SCAA Portland

16 04 2012

Wow, we can hardly believe SCAA is almost here! Here are the details:

WHO/WHAT: Specialty Coffee Association of America Exposition, La Marzocco exhibiting

WHEN: 4/20: 11-5:30pm

4/21: 11-5:30pm

4/22: 11-4pm

WHERE: Booth #3101: Oregon Convention Center: 777 NE ML King Blvd.  Portland, OR 97232

WHY: Because we all like the opportunity to talk, taste, brew and compete with coffee!

Other big deals:

  • We’re very excited to be sharing our booth with an awesome list of GUEST ROASTERS, who will be pulling shots of their coffee from our machines. They’ll be at our espresso bars with LM & Mazzer equipment, and at our brew bar, with equipment from Marco & Mazzer.
  • 2012 World Aeropress Championship (WAC) will be taking place at our brew bar from 11am-4pm Friday!
  • SARAH DOOLEY, our Customer Service & Sales gem will be competing in the United States Barista Competition, first going on Friday at 3:55pm! We can hardly wait to support her as she makes us and Olympia Coffee Roasters quite proud.
  • Co-sponsored PARTIES will take place Friday & Saturday night:




Smell, Slurp, Spit

30 06 2011

Today at La Marzocco we did something that we’re going to start doing more often: CUPPINGS.

Joining us today were friends from Victrola, Kopplin’s and Milstead & Co.  In addition to cupping a variety of roasters’ spring release coffees, Andrew Milstead brought by samples of the four major acids found in brewed coffee – Acetic, Citric, Malic and Phosphoric acid – which we of course cupped.

Cupping is going to start becoming a regular thing around LM, so if you have coffee you think we should try, please send it our way! Or better yet, come over yourself and we can cup it together.





Third Wave on ABC Nightline

12 07 2010

More mainstream media coverage on the burgeoning Third Wave movement. This time from ABC’s Nightline, featuring NYC’s Blue Bottle, Stumptown, and Bluebird.

Seriously, how many more times are these type of reports gonna compare Third Wave coffee to Sanka or Foldgers?





NYC Coffee

6 07 2010

NYC is known for great food but their coffee was only as good as its urban fragrance exhibited in the subways during the peak summertime heat. That is, until in the recent years, when major roasters and key local coffee heroes paved the way for specialty coffee.

This is, of course, not news. But I am here to show you some delicious pictures of coffee and food from our adventures in NYC during LMOOB NYC last month:

Third Rail Coffee

Stumptown at the Ace Hotel

Stupdendous dinner at Emporio

Abraco - amazing for coffee AND their olive oil cake and cookies

Abraco's rocking the Linea at 198.7 F with Counter Culture spro

Ninth St Espresso - there's always a line

Can you believe the size of that meat rack?! Yatagan Kebabs on MacDougal.

This is what "donor kebab" is... kinda like a Turkish taco

Unfortunately it was only last weekend that the super upscale (read: expensive) cycling clothing brand Rapha opened their “pop up” store on Bowery. Filled with various cycling memorabilia and paraphernalia (wake up, Eddie Merckx fans!), the store is also interesting that they’re streaming Tour de France live (what better way to watch 60 pro riders fall all over spilled motor oil?) AND they have a built in coffee shop, courtesy of Third Rail Coffee and Stumptown. So next time you’re in Manhattan and want a pair of Team Issue Bib Shorts to go along with your cortado, swing by Rapha on 352 Bowery.

Rapha's "pop up" store (photo from Flickr user pedalstrike)

Of course there are a number of other notable coffee establishments in NYC but, due to limitations in time, I wasn’t able to swing by (Joe, Bluebird), forgot to take pictures (Blue Bottle, Gimme, Grumpy), or wasn’t open just yet (Caffetteria).

Lastly, what better way to end this mini slide show with the 3 amigos singing and playing guitars on #7 en route to Queens?





Tuesday Night – Barista Round Table – Be There

1 02 2010

Visions Espresso‘s Coffee Enhancement Lounge will be hosting round 3 of Barista Round Table, an interactive and highly involved forum for coffee professionals – managers, baristas, roasters, techs, et al. Wonderfully hosted by Sarah Dooley and Jared Mockli, the BRT is a means for all to come together, unencumbered, and simply geek out on all things coffee.

While some may argue that Seattle’s coffee scene has been lagging behind other progressive specialty coffee markets such as SF, NYC, and Portland, it does not necessarily represent all of us here in Seattle. Granted, there are indeed plenty of people (consumers and professionals alike) ok with the status quo of dark(er) roasted coffees or mysterious blends and defend tirelessly of Seattle’s “coffee city” repute. At the same time, however, there are also many of us that are actively working to further our understanding and appreciation of specialty coffee, collaborating with each other as well as many other leading establishments elsewhere. BRT is such a place where these people come together.

Perhaps it is a confluence of the economy, bad public policy, stagnant demand, a dash of complacency, and Seattle’s passive aggressive culture that have discouraged many progressive Third Wave cafes from opening up. Nonetheless, there are a handful of relatively new (within the past 1-2 years or so) and excellent places that are worthy of at least a visit by the most discerning amongst us.

  • Urban Coffee Lounge – Baristas Andrew and Laila came in 2nd and 3rd at 2010 NWRBC. Features Stumptown coffee prepared with care and precision.
  • Zoka Kirkland – Their new cafe is a daring departure, with two machines (one dedicated to single origin espressos) in a sexy urban setting.
  • Tougo Coffee – Serves Stumptown and Ritual (only place in Seattle!).
  • Dubsea Coffee – New cafe serving Stumptown coffee, bringing specialty coffee to an area of town (White Center) not previously accustomed to specialty coffee.
  • Stumptown Seattle – Always pushing the quality above all else, of course.
  • Makeda Coffee – Little shop in a sleepy neighborhood of Phinney Ridge, serving Seven Roasters coffee

This is not a comprehensive list of course (let’s not forget Aster, Trabant, and many more but keeping it short here to get to the point). Perhaps it is due to Seattle’s inherent culture of understatedness and avoidance of attracting attention to oneself that most of these establishments are not very well known (Zoka and Stumptown notwithstanding).

The point is, the BRT is a manifestation of the kind of progressive efforts a dedicated group of us in Seattle are actively pursuing. If you’re in town, this is your chance to geek out.





Soup’d Up Mistral

7 01 2010

That’s no minestrone. It’s one of two custom La Marzocco Mistrals destined for Stumptown Portland. Under the hood specs:

  • Mechanical Paddle – for variable pressure soft preinfusion
  • Individual boilers
  • Individual pumps
  • Independent PID controllers
  • Preheater – controlled preheating of incoming water

FYI, all La Marzocco machines can be customized via LM Works.





SF Coffee Scene*

4 12 2009

*Well, due to limitations in my travels last week (Thanksgiving), this is only partially representative of the city, not of greater SF or the Bay Area, which I hope to fully document someday.

SF is HOT! For coffee, that is. Roasters there are certainly bringin’ it with their coffees and their visions for the Third Wave (or Fourth Wave, for that matter).

Justin pulling shots on Four Barrel's double Mistral

Take Four Barrel, for example. Ask the people there about what coffee most excites them right now and, to my surprise (and initial horror), they said DECAF! Now, I’m philosophically opposed to decaf and the only good decaf I’ve had was a decaf espresso from Verve a couple years ago. To my pleasant surprise, Four Barrel’s decaf espresso was amazing! Of the beans used in their decaf is the Ethiopia Mordecofe, a coffee hand picked by them for decaffeination (as opposed to coffees picked by decaffeination companies). Mordecofe is offered three ways at Four Barrel – decaffeinated, washed, and natural (highly recommended!).

Four Barrel has recently reopened their back alley bar, this time with a built in bar instead of a cart. The idea is to offer a more limited but more personable approach to customers that come through the alley. It will be operated by their head trainers and/or baristas in training from their wholesale accounts. It’s a terrific concept and I’ve had amazing shots in the back bar.

Down the street on Valencia is Ritual. The cafe is busy busy BUSY (which is a good thing)! Soon they’ll move the roaster and green bean storage to revert the area back to dining room style seating for a more intimate setting. On the coffee side, they’ve recently started offering Panama Esmeralda in special handmade packaging (very cool cardboard and spray paint!), just in time for the Holidays.

Blue Bottle's cafe (with their Mechanical Paddle Linea) and roastery in Oakland. Note the warm Californian sun. How we so need it in Seattle.

Hop on the BART to Oakland and there is Blue Bottle‘s new roastery and a small cafe. The place is spectacularly clean (by that I mean clean and clean/sharp looking). In addition to the standard roasting/packaging area for coffees, office, and tech/training room, there is a cool presentation room, a full kitcken/bakery (they make killer chocolate chip cookies and $9 waffles), and a see through cupping room. If it wasn’t for the coffee equipment, the place might be mistaken for an art gallery.

Mechanical Paddle Linea at work at Blue Bottle's BUSY cafe at SF Fisherman's Terminal.

Back to SF side of the Bay at the Ferry Building (a touristy place for foodies) is one of Blue Bottle’s cafes, a very busy one at that. Featuring a Mechanical Paddle Linea as their main production machine, each espresso shot is expertly soft pre-infused for a nicely rounded, rich taste. With the Mechanical Paddle, the barista has more control (with variable pressure) over the soft pre-infusion process and thus requires a very well trained barista to continuously pull shots while there are a dozen people waiting in line.

Perhaps one of the most exciting up and coming roaster is Sightglass, just south of

Jerad and Ally of Sightglass. Pulling shots on their Slayer. Construction is afoot behind the wall of canvas.

Market in downtown. While their new roastery and cafe is still under construction, they are selling drinks on their cart to the passerby. Currently offering Verve coffee until their own roaster goes live (hopefully sometime later this month), they make fantastically prepared drinks every single time. With a huge space, a beautifully designed bar, and an u-shaped balcony seating area overlooking everything, this will be one of the most awe-inspiring coffee destinations for some time. If you go, be sure to try their mocha, which uses a specially sourced chocolate. It’s literally a chocolate cherry bomb.