition. "Buying honey helps beekeepers offset the cost of maintaining colonies and keeping bees healthy," says Christina Grozinger, Ph.D., the director of the Penn State Center for Pollinator Research.Opting for local varieties supports producers near you, but purchasing supermarket brands is OK, too, says Becky Masterman, Ph.D., the program director for the University of Minnesota's Bee Squad, which promotes healthy bee populations. "Commercial companies are often cooperatives that buy regional honey from beekeepers," she says.Bees are responsible for more than just our honey supply. Up to a third of our food supply depends on the work of pollinators, such as bees. So how can you help combat the loss of beehives? In addition to supporting the beekeepers by buying honey, plant flowers as a food source for bees, and skip the pesticides.Kaitlyn PirieSome of you may have noticed that the coffee descriptions and pricing information have returned to our "offerings" chalkboard. Next up is the consolidation of all our "random" chalkboards into a single menu!A big thanks to Marly Beyer for her artistic talents.
Beginning in March, PBS will be airing a new documentary entitled Coffee: The Drink That Changed America. The story follows coffee from its beginnings in Ethiopia, through the Middle East and Europe and into America. The theme of the show is that coffee is associated with social disruption and change. Learn about coffee's evolution from the "excrement" of the early English coffee houses to the artisan wave we are currently in. Lots of history and ably and humorously (of course) hosted by Dean Cycon of Dean's Beans Organic Coffee Company. Check your local PBS affiliate for viewing times.
Until next week, I hope you're able to get out and enjoy this beautiful weather we're having. It has made for some amazing motorcycle commutes this past week.
Our larger umbrella tables will be going back out today so come by and enjoy your favorite caffeinated beverage along with a baguette sandwich or pastry while basking in the sun!
Mount & Crew
Another year, another spring break. I hope everyone has had an enjoyable Spring break, for those of you who've been able to take some time off. It's hard to believe we're approaching the end of March already and in another month, talk will shift to the opening of local farmers markets.
It's meant a very busy week for us here at the shop. Lots and lots of people coming in to enjoy some down time and relax with their favorite caffeinated beverage. And, despite some rain, there have also been some sun breaks so people have been able to sit outside and enjoy some fresh air.
In the midst off all the busyness this week, we embarked upon a major reorganization of our production area. Things were feeling very cramped and we oftentimes felt we were stepping on each other.
It's already feeling more spacious and efficient, which is what we desperately needed. We're about 90% completed with the remainder wrapping up by Monday.
The other accomplishment of this past week is the transition to digital roast logs. I don't know how many of you have noticed the numerous 3-ring binders that have occupied a large shelf next to the roaster?
For each batch of coffee we roast, a profile sheet is completed including notes of time, temperature, airflow, etc., a necessary part of the roasting process. However, it also consumed copious amounts of paper which has always seemed so wasteful.
This past week we finally made the switch to digital record keeping of all roast logs so the numerous 3-ring binders will be going bye-bye. A great feeling!
More and more people have been enjoying our new, locally-made baguette sandwiches and hummus snack boxes. It's an easy solution when one comes into the shop to pick up their morning coffee and can grab a healthy, delicious sandwich for lunch at the same time.
Everyone in the St. Johns Neighborhood is abuzz about this past Wednesday's opening of the University Park New Seasons Market. As with all New Seasons locations, are coffees are represented and we will be there Saturday morning beginning at 11 am, handing out samples.
In the coming weeks, look for the new, "University Park Blend", available exclusively at the University Park New Seasons Market in the bulk bins.
For those of you in the inner SE Portland area... Taryn is currently at Sheridan Fruit Company sampling some of our coffees they have available in this iconic Portland store. Stop by, try some coffee and enjoy the varied offerings of this great Portland grocer. She will be there until 2 pm today.
Many thanks and keep the coffee flowing.
Mount & Crew
So far this month's weather has held true to the saying, "Come in like a lion" and, I'm hoping, will "go out like a lamb"! It's been just a little gnarly, making for some interesting motorcycle rides into the shop each day.
However, I know that with this weekend's shift to Daylight Savings Time, it won't be long before the weather stabilizes a bit. I was just reading a book on Scotland last weekend and the author commented that his favorite part of Scotland was the weather.
He went onto say that Scotland experienced all four seasons, sometimes all within the context of a single day. I feel that's exactly what we've been experiencing here in Oregon.
There are a lot of things that took place this week. First of all, we'd like to welcome Sheridan Fruit Company to our growing list of coffee retailers. They're receiving their first order today and Taryn will be there next Wednesday the 16th from 10 am - 2 pm, handing out samples of our coffees.
If you're not familiar with Sheridan Fruit Company, they've been around since 1916 and offer quality fruits, vegetables, meats and grocery items. They also cater bridal showers, baby showers, weddings, family reunions, graduations, bbq's and more. They're located at 409 SE MLK Jr. Blvd, Portland, OR 97214. I would encourage you to stop by and check them out when you're in the area.
The other big news is we're just about ready to launch an expanded assortment of healthy snacks and sandwiches next week. Starting Wednesday, we'll have three different varieties of baguette sandwiches, featuring premium meats and cheeses from Boar's Head as well as a veggie option. We'll also have some snack boxes with hummus and fresh veggies.
I've wanted to offer something of this quality for a very long time so I'm very excited it's finally happening! Stop in Wednesday and look for the new refrigerator at the end of the counter and feel free to check our Facebook page for updates. Plan on stopping by to check them out. We'll be handing out samples. Heh, heh, heh!
Many people have been commenting on the jams we've been offering to accompany croissants, asking where they're available. Well, they're now available right here in the shop.
Fresh-made jams with locally sourced ingredients made by Mee Mee's Goodies. We're offering four varieties in 8 ounce jars for $7.00 each.
Here's an interesting article I found recently which seems to make no sense whatsoever until you read it. Check it out. It's short but very informative.
I think that's it for this week.
Many thanks 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 recently promised, we're continuing to add new options in the way of food items. Last week we added locally made jams as compliments to our croissants and bagels.
Over the past year, we've had numerous requests for a vegan options for bagel spreads. Starting tomorrow, we'll be able to offer some locally made hummus. We did a tasting of it today and it is delicious! Really well balanced with a nice texture.
Stop in and check them out!