How to brew coffee in a moka pot and eating crow.

Posted on February 26, 2016 by St. Johns Coffee | 0 Comments

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.

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


Posted in Amistad, anti-oxidents, bagel spreads, bagels, Bialetti, Brazil, Brazil Grota Sao Pedro, caramel, cardamom lattes, Chuck's Produce, coffee, coffee tasting, Colombia Red Ecolsierra, Costa Rica, Costa Rica La Amistad, croissants, Dry process, El Pilon, El Salvador, espresso, Ethiopian, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Fair trade, food options, Frequent flyer cards, GiGi's Cafe, grinders, Guatemala Finca Bourbon, Honduras Alto De Los Santos, hoodies, hummus, jams, latte, logo cups, Mee Mee's Goodies, Moka Pot, Mount Burns, new food items, Organic, real good coffee, roast, Stove Top Espresso Maker

Take time to stop and smell the roses, or coffee in this case!

Posted on February 19, 2016 by St. Johns Coffee | 1 Comment

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


Posted in Aeropress, Amistad, Baratza, breakfast, caramel, cardamom lattes, Chuck's Produce, coffee tasting, Colombia Red Ecolsierra, Costa Rica, Costa Rica La Amistad, Dry process, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Fair trade, Farm direct, GiGi's Cafe, Guatemala Finca Bourbon, Honduras Alto De Los Santos, latte, Mexican pottery, Organic, pour over, real good coffee, Rwanda, Travel mugs, village patisserie, Yelp

Spring is in the air...

Posted on January 29, 2016 by St. Johns Coffee | 0 Comments

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???

Many thanks,

Mount & Crew

Posted in Amistad, Baratza, Bestow PDX, Brazil, brewers, caramel, cardamom lattes, coffee, coffee tasting, Coffee Trust, Colombia Red Ecolsierra, Costa Rica, Costa Rica La Amistad, Delores Hidalgo, Dry process, El Pilon, El Salvador, espresso, Ethiopian, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Fair trade, Farm direct, GiGi's Cafe, Golden Bean Award, grinders, Guatemala Finca Bourbon, Honduras Alto De Los Santos, hoodies, Katie Johnson, La Roya, logo cups, Mexican pottery, motorcycling, Mount Burns, Organic, pour over, real good coffee, roast, Rwanda, tea, Travel mugs

Happy Halloween!

Posted on October 30, 2015 by St. Johns Coffee | 0 Comments

Well, this certainly feels like the perfect Halloween weather. Blustery, with rain and lots of leaves on the ground. We have the perfect beverage solutions to ward off this cool, wet weather.

Saturday, we'll be doing a repeat of last year for the local kiddos. From 1-3 tomorrow we'll be serving up complimentary hot chocolates for the trick-or-treaters of St. Johns. St. Johns Main Street has organized a "Trick-or-Treating" extravaganza where various St. Johns businesses will be handing out a variety of treats to young children in a safe and friendly atmosphere. It turned out to be a very popular event last year so I would suggest arriving early.

Last week I mentioned the Coffee Fest event which took place here in Portland this year. I was finally able to get down there on Sunday and saw a lot of great things, several of which we'll be offering in the coming weeks.

The first item we'll be adding is pre-packaged oatmeal from Straw Propeller Gourmet Foods located in Redmond, Oregon. I've wanted to offer some other food options for a long time and I believe these will be a great addition.

Their oatmeals and mueslis are gluten free with no additives or preservatives and are absolutely delicious. (I consider myself to be somewhat of an oatmeal aficionado since I've made and eaten it every morning for the past 100 years.)

I've tasted other pre-packaged oatmeals and like a lot of things, are typically overly sweetened and just leave a bad taste in one's mouth. Not the case with Straw Propeller's oatmeals and mueslis. We should have them in the shop beginning Tuesday or Wednesday of next week so look for them.

Another change we'll be making beginning this next week is we're going to be changing our checkout system. I realize this probably seems irrelevant to most people but what I hope to accomplish is streamline the check-out process so wait times are minimized. For those of you who participate in our "frequent flier" program, don't worry, we'll still be able to retrieve previous rewards.

A lot of you have requested we offer travel mugs so I'm in the process of selecting some that we'll be able to offer. I'll keep you posted once the details have been worked out. 

 Already in stock are a new selection of t-shirts in both  women's and men's styles as well as  the very popular  hoodies.
















Many who have been in the shop have marveled at the terrariums available from Bestow. Now you can learn to create your own. On November 12th from 6-8pm, Nyki will offer a workshop on creating one's own tropical Terrariums. Call Bestow for more information. 503.208.4395.

Painter Jeanne Levasseur, whose paintings have been on display in the shop for the past  couple months came in the other day and swapped out  everything with new work so I would encourage everyone  to come in and check it out. As with her other work, it's  stunning.

Just a few more weeks remain for The Coffee Trust, La Roya Recover project so please come  in to learn about this devastating blight and help support the coffee farmers  of Guatemala so  they can gain valuable skills in organic solutions to  mitigate this disease. 

 That's about it for this week. Please stay tuned for updated information on new products and coffees. Meanwhile, take care and keep the coffee flowing.

Mount & Crew

Posted in Aeropress, Amistad, anti-oxidents, autumn, bags, Baratza, Bestow PDX, botanical, Brazil, Brazil Grota Sao Pedro, cardamom lattes, coffee, coffee tasting, Coffee Trust, Colombia Red Ecolsierra, Costa Rica, Costa Rica La Amistad, espresso, Ethiopian, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Fair trade, GiGi's Cafe, grinders, Guatemala Finca Bourbon, Honduras Alto De Los Santos, hoodies, Jeanne Levasseur, La Roya, Mount Burns, new food items, orange, Organic, pour over, pumpkin spiced lattes, real good coffee

Happy October!

Posted on October 02, 2015 by St. Johns Coffee | 0 Comments

Greetings everyone!

I hope everyone is enjoying this Autumnal weather. It's the perfect time of year for getting out, going for a hike or bike ride, enjoying the cooler temps with the Autumn colors and of course, enjoying some amazing coffee.

Remember, that if you live in the 97203, 97211 or 97217 zip codes, we offer free home delivery of fresh roasted organic and fair trade coffees. Just make sure we have your order by Monday mornings at 9 am and we'll have coffee at your door very early on Wednesday mornings. 

Several weeks ago, I shared a route I'd taken on my motorcycle which I felt was the perfect Autumn day-trip. This past Sunday, I rode over into Washington with a couple friends. We rode up the Klickitat Canyon and on up to Goldendale before heading back to Hwy. 14. 

 It was a beautiful day with some amazing scenery, a  very different landscape from my previously shared  route. We saw a lot of people fly fishing in the Klickitat  River and saw some wild turkeys. We also witnessed  the results of the recent fires. Wow! Thousands and  thousands of charred acres coming up all the way to  the highways.

Starting next week, we'll be bringing back an old favorite for this time of year. (insert drum roll here), The Pumpkin Spiced Latte! Ingredients have been ordered so as soon as they arrive, we'll be serving them up. Stay tuned.

The new hoodies have proven to be a big hit with folks who are looking for something warm and cozy to fend off these cool morning temps. More t-shirts are also on order and should be here by the middle of October in both men's and women's styles, sporting our new "stylized" logo. And... I've also ordered more of the Mexican pottery. 

I've decided to expand our Mexican pottery selection a bit by bringing in more serving platters as well as cream and sugar containers. Hopefully these will all arrive in plenty of time for the holidays.

Recently I had the opportunity to submit some of our coffees into a competition which I'd previously never done. I chose to enter the Pamplona Blend in the organic espresso category. The competition included submissions from over 100 roasters from all over North America. The long and short of it is, the judges loved the Pamplona and we won, for whatever that's worth.

Many of you are familiar with the Pamplona Blend. It's the medium roast espresso blend we serve here in the shop but is also delicious as a pour-over or brewed conventionally. If you haven't had the pleasure of trying it, I would encourage you to do so. It really is delicious. But then, I say that about all our coffees. :)

A couple weeks ago, a customer from Nepal came in the shop and was having coffee. He proceeded to tell me his family is in the process of rebuilding their coffee farm in Nepal and brought a sample of their coffee for me to roast.

I just roasted it on Wednesday and it is very very good. Really well balanced, smooth acidity, nice notes of chocolate and fruit. Hopefully I'll have the opportunity to purchase some and be able to offer it.

Look for our special program starting mid-October. We're partnering with Coffee Trust to help support farmers and workers in Guatemala who have been so adversely affected by  the "La Roya" blight.

 I've previously described this blight, also known as Coffee  Rust which has decimated a huge portion of the coffee crops in  Central America. It has pushed  families, who were  already impoverished, over the  brink. Some farmers have lost  over 75% of their income.

 Funds raised will go toward helping 500 farmers gain new skills  in effective, organic farming responses to fungal infections like  La Roya. More information will be available within the next week  so stay tuned. To learn more, click here -

I think that's it for this week. We have a large shipment of coffee due in next week so please help us make room for it. :) 

Many thanks and keep the coffee flowing.

Mount & Crew


Posted in Aeropress, Amistad, autumn, Brazil, Brazil Grota Sao Pedro, brewers, coffee, coffee tasting, Colombia Red Ecolsierra, Costa Rica, Costa Rica La Amistad, Delores Hidalgo, Dry process, espresso, Ethiopian, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Fair trade, Farm direct, GiGi's Cafe, Guatemala Finca Bourbon, Honduras Alto De Los Santos, hoodies, logo cups, Mexican pottery, motorcycling, Mount Burns, Organic, pour over, tea, village patisserie, Yelp

Coffee martini anyone?

Posted on September 18, 2015 by St. Johns Coffee | 0 Comments

A couple weeks ago I mentioned I was "no party planner" and geesh, was that ever the truth. Things for the grand opening/first-year anniversary celebration are coming together nicely but what a busy week it's been.

One of the fun aspects was doing a sampling of various recipes for the coffee martinis. Wow! These are SO GOOD! Dangerously good! Given the fact I'm a former photographer. I think a visual is always important. Solely for illustrations purposes, I just made a batch of the martinis so a photo could be included. Of course, we couldn't waste them so... However, if martinis are not your thing, don't worry. There will be other options as well.

I realized early this morning that there's no way the shop can remain open until 5pm tomorrow and expect to begin the party at 6pm so, we're going to close an hour earlier so we'll have enough time to get everything set up and ready to roll.

By the way, during the hours of the party, we will not be serving espresso beverages, selling coffee beans or anything else. Tomorrow evening is for festivities only. Drip coffee will be available for consumption for anyone who desires but it will be complimentary.

I would like to welcome our newest member to our team. Well, so-to-speak. We upgraded our coffee brewer this past week to try to better keep up with demand for drip coffee during those busy times and it is proving to work splendidly. 

We received our new logo hoodies yesterday. They have already proven to be very popular and are perfect for these cool mornings. They're soft and cozy and have a new stylized version of our logo on the back. Pick one up next time you're in. They're only $40.

Another addition has been made to our list of tea offerings. We now have a very delicious jasmine tea available. It's very refreshing; fruity with some very nice floral notes.

I think that's it for this week. We're very excited about the party tomorrow night and hope you will join us. Show up and enter the give-away for various coffee items. Everything from bags of coffee, t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, etc. Here's another link to Dina y los rumberos, the band who will be performing to give you a taste of what will be happening tomorrow night.

Many many thanks,

Mount & Crew

Posted in Amistad, brewers, coffee, coffee tasting, cold brew, Colombia Red Ecolsierra, Costa Rica, Costa Rica La Amistad, Dina y los rumberos, Dry process, espresso, Ethiopian, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Fair trade, GiGi's Cafe, Grand opening, grinders, Guatemala Finca Bourbon, Honduras Alto De Los Santos, hoodies, martinis, Mexican pottery, Mount Burns, new food items, options, Organic, pour over, real good coffee, St. Johns Farmers Market, tea

One week and counting to our Grand Opening Celebration!

Posted on September 11, 2015 by St. Johns Coffee | 0 Comments

Greetings Everyone,

As we approach our grand opening celebration next week, things are coming together and it's getting very exciting. The name of the band is Dina y los rumberos who I heard about a year ago at an outdoor festival and felt from the get-go they would provide the festive music I wanted for our grand opening. I just watched a video of the band on YouTube and I think it's going to be a lot of fun. Check them out for yourself. I hope you can join us. 

We will be doing a give-away the night of the party so be sure to be here and get your name in the pot. Prizes will include t-shirts, coffee, coffee delivery service and other assorted items.

 When we remodeled the shop last year, as with any project of the sort, there were a  few lingering things that hadn't been completed. Last week I finally completed the  shelves for our selection of pour-over coffees which illustrates the concept of us being  all about "options". :) So many coffees, so few days.

As many have experienced, when one goes to sign their name on the iPad finalizing  their purchase, it's often a futile attempt at getting anything close to what one's  signature really looks like. Recently, a customer took an entirely different approach  which I thought you'd enjoy.

 In last week's newsletter, I described a beautiful drive to enjoy the autumnal colors of  Oregon. I had intended it for either motorcycle travel or car. It would be beautiful either  way. However, I received a query about the possibility of organizing a group  motorcycle ride of this route, starting with coffee at the shop. I had never considered  this but thought it was a great idea so if there are others out there who would enjoy  something like this, please let me know and we can try to schedule something.

Warmer temps have returned, at least for this weekend so we'll be prepared with plenty of cold-brewed coffee and teas to help keep you cool. The St. Johns Farmers Market will be taking place again tomorrow and there should be an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as some amazing salmon and sausages.

 Many thanks for your continued support. I hope you'll come share in next week's grand  opening/first-year anniversary celebration.

 Mount & crew


Posted in Aeropress, Amistad, Baratza, Brazil, breakfast, brewers, burlap, coffee, coffee tasting, cold brew, Colombia Red Ecolsierra, Costa Rica, Costa Rica La Amistad, Delores Hidalgo, Dina y los rumberos, Dry process, espresso, Ethiopian, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Fair trade, GiGi's Cafe, Grand opening, grinders, Guatemala Finca Bourbon, Honduras Alto De Los Santos, latte, logo cups, Lulu's Cart, Mexican pottery, motorcycling, Mount Burns, options, Organic, Pizzelles, pour over, real good coffee, sidewalk seating, St. Johns Farmers Market, tea, Tired & Pour, village patisserie