Posts Tagged ‘seattle’

Seattle Trip

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

It began Monday, November 9, 2009

Since Ryan would not be off work until noon, I started the trip with a jump up to Coffeehouse 5. I took several batches of beans with the hope of a quick cupping with Sam. Luckily Sam was there and we had the chance to run though the beans. Then, I met up with Ryan and we took off to Seattle just after lunch.

Reaching the city a little after 5pm we checked into the hotel and went out for dinner. At the recommendation of our hotel we went to the Tap House with 160 beers on tap. Each with our own sample we got pretty tipsy. Our beers were mostly 9% or 10% alcohol, man they hit hard. Then it was off to Wild Ginger, an Asian fusion restaurant. It was very tasty but not worth the prices. After sobering up we headed over to see Clay and Fey, two of Ryan’s college friends.

Here’s what we did on Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hurkimer – We visited their shop in the university district. Cool little shop, far enough from the campus that it was not too busy. We met Anne there, who turned out to be a long time friend of my brother’s boss at Panther Creek winery. Small world. The shots she pulled were delicious, sweet and acidic. While there we also met Scott Richardson, the roaster for Herkimer. After a long chat about roasting we were invited over to see him roast and check out their operation, an opportunity we would not regret.

Trabant – Here I was finally able to taste coffee from the fabled Clover machine. It was from 49th Parallel, and I must say, I was not impressed. It was smooth and clean like coffee from a paper filter but with a bit more flavor. I am glad to have tried it, but “meh.”

Zoka – Their Green Lake café is filled with fantastically dark and heavy wood. It borders on oppressive but is none the less warm and cozy. My shot here was not all too impressive, but was good. Chatting with the baristas we caught wind of daily cuppings at their offices. After a quick call to warm them of our visit, we were set for a 9am cupping.

Boom Noodle – Cool Asian fusion type restaurant, better pricing than Wild Ginger, though we did order off their happy hour menu. We went here with several of my brother’s college friends, had some beers and food, was a fun time.

Cupcake Royale – A hip little cupcake shop with tasty $2 cupcakes. We grabbed the huge “party” table in the back.

Café Vita – A little worn out on coffee, my brother and I swung by their shop on Pike. Neat shop, dark woods, windows back to their roaster. We had tea and played chess.

Chris – After Vita we went to stay with our cousin Chris for the night, drank a bunch of wine and caught up.

Then on Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Café Vita – We got back into town earlier than we had planned, so went up to Vita’s shop in Ballard. This time I took the chance to try their espresso, it was spicy.

Zoka – Starting out a little awkwardly, this was a great learning experience. We ran through a cupping with Zoka’s three roasters, a store manager, and a couple baristas. Once things got going and people got more chatty, it was a fun time. Afterward we hung around and chatted for a while about the business side of coffee roasting. While there, Jeff Babcock the owner of Zoka happened by, giving us the opportunity to hear first hand his feelings on the business. As with all roasters I have met, they are of course better than everyone else but advocate trying as much as you can.

Hurkimer – After Zoka, we made a trip up to Herkimer’s café in Ballard where they also do their roasting. Here we met up with Scott and hung out while he roasted, chatting with him and Nathan (I think?) about all things coffee and roasting. They were a wealth of knowledge. After some roasting, we gathered around for a cupping and spro. Talking with them about each coffee and their intended flavor profile taught us both a lot. After the cupping we grabbed from spro, 17sec shots, some of the sweetest I have tasted. Syrupy and sweet like candy.

Paseo – Scott had recommended a sandwich shop down the street from their café, with the best pulled pork in the city. So we had to check it out before hitting the road. Paseo, with a line 20 deep, and accepting only cash, the wait was worth it. With a deliciously spicy Jamaican style pork sandwich for each of us, we chowed down then hit the road.

Filling the jar

Saturday, November 7th, 2009

So, I’ve been roasting now for a few weeks. I have been through at least 5lbs of beans, roasting batches of up to a quarter pound. I began with a few 1 pound bags from SweetMarias.com, each a different bean, and then purchased 10lbs of a Guatemalan Huehuetenango from a local micro roaster. I am 3 or 4 pounds into that 10 and have been working on dialing in a good roast. The next step will be to roast the second 5lbs as consistently as I can. If all goes well I will then try to get more of this bean and increase my batch size up to a full pound. I am not sure if my whirly pop roasting methods can support such large batches, but we will see. It will surely require modification to my temps, timing, and methods.

Already, I have a few potential customers, and am super excited for the day when I sell my first roast and turn professional. Going from burning batch #1 to selling coffee within 60 days is the goal. To help track my progress I have begun a “bean counter.” It is a jar which receives one bean from every roast I do, it can probably hold up to a half pound, if not a little more. That is how I will track my progress, it started with a single swollen, blackened, bean and will fill with brown goodliness. While it will be tempting to make a cup from all those beans when it fills, I think it will remain a trophy and testament.

Sorry, no new roasting pictures at the moment, but I am planning a trip up to Seattle for this coming Mon-Wed. You may think there is an event or reason for the trip, but you would be wrong. This is a frivolous trip just because I want a break. So, it is becoming a coffee safari, with a list of shops and roasters to visit and taste. We shall see how it goes, if nothing else it will be fun.