So the news from Seattle is all good.
I wish I'd been able to be there.
So much.

It sounds like the competition went really well.
Jen Prince is the new Northwest Champ. Various sources indicate that she kicked total ass in both rounds. Not a shock - she was one of the two big favorites to take it.
I'm glad that the machines were semi-auto Lineas. Very cool. Maybe we won't see autos any more in competition - wouldn't that be nice.

And from all sources, it seems the Zoka party was a big success.
Tonight is the Elysian Brewing party. Damn... I'm sure wishin' I was there.

And the rumour mill is spinning big time about the Clover. It sounds like people were blown away.
Plus - I gather the V2 Speakeasy was the place to be.



It's back.

The dream comes true. Do I really need a car?


So I was accused today of slacking off.
I was told that it's been FAR too long since I posted any photos.

Hmmm... In retrospect, it has been far too long. But slacking... nah.

Anyway, here's some recent photos to whet the appetite.

Setting the grind for shots of an experimental blend from Terry at DOMA

A shot of the Stumptown Ethiopia Sidamo

Valerie's morning cappuccino (Hairbender)


Tonx's thoughts on the Clover 1.

I guess I'm not the only one who came with doubts or who left impressed.

cat.... bag....

Everyone has been hounding me for more details on Clover.

I finally got the go-ahead to provide a story.

So here it is.

Earlier this year I was contacted by one of the people I respect the most in the coffee industry - Kent Bakke. He told me that there was a company in Seattle that had developed a piece of equipment and some technology that was going to "change coffee." He told me I needed to check it out. Given who was telling me this, I said "of course."

I then found out that the equipment was a one-cup brewer.
If you know me, you can imagine my disappointment.
But... this was Kent. I'd said I would check it out.

So I drove up to Seattle and went out to the Coffee Equipment Company's HQ and lab. I brought a couple Stumptown coffees with me. I figured I could run in, smile, look at the machine, make some coffee, shake some hands and head over to see the folks at Hines.

So I met the team. Hmmm... very familiar. Bay Area startup vibe. Interesting.
And then I went to the lab. Pretty geeky-cool actually. OK.
They brewed a cup. Wow. Fast!!! Quick taste. Pretty over-extracted.
"No problem," they say. Dial it from "strong" setting to "medium" setting.
Wait... I see some cupping bowls. Cool!
I have them brew some Ethiopia Yirgacheffe MAO at the "medium-light" setting and it goes into a cupping bowl. Grab a cupping spoon. Slurp.


Okay. So it's not perfect. I'm getting a little alkaloid taste. But damn. This is better than almost any brewed coffee I've had. On par, to my taste, with most Press Pot coffee.

Some more tweaks. Now cup the Harar. Damn. Again.

I'm getting excited.
"How long does this take to brew," I ask.
"30 seconds."

At the time I made this first visit I was obsessed with the (at that time) soon-to-open Stumptown Annex. The centerpiece of the Annex was planned to be brewed by the cup coffee - your choice of all Stumptown coffees. Logistically, this presented some serious challenges.
So seeing this machine instantly resonated with me.

A couple weeks later I went back to experience the next generation of the machine. This time I was joined by Chris, Jen and Tony from Victrola; Bronwen from Hines and Kent Bakke. We all brought coffees.

The improvements were fantastic. The alkaloid hints were gone. Cup character was now at a mid-point between press pot and vac pot.
Everyone was impressed.

Time went by, the product was iterated. Improved.

And now there is Clover 1.
A machine that is designed for coffee bars that want to brew by the cup, but want to accurately reproduce cup character - and do so with high volume.
A machine that allows customers to choose any coffee available and in a minute have a freshly brewed cup handed to them - with extraction profiles adjustable to taste.
A machine that can do this over, and over, and over again. A minute per cup including time to select and grind coffee.


I know a lot of you are going "yeah - but" or even "yeah, right."
All I can say is that you need to get an invite to the V2 Speakeasy (email Tony), grab some of your favorite coffee, a coffee you are most familiar with and get yourself to V2. Tell them you want to cup this coffee prepared through the Clover 1.
And be prepared to be shocked.


How lucky we are

So I got an email from Klaus ('Chaff Bitch') today.
He was telling me how jealous he is of folks over here - how things seem to be really exciting all of a sudden.
It was ironic because earlier today I was thinking about how lucky folks in PDX are.

I'd gone up to North Portland (getting a tattoo on my broken leg, something symbolic and important to me you know). Atlas Tattoo is right down the block from The Albina Press so I decided to drop in and wish Billy well in the coming NWRBC. He wasn't there so I chatted with Kevin a bit and then Dan made me a macchiatto. And it was really amazing. A great drink.
As I drove back home I started thinking about how rare it is for people to get to taste a truly great espresso drink. And then started thinking about how here in Portland it actually isn't that hard much less that rare. There are about a half dozen coffee bars in Portland that I would be more than willing to send a friend to for a drink - without coming along to supervise. And then there are probably another half dozen within 45 from Portland.
Add to this the coffees available in Portland (ranging from the Panama Esmerelda to the Kenya AA Tegu to the El Puente to the new Sidamo to the Las Nubitas and the Los Delirios and and and....).

I just hope folks in Portland realize how lucky they really are. It's a special place - and it's a special time in coffee. Treasure it.

Meanwhile I just wrapped up an article that I think is going to be cool.
I'm back on my feet and off crutches - but my Physical Therapists are saying "no" to my being able to go to Seattle this weekend. This is a truly crushing blow. I'm hoping to convince them otherwise tomorrow. I really, really want to see the competition. I really, really want to check out the antique machine collections. I really, really want to go to the Victrola speakeasy. I really, really want to go to the parties, see my friends... waaahhhhhh.

But I just got some coffees in from DOMA. That's cool!

Finally... if you are going to be in Seattle this weekend... I just found out the cupping list for the cuppings being held at the NWRBC. All I can say is SICK!!!
Be there.


So everyone has been asking.

"What's the big secret hush-hush event?"
"What's this Clover thing all about?"

These and other questions will all be answered.

The event (we'll call it a Speakesy):

Invite only, within the trade only, VIPs only.
Just a couple blocks up the hill from the convention center.
This Friday, Saturday and Sunday (28,29,30) 1-7pm each day.
Check out the site of the new Victrola Roasting Facility (yes indeed).
Check out some cool new toys.
Hang out with nice people. Drink great coffee. Talk smack about the competitions, about the shows, about everything and everyone.
It's the place to be.
Various other stuff too cool to mention... (heh).
If you want an invite, send email to tony@victrolacoffee.net - or get the skinny from the folks at Victrola on 15th.

Clover 1:

What is Clover 1?
Why are coffee geeks' hearts aflutter when they see it?
Come and see the unveiling of this mysterious technological marvel during Coffeefest Seattle starting this Friday.
The Clover 1 is a really exciting piece of equipment which will change a lot of thinking about how and why brewed coffee is served in coffeebars. The unveiling for friends and colleagues will occur not at Victrola, but at the to-be-unveiled site of Victrola's future roasting facility.
Come, taste, play, experiment, marvel.


perhaps a required upgrade

I was up at Espresso Parts Northwest the other day talking with Terry et al.

Saw the info on their La Marzocco PID upgrade kit.

If you have a Linea or FB70 you need to call them up. This is the real deal. Full retrofit kit. Relay, probe setup and PID controller.
And the price I saw.... a total, complete steal!

Order it.
Before he sells out.

Oh... and if you have not picked up a Scace Thermofilter - you might want to snag one of them. The retrofit kit plus the Thermofilter and a Fluke and you'll have every espresso geek's dream rig.