August 16, 2012

Slow

On Memorial day one of our customers, Michael Royce, generously brought over a cage of pork ribs he smoked. Mondays are long days for me, as I work the day, roast in the afternoon and don't finish until late. I heard about these ribs in the early afternoon and then Michael sent me an email about them. By the time I got hungry, I asked about the ribs and was informed that I was too slow. They were all gone. I emailed Michael back and let him know that he apparently only brought enough for three of the savages who work here and the boss got the shaft.

Long about 1030 that evening, Michael rolled up as we were sitting outside waiting for the roaster to cool down (drinking a little Four Roses Single Barrel and puffing on a San Cristobal), and handed me a sack of ribs. More ribs. How nice is that?

Tuesday evening I warmed them in the oven, poured a Koningshoeven Tripel and sunk my teeth into the most delicious ribs I've ever eaten. These things were amazing. He cooked them slowly and melted all the globulous fat out of them. They were meaty, the perfect texture, slightly smoky, with a few sweet and savory spices rubbed in, and I found myself gnawing and sucking each one, savoring every last morsel, and then letting Sterling lick the bones. And I was sad when the last one hit the floor, stripped of its flesh.

Not long ago I saw that a scientist in Australia "discovered" that the word "siphon" was defined incorrectly in the Oxford English Dictionary, and had been for almost a century. Dr. Hughes contends that a siphon works when gravity pushes liquid from one point to another through a tube. The dictionary stated that atmospheric pressure moved the liquid. Of course, gravity could be the atmospheric pressure, but atmospheric pressure doesn't necessarily have to be gravity. When I read this, I thought about the "siphon" coffee brewer. The siphon coffee brewer has two bulbs connected by a tube. Water is boiled in one bulb and the expansion of air in the bulb causes the water to ascend into the second bulb, where coffee grounds are mixed with the hot water and extraction occurs. The heat source is then removed and the air begins to cool and contract in the first bulb, pulling the water back through a filter and the tube into the original bulb. This works via atmospheric pressure. The changes in temperature create positive and negative air pressure, which moves the liquid back and forth. So if Dr. Hughes is correct, the "siphon" coffee brewer isn't really a siphon. Michael Royce and I discussed this one day and he went off to do some research, confirming what I suspected. My next question to Michael is this: What type of device is the "siphon" coffee brewer?

Siphon coffee is one of several brewing methods that take time, and have been clumped into a movement that emphasizes slow coffee. Most one-cup brewing methods that don't involve the espresso machine are a part of this movement, and the specialty coffee industry is embracing the ability to brew one cup at a time for their patrons. Pourover coffee, presspot coffee, "siphon" coffee, Aeropress, and a myriad of other forms of brewing have become popular in recent days. And they are definitely slow. Using these methods in a coffeehouse requires time, employees, counter space, and the equipment to make it happen. We're planning to slow it down in the new space and let you further experience our coffees in ways you haven't been exposed to in the past. Because, like good ribs, sometimes slower is better.

Since we have gotten this good press in the Wine Spectator, the word of DoubleShot Coffee is spreading far and wide. I received a letter a couple of days ago via snail mail from a guy who doesn't have his computer connected to the internet. I thought this was really interesting. A guy in a suburb of Chicago who reads Wine Spectator and doesn't use the internet. And who is still willing to write a letter to a business, inquiring about purchasing a product. It took me back to my childhood. That's how it used to be, huh? I remember that my brother used to send letters to celebrities and get back autographed black-and-white photographs of them. Roger Staubach, Adam West, and other cult heroes of children in the late 70s. Remember order forms? Fill out the order form and send it in with a check. So I wrote him back. I like doing it the slow way. Now I'm thinking about how I can start using this old-school snail mail ordering method. Slow is the new fast.

Our Colombian coffees just reached the port in Oakland. They took the slow boat from Colombia in a shipping container. Which has just been held up by customs. Slow seems to be the watchword and song of the government. But as soon as the container is released, a truck will drive here from California with our El Boton Natural, some WASHED El Boton, and the second Colombian natural in the United States, from a farm called Las Animas, in the Concordia area of Antioquia.

How are things going with our expansion buildout? Slow.
Slow and steady gets the prize?
My dad always told me, "You may not be good, but you sure are slow."
August 16, 2012

Evolution

When I was a kid we would go down to the creek and catch crawdads and put them in my friend Shannon's plastic kiddie pool. Once, we caught over 30 crawdads, all different sizes, and they filled the little tub out behind his house. The area we lived in during that time was hot and dusty and we lived next to a huge field where I would go ride my bike on the motorcycle trails, and we were always wary about going off into the high grass because of the rattlesnakes, scorpions and tarantulas that lived there in abundance. And in the summer, when everything dried up, we would walk down to an old dirt road where there were standing puddles in the shade of scraggly oak trees. The same oak trees that pitched so many acorns out into the grass for squirrels to bury, and which we all learnt ourselves how to whistle through our thumbs in the hollow cup of the acorn shell. In those stagnant pools we found little black tadpoles, swarming away from our footfalls like an orchestra of shooting stars. Sometimes we would bring them home and sometimes we would leave them to occupy one check-point in our daily treks, always waiting and observing a very rapid, but real mini-drama of evolution. These tadpoles, much to our amazement, would grow legs and their swimming tails would shrink, and before long the little black sperms would crawl out of that puddle and breathe and hop away, little frogs gone to eat the mosquitoes preying on our veins.

Frogs and toads, we loved to catch. And have races. Every one, when caught, would pee, and if you held it out it wouldn't get all over your hand. These dusty, hopping creatures symbolized what was great about our lives in the woods and fields and ponds, developing and learning how to live and how to sneak into the house in the morning to steal some bacon, which we would hang over a stick and cook over our fire. Life was learning how to walk around barefoot without flinching and how to build a platform high in a tree and how not to get peed on by a frog.

I once had a birthday party where my mom made a chocolate cake with Kermit the Frog on top and everyone wore hats that looked like Kermit was sitting on our heads. I was in grade school and my friends came over and we played games and ate cake and had our picture taken with frog hats.

And somehow, after all these years (today being the 31st anniversary of that party), I feel like the frog probably grew and sprouted a new tail and a mane and learned to run and hunt with his claws and teeth instead of his tongue. Ever changing, evolving, I wonder what that first breath was like when the tadpole decided to crawl out of the puddle. Probably hurt a little.

I see the DoubleShot entering a new phase of its existence, and it is so closely tied to my own existence that we feel the same pains. Its development is much different than my own, a different graph on the same axes, and sometimes my mind is crossed with thoughts of two different developing entities, and in making choices that effect both- one brain trying to steer two tadpoles out of the muck.

When I graduated from college I had, what seem like now, foolish and selfish goals of youth: To be married in my mid-20s and to be a millionaire in my early-30s. Today, at 37, neither married nor a millionaire, I have seen changes in my motivations over time. Like tectonic plates, slowly shifting and occasionally buckling during times of sudden revelation or growth or demolition. I've come to see my existence in the history of the world to be about as important as that of a flea on a dog's back, and I don't like it. How I deal with that is what my friends see in the altruistic, as well as the irresponsible decisions I make. The DoubleShot, on the other hand, is not me. It IS me. But it doesn't have to be.

Recently I sent a note to a friend who owns a large and very successful coffee company about how he dealt with changes and growth and how he decided what paths to choose. He responded with something that has stuck with me. He said he is building a company that he intends to exist in 200 years, and he asked me where my company would be in 200 years. Now THAT is a long-range goal. But an interesting question. I've begun to ponder the importance of the DoubleShot outside my own occupation and livelihood. Is it important to the community? Is it important outside of me? If so, I might should think about what that means and how to safeguard that. Because if I died tomorrow, the DoubleShot would die with me. And maybe that's right.

For my birthday gift to myself, I sample roasted a bit of the Nekisse to drink today. Soon I will share it with you. And more coffees. I did get four bags of a pulp natural Costa Rican that is really good. That is on its way now, along with some Natural Sidamo, a Sulawesi, which will be a new origin for the DoubleShot, and a Peruvian. VERY distinctive coffees. I also locked up a Kenya and a natural Brazil with another broker. Yes indeed, we are going to need more space to store coffee.

Thanks for your continued support. A happy day to all of us.

August 16, 2012

The Wall

There is a limit to the number of coffees I can "cup" or taste in a short period of time before everything begins to taste pretty much the same. Everything melds into a tie-dye and then khaki. I've often wondered if there isn't a better way to taste coffee samples than to follow the traditional cupping protocol: slurping coffee from a spoon and spitting into a spittoon, so as not to get over-caffeinated. (Slurp and spit: not a good mating call.) Usually one would cup multiples of each coffee, with several different coffees on one table. The multiple cups are to check for variations and defects. But that's not my main concern, being so far up the chain. I want to know how it tastes.

I had 20 samples to taste this week and I decided to do pourovers of each one. I liked the ease of brewing and clean up. And the cleanliness of each cup, allowing me to pick out characteristics of the coffees and not experience over-extraction as the cup cooled. We still only tasted 10 at a time, but we weren't spitting either. Six coffees tends to be my table limit when cupping, and maybe 10 is my limit on pourover coffees before I hit the wall.

The wall. Ha.

"The wall" is something marathon runners like to talk about. "I hit the wall at 21, and those last 5 were rough." So many people talk about the wall, that it seems suspicious. If I didn't know better, I'd probably think this was a psychosomatic response brought on by the belief that it would happen. A self-fulfilling prophesy. And that may be.

I used to believe in the wall. And then I found out it was a tunnel. A very dark tunnel. The tunnel of tired, commanding voices and weary, labored breathing, energy-sapping, impossible obstacles. Lay down. Lay down. You have to stop moving and lay down.
The first time I ran 100 miles I realized that I experienced "hitting the wall" a few times during the race. And if I just kept going through those very very dark times, eventually I would come out the other end of the tunnel and feel ok again. 26.2 miles just isn't long enough to find out.

I used to practice "bonking" on the trail. (No, not that kind of bonking.) I would purposely go out running or riding in the most adverse conditions (hot, tired, just ate, dehydrated, etc) and go hard until I blew up and then practice reeling that back in and continuing despite those feelings. I figured if I could train under the worst conditions, I could be great when the conditions were perfect.
One of my favorite bike routes is in an area called Osage Hills, and to get there I cross a pedestrian bridge over the tapering end of a train yard. I grew up next to the train tracks in a town that wouldn't exist if not for the train yards. So I like trains. Trains made our house shake like mini-earthquakes every day, and the train tracks were treasure troves of spikes and smashed pennies and they represented the wall of Wrigley Field in our homerun derby of whiffle ball. And I like street art. Sit at a railroad crossing and watch the boxcars and coal cars and cabooses stream by like a personal drive-in gallery showing. Tags and warnings and pictures, lude and amusing. These street artists have talent. And a lot of spare time. And a great canvas, moving slowly across the plains.

One wall down under the pedestrian bridge has become a showcase for some of the locals. The opposite of Michelangelo's Sistine ceilings. But at least one church in town has been sending street crews out to paint over the street art. Because street artists are of the devil. Haven't you seen it? SK8 OR DIE. TRON. Ugly Couches. WWJD? He'd paint the wall grey. And the mind will follow.
I once asked a City road construction worker, who was erasing tags and stenciled silhouettes of tv's and balloons and Martin Luther King, how he knew which was graffiti and which was art. "It's all graffiti to me," he said. They're all pot holes to me. Hit the road (not the wall).

Couple days ago a bird somehow got in. I tried to shoo it out. But it stayed far up in the rafters, occasionally flitting down a feather or a bit of dust. Hovering around our pull-up competition rope. The SHUT sign. The round ductwork with it's robot-like square vent. Robot-like the red wall of robots painted in my stairwell by some devilish streetsy. I waited. It didn't seem very big. But some birds aren't. And then... thwak thwak thwak......... THUD. It hovered a hair too close to the ceiling fan and, like a kid pushed from the merry-go-round, whirling fan blades launched the bird across the room. And it hit the wall. I guess it didn't know about the tunnel. Bird became cat food and the circle of life continued.

There were a couple of coffees in those samples that lit me up. One, a Kenya, was what I dream of in a Kenyan: lively acidity and that muted sweet citrus, quite different from the Yirgacheffe citrus. More of a floral, complicated by caramels and honey. Reminds me of Glenmorangie Nectar D'Or, which is finished in a Sauternes cask. A natural Brazil, sweeter than most Brazils. Less winey and just a tad fruity. Nutty. Definitely nutty, with a splinter of wood. A Costa Rican. Something other than La Minita. This one is a honey coffee. A pulp natural. Good. Super complex. Reminded me of the complexity you get in the San Rafael.

I hope we're not too late to get these coffees. Sometimes they disappear before I have a chance to claim any.
August 16, 2012

The Wall

There is a limit to the number of coffees I can "cup" or taste in a short period of time before everything begins to taste pretty much the same. Everything melds into a tie-dye and then khaki. I've often wondered if there isn't a better way to taste coffee samples than to follow the traditional cupping protocol: slurping coffee from a spoon and spitting into a spittoon, so as not to get over-caffeinated. (Slurp and spit: not a good mating call.) Usually one would cup multiples of each coffee, with several different coffees on one table. The multiple cups are to check for variations and defects. But that's not my main concern, being so far up the chain. I want to know how it tastes.

I had 20 samples to taste this week and I decided to do pourovers of each one. I liked the ease of brewing and clean up. And the cleanliness of each cup, allowing me to pick out characteristics of the coffees and not experience over-extraction as the cup cooled. We still only tasted 10 at a time, but we weren't spitting either. Six coffees tends to be my table limit when cupping, and maybe 10 is my limit on pourover coffees before I hit the wall.

The wall. Ha.

"The wall" is something marathon runners like to talk about. "I hit the wall at 21, and those last 5 were rough." So many people talk about the wall, that it seems suspicious. If I didn't know better, I'd probably think this was a psychosomatic response brought on by the belief that it would happen. A self-fulfilling prophesy. And that may be.

I used to believe in the wall. And then I found out it was a tunnel. A very dark tunnel. The tunnel of tired, commanding voices and weary, labored breathing, energy-sapping, impossible obstacles. Lay down. Lay down. You have to stop moving and lay down.
The first time I ran 100 miles I realized that I experienced "hitting the wall" a few times during the race. And if I just kept going through those very very dark times, eventually I would come out the other end of the tunnel and feel ok again. 26.2 miles just isn't long enough to find out.

I used to practice "bonking" on the trail. (No, not that kind of bonking.) I would purposely go out running or riding in the most adverse conditions (hot, tired, just ate, dehydrated, etc) and go hard until I blew up and then practice reeling that back in and continuing despite those feelings. I figured if I could train under the worst conditions, I could be great when the conditions were perfect.
One of my favorite bike routes is in an area called Osage Hills, and to get there I cross a pedestrian bridge over the tapering end of a train yard. I grew up next to the train tracks in a town that wouldn't exist if not for the train yards. So I like trains. Trains made our house shake like mini-earthquakes every day, and the train tracks were treasure troves of spikes and smashed pennies and they represented the wall of Wrigley Field in our homerun derby of whiffle ball. And I like street art. Sit at a railroad crossing and watch the boxcars and coal cars and cabooses stream by like a personal drive-in gallery showing. Tags and warnings and pictures, lude and amusing. These street artists have talent. And a lot of spare time. And a great canvas, moving slowly across the plains.

One wall down under the pedestrian bridge has become a showcase for some of the locals. The opposite of Michelangelo's Sistine ceilings. But at least one church in town has been sending street crews out to paint over the street art. Because street artists are of the devil. Haven't you seen it? SK8 OR DIE. TRON. Ugly Couches. WWJD? He'd paint the wall grey. And the mind will follow.
I once asked a City road construction worker, who was erasing tags and stenciled silhouettes of tv's and balloons and Martin Luther King, how he knew which was graffiti and which was art. "It's all graffiti to me," he said. They're all pot holes to me. Hit the road (not the wall).

Couple days ago a bird somehow got in. I tried to shoo it out. But it stayed far up in the rafters, occasionally flitting down a feather or a bit of dust. Hovering around our pull-up competition rope. The SHUT sign. The round ductwork with it's robot-like square vent. Robot-like the red wall of robots painted in my stairwell by some devilish streetsy. I waited. It didn't seem very big. But some birds aren't. And then... thwak thwak thwak......... THUD. It hovered a hair too close to the ceiling fan and, like a kid pushed from the merry-go-round, whirling fan blades launched the bird across the room. And it hit the wall. I guess it didn't know about the tunnel. Bird became cat food and the circle of life continued.

There were a couple of coffees in those samples that lit me up. One, a Kenya, was what I dream of in a Kenyan: lively acidity and that muted sweet citrus, quite different from the Yirgacheffe citrus. More of a floral, complicated by caramels and honey. Reminds me of Glenmorangie Nectar D'Or, which is finished in a Sauternes cask. A natural Brazil, sweeter than most Brazils. Less winey and just a tad fruity. Nutty. Definitely nutty, with a splinter of wood. A Costa Rican. Something other than La Minita. This one is a honey coffee. A pulp natural. Good. Super complex. Reminded me of the complexity you get in the San Rafael.

I hope we're not too late to get these coffees. Sometimes they disappear before I have a chance to claim any.
August 16, 2012

Roses and Skaters

Sales of El Boton Natural have been good since the story in Wine Spectator. The magazine isn't yet on the newsstands, but subscribers are receiving the issue now. We have a few new coffees on the way, which I'm excited about. I'm very close to releasing another Ninety Plus coffee called Nekisse. It's a natural Ethiopian, and every drop of it I've tasted has been as clean and sweet and strawberry shortcake as any coffee I've ever put in my mouth. Super interesting comparisons will happen soon too, when we receive a small lot of washed El Boton from the exact same trees and same harvest day as the natural that will accompany it. Outstanding.

Outside my apartment is a pink rose bush. It's quite large and produces tens of flowers on any given day. I have been snipping two or three and putting them in a small vase on the table next to my big leather chair- a table with carved elephant heads as its base. The first time I walked into my former girlfriend's apartment, it was the first thing that caught my eye. I loved it, but it was out of place in her apartment, shoved into the corner. She let it go in the end and it fits perfectly in my apartment. I'm glad she let me have it. Anyway, a couple nights ago I was sitting in my big leather chair, feet up on the ottoman, reading William Vollman's ATLAS, when suddenly a petal fell off one of the flowers. It fell off abruptly, as if the petal were a heavy kettle in the farmer's walk-portion of the strongest man competition and the flower all at once gave up and threw the petal onto the table with a thud. I'm sure it was relative to the stillness in the room, but it was also relatively dramatic.

Today I noticed new flowers blooming on the bush and, as usual (probably just because of the saying), I stopped to smell them. I'm not sure why I do because clearly these are a rare breed of rose that has no scent. Up the stairs into my apartment. Make sure Sterling doesn't go out. Let Stripey come in to play with Sterling for a bit. And I noticed the roses on my elephant table had seen better days. So I picked the trio up to toss them into the receptacle and instantly every petal fell quickly to the floor. Oh what a rose petal mess I made. Weird they could fall as spilled macaroni on my living room hardwoods.

My front porch, which Mr. Sterling loves to sleep in, faces the slow part of the Arkansas River. The pretty part. The part with the trees and water and not as many cars as joggers and cyclists. And skaters. Last week I sat here on my porch, where I sit now, watching a band of skaters skritching down hills and around sharp curves, tightly avoiding nervous drivers. Then they lined up and took turns practicing kick flips and various other tricks. One dude's girlfriend showed up with an 18-inch high rail and they began practicing their grinds. I was impressed with their overall skill and balance. But it amused me to watch them fall. Some more than others, of course. Crash. Roll. Slide. On the pavement. Get up. Do it again. And again. And again. I was happy to see so many youngsters outside being active. And my perspective toward skaters has changed over time. I once saw them as punk rebellious kids. And now I see them as peers. But these guys slapped the pavement like a rose petal on a hardwood floor. Then the ice cream truck pulled up with its simple song and they all ran and got in and it drove off.

The idea of falling is painful. But clearly there are different classifications. The skaters know they will fall and if they don't try something and fall, they'll never figure out how to do it without falling. The rose seems to have fallen on its sword.

I hope the DoubleShot is more like a skater than a rose.
August 16, 2012

Teaching the Wine Peeps About Coffee

Mondays are somewhat long work days for me. Most days rope me into hours upon hours of slow work, intermittently interrupted by customers saying hello or goodbye. I usually come to work on Monday a few minutes after 7, and it's one of those days where I try to decide if I want to take the faster route or the more scenic, less-stressful one. In the afternoon I fire up the roaster and the repetitive purr of her drum and airflow either drive people into further concentration... or it drives them away. I roast coffee for a few hours and then I have to wait until the drum cools down before I turn it off and go home. So Monday nights always hold a couple hours of relaxation, chit-chat amongst friends, and maybe some Bulliet and an Alec Bradley Maxx.
This morning our friend Scott Large, of Thirst Wine Merchants, came in for an iced latte. He was with a guy named Matt, who is the GM at the Owen Roe winery. Owen Roe makes great wine... and you pay for it. Matt asked for a recommendation and I suggested an americano. He opted for a large. I would've had him drink a small. I was chatting with Scott and noticed Matt was trying to tell me that the cream pitcher was empty. He had it tipped over his cup, shaking it, trying to get a drop to fall from the spout. I looked over and said, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" He said he always drinks his coffee with cream. I said No, don't do that. He said ok and then instinctively picked up a packet of sugar and ripped the top off. I said, "Quit that. Did you even taste it yet?" He said no. I asked him if he salts his steak before he tastes it and he told me he doesn't even salt his steak. I told him to drink it as it was prepared and he would find that the natural sugars are in there from the coffee. And it is sweet. And when it cools, it will turn into the most milk-chocolatey coffee you've ever had. He told me he was just used to drinking Stumptown coffee (because he's from Portland) and it was instinctual to put cream and sugar in it.
But the story Scott was telling me was about a dinner he had yesterday at Philbrook Museum. There's a woman named Deborah Madison who is in town from San Francisco. Scott says she was a leader in the "eat local foods" movement. And I see that she wrote some cookbooks and owns a restaurant. She had never been to Tulsa and was asking what she needed to experience while she is here. Scott said that the DoubleShot is something not to be missed. He said he's been all over the world and hasn't found better coffee anywhere. Which is a really nice thing to say. He said James chimed in (who I assume is Shrader, who owns the Palace Cafe) and they continued to talk about me and the DoubleShot purportedly for an hour. I thought that was funny. I guess the Philbrook is having an event tonight with Deborah, but we haven't seen her yet.
On Saturday a bird walked in the front door. I didn't notice it until it wanted out. Michael and I spent 15 minutes trying to catch it or shoo it out. We were worried the poor bird was going to kill its little self. At one point it flew at top speed across the room, straight into the window, slightly woozy. Eventually it found the back door.
I went to Steve's Sundries this morning to get the latest issue of Wine Spectator magazine. It wasn't on the shelf yet. But as soon as it is, you should go pick up a copy. This is going to be a collector's edition. Even if you're not into wine. You know, Wine Spectator is the most widely read magazine in the world, with over 2.58 million readers. And this month, the DoubleShot is featured in a small section about coffee: http://www.winespectator.com/magazine/show/id/42616

Yeah.
August 16, 2012

Holiday Hours

See below for DoubleShot Holiday Hours of Coffee...
August 16, 2012

8 years and 14 minutes and 25 seconds*

Time is peculiar in that you can spend a lot of it just by thinking about it. I think about it in terms of minutes and seconds. I think about it in terms of days and years and lifespans. And I think about it in terms of gravity and speed. It's always moving forward, at least in our current state. And I count its passing, as I rely on its lubrication of gravity pulling the water through my bed of ground coffee. "Time is of the essence." And fortunately for coffee brewing, it's fairly consistent. Imagine if, not only were time a variable in measuring the length of a coffee brew, but time were a variable in that we could change its speed. Maybe we can and we just don't know it.

Time is important in brewing coffee. Not just time, but timing. Listen to the deep, haunting, harmonic rhythm of the song "Abdication And Coronation" by Jan Bang. Listen to it real loud in your car with the windows up, so you can feel it in your diaphragm. Think how this song would be different if you let the Beastie Boys perform it in their stop-and-go style of Brooklyn hip-hop.
It's the difference in the taste of a presspot of Sumatra Aceh Gold versus a pourover of Colombia Maduro.

Maybe if I stand next to something massive, like the Burj Khalifa, I'd be able to brew coffee sideways. And maybe time moves faster inside the building than out and I could brew a presspot in 3 relative minutes. Maybe not.

I think about time when I read about Colombus crossing the Atlantic and finding a bunch of (soon-to-be-exterminated) Indians in the Dominican Republic and Honduras and Venezuela. And when I read about Lewis and Clark crossing the continent and finding a bunch of (soon-to-be relocated) Indians on (soon-to-be-confiscated) land in mountains and prairies and on rivers and deserts. It only took us 200 years and two coffee revolutions to pave the entire west coast. And shortly after Colombus populated the Caribbean with Europeans, the French would replace the dead Indians with African slaves and build coffee plantations on their backs until a bloody rebellion saw the "masters" in the unstable ground beneath the feet of the oppressed. It wasn't that long ago. How many Haitian Bleu coffee beans have been roasted in Portland coffee shops over the past 200 years? Not enough, I tell you.

And when will the Maduro be back in stock at the DoubleShot Roastery? It's been far too long. I can't agree more, but patience (the virtue my mother warned me never to pray for) mixed with anticipation is a healthy use of this time. Oh god, I wish I were more patient! No no! Patience comes with trials. Damned the answered prayers. And to hell with that Garth Brooks song too. As far as I know, Maduro landed in the U.S. two weeks ago. There is always time spent waiting for Customs to clear the container before we can get the coffee. It will be here soon, I'm confident. And it will be better than you remember.

The last few seconds of a roast, especially of a new coffee that I don't know very well, is crucial. It's sort of like when I was a kid and I loved cinnamon toast. And my mom taught me how to make it: spread butter on the bread, get the brown plastic bear with the perforated top and generously shake the cinnamon/sugar mixture in a snake-like pattern across the bread, turn the oven on broil, put the bread on a pan and get ready. Because you know there's a perfect done-ness to cinnamon toast, and those final seconds are heart-wrenching. You can't keep opening the oven door, but if you let it go too long it's not very good, and if you don't get it done enough you might as well have not wasted your time putting it in the oven at all. It all happens so fast and a few seconds can mean cutting the crust off the bread, or worse (smoke pouring out of the oven, setting off the smoke alarm, climbing up onto a dining room chair, fanning it with a dish towel, heart pounding). You have to get it right. Just right. Right second. Right done-ness. I'm that little kid with my cinnamon toast Roaster, fretting over seconds and coffee beans. Because it's really hard to trim the crust off a coffee bean.

The DoubleShot is now 8 years old. Its' birthday passed Monday in relative workaday routine. It's actually somewhat remarkable that the DoubleShot is afloat. People say different things about it, and I have my thoughts. And I remember a lot; less, though, than I don't remember. It's a place where I call the shots and I respond to every need. A place where several years have passed fairly quickly, but not as many years as it has felt like. And maybe it's time to revisit the reasons I opened the DoubleShot to begin with, 8 years ago on March 5, 2004 (when my baby had just turned 38). I had a dream.

The day I roasted the first batch of coffee in my kitchen with a fluid bed roaster I bought from Coffee Project online, I had an epiphany that would change my life dramatically. All at once, the coffee exploded onto my palate, which I remember in vivid colors and emotions, and I remember looking out the arched window, across the street to a small field of dormant yellow grass, frosted with white winter dew, shaded by the IDL, smiling, puzzled. Where had this flavor been hiding? Where did this vibrancy and complexity come from? It was as if I had been drinking coffee in that cold, scratchy, yellow, overcast field my whole life, and I'd just tasted Summer mountain wildflowers in shades of blue and purple Columbines, red and orange Indian Paintbrush, white and pink Elephant's Heads. It was like the first time, at 23, I drove through the Colorado Rockies, after spending my entire life in the cornfields of Illinois and the red dirt Crosstimbers of Oklahoma. It's the monotony of sameness over time that lulls you into being okay with mediocrity. And at some point I decided that I should share this discovery that I found hiding inside coffee beans with the people around me. Because I wanted everyone else to have the experience I had there in my apartment in 1998.

And I hope you have had those moments. I hope the toil and my paying attention to time and detail has paid off for you. I hope you have had explosions in your mouth and smiles across your face because of the coffee we produce.

This week, on our anniversary week, give the coffee a little time. Pause for a second. Take the lid off and sit down. Inhale the aromas, aerate the coffee in your mouth and swish it around on your tongue and exhale through your nose so you can catch the smell before you swallow. Enjoy the coffee, and explore the difference in the cup that is inherited from our years of experience and our attention to minute increments of weight and forces and seconds.
It's all for you.



*how long it took to gain the experience necessary to roast and pull that delicious shot of single-origin espresso you drank on the sidecart Tuesday morning.
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