The concept of me telling someone not to drink coffee seems foreign. However, this past week, I received an e-mail from someone asking if our coffee was "gluten-free"? My initial reaction was ... I won't mention what I said.
After considering the question, I decided I should do some research to see if there was anything definitive before responding to the e-mail. Here's what I found.
Apparently, those who are gluten intolerant, may experience gluten-like side effects when drinking coffee due to similarities in the proteins present in coffee being similar to proteins in gluten.
Another culprit is when coffee is processed in the same facility as products containing gluten, there can be cross-contamination that takes place. And while I don't believe any of the coffees I purchase have been processed in this manner, I cannot guarantee it.
So the long and short of it is that for folks who find themselves gluten intolerant, you may want to find another option to coffee. I can't believe I just said that!
This Monday, we will be closed for the Fourth of July. If you are on schedule for home delivery on Wednesday, there will be not any interruption to your normal delivery.
The big news on the jazz scene is that on August 8th and 9th at 7:30 pm, Alan Broadbent will be returning to Classic Pianos for two shows. For those of you who are familiar with Alan's music... you'll know what his performances are like. Electric, profound, intimate and humble are just a few adjectives that come to mind.
He's performed at Classic Pianos multiple times and I've attended each of his performances. I have yet to be disappointed. If you would like to experience one of his shows, please call Peggie at Classic Pianos and reserve your tickets. They're guaranteed to sell out quickly. Peggie can be reached at 503.546.5622.
Be sure to check out our selection of coffees on Amazon. You may find them here - www.amazon.com/shops/stjohnscoffee.
Thanks for your continued support!
Mount & Crew
Last week I mentioned we would be receiving a new Ethiopian Sidamo coffee. It arrived late Tuesday and had barely gotten into the shop before we were unloading it from the pallet and preparing it for roasting.
We just did a tasting of it and WOW!!! So full of blueberry!!! And smoothhhhh!!! Very very clean cup.
We sampled it next to the Dry Process Ethiopian Yirgacheffe which is also incredibly smooth but with so much going on! Hits one's tongue immediately and dances around all those taste buds.
Come on in and try them both. They both excel brewed as pour-overs so that would be my recommendation.
The big news this week, aside from the stellar Ethiopian coffees, is that our coffees will soon be available through Amazon.com. Stay tuned for more information.
New products scheduled to arrive next week, just in time for Father's Day:
While the weather can't make up its mind if it wants to be 100º or 60º, it's perfect for drinking coffee. Tomorrow looks like another perfect day for coffee as well as the St. Johns Farmers Market.
Stop by and get fueled and warmed before heading to the market.
Meanwhile, keep the coffee flowing.
Mount & Crew
This week we'd like to welcome another new member to our staff. In addition to a passion for excellent coffee, Kirk Sanchez brings a nice quiet energy and attention to detail and I believe is going to be a nice fit here at the shop.
This Saturday is the 54th annual St. Johns Parade and 10th annual St. Johns Bizarre. The past few years we've been blessed with beautiful, sunny weather for these events but it doesn't look like we're going to have a repeat performance of that this year.
These two events draw thousands of people come from miles around because it is the proverbial "small-town" parade filled with marching bands, car clubs, etc.
In any regard, we'll be here ready to serve lots of organic and fair trade coffees, both hot and cold-brewed as well as delicious French pastries and Spielman bagels to keep you fueled.
And don't forget, we now have a nice assortment of organic juices from Columbia Gorge Organic Juices.
I'm often looking for different ways in which coffee can be used and found this recipe the other day which sounds like a splendid refreshment for a hot summer day.
Beginning today, St. Johns Coffee Roasters' coffee will be available in the Greenway location of Whole Foods Markets. If you live or work in the Southwest area of Portland/Beaverton, stop in and check out this beautiful store. It's located at 12220 SW Scholls Ferry Road - Tigard, OR 97223.
And this Saturday, Greg will be handing out samples of our coffee at Chuck's Produce in Vancouver from 11 am - 2 pm. Stop by and say hi if you're in the area and sample some REAL.GOOD.COFFEE.
We're also scheduled to receive a new shipment of the Baratza grinders tomorrow. We recently sold out but thankfully, the company is located in Seattle so it was a quick-fix. If you're not familiar with the Baratza grinders, come in and ask for a demo.
This was the grinder that changed my life.
Meanwhile, have a great weekend and keep the coffee flowing. I hope you're able to make it to the St. Johns Parade and St. Johns Bizarre.
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
Customers often seem bewildered when we start describing coffees as having, "notes of macadamia nut, cinnamon, blueberry, anise, etc." I've contended for a long time that a lot of developing those olfactory senses is simply to slow down and take the time to savor what you're tasting and/or experiencing. This principal does apply to many more things than just coffee!
There are those who just seem to posses a much more sensitive palate than others. I don't consider myself to be blessed with that quality. However, a large part of developing those senses is a "learned" trait which benefits from just slowing down.
Prior to getting into the coffee business, my choice of coffee was primarily based on, "this tastes great or this one doesn't." But that was the extent of my criteria. I never took time to analyze the characteristics that defined either classification.
As we rapidly approach our 8th year anniversary, I feel I'm finally getting a much better grasp on identifying those various profiles which define the taste of the coffees.
Just to be clear, I'm not suggesting people turn their morning coffee brewing into a science experiment. I would just encourage you, when you take that next sip of coffee, truly sip it so the coffee hits as many taste buds as it can and ask yourself what is it you're tasting.
If you would like to practice, please join us tomorrow (Saturday) at 2 pm in our tasting room as we sample three of our newer coffees. The El Salvador El Pilon, the Costa Rica La Amistad and the Rwanda FTO Coopac.
A friend/customer just shared a great article related to this topic. If you care to read more, just click on the following link. It's a quick read but very informative.
A huge congratulations this week to our customer, GiGi's Cafe! They were just included as one of the top 15 breakfast locations in Portland!!! I'd like to think it's because of our coffee but, I'm sure it's more than just that. :) Congratulations Mike and Charlene!
And finally, we would like to welcome Chuck's Produce & Street Market to our list of grocers in the Vancouver, WA region. Beginning Wednesday, February 24th, our coffees will be available at their Mill Plain store. Greg and I just visited them yesterday and it's a beautiful store.
That's it for this week. Many many thanks for your continued support and keep the coffee flowing!
Mount & Crew