Thursday, May 20, 2010


This Thing:
Yes! Months after my announcement that I would have this thing working in no time, I give you photographic evidence of Old One Eye's inaugural shot. Granted, every shot I've pulled thus far tastes like it was made with water from a public swimming pool - but that's what "dialing in" an espresso is all about.

It may be hard for the average coffee drinker to understand my excitement, but when you take into account my expectations when turning this machine on, which were to be either electrocuted or badly burnt, or to electrocute or badly burn someone else, I think it starts to become clear. In fact, just about the last thing I expected to do this machine to do was to make coffee.

But there it is, making coffee. Even after numerous applications of teflon tape and near-super-human torque on crucial nuts and bolts, it still leaks in places. But hey, if it works perfectly, it's not espresso.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I thought I'd depart from my normal LucasFilms-laden rhetorical style for the more classic Mary Shelly in honor of the recent revival of Old One Eye, itself a classic of sorts, and shown here with it's little robot eye ablaze and both steam wands ablast.

This picture is taken during the descaling process, which involves dissolving a bunch of descaler inside the boiler and boiling a couple gallons of water for around forty minutes. This process has also served as a bench test for Old One Eye, and I am happy to report that just about every part of this machine that could leak, does, which means I will get to put off actually working for a couple more days and instead turn this thing on and off and look at it seriously and make concerned noises.

In other news, Steve and I cupped earlier in the day at Royal, and it looks like we'll be getting a very nice Nicaraguan in soon - about which I'm doubly excited, having never roasted a "Nic" (a moniker which I think falls short of Yirg and especially Guat in the ugly coffee region nickname contest) before. As we cupped it at Royal (thanks to the wonderful Jerri, sample roaster extraordinaire), it has all the acidity of a central, but the sweetness is more that of nuts and nutella rather than citrus. A compelling cup that we hope to bring your way soon!

Monday, May 17, 2010

10 girls (or boys?) from ipanema

That's right! We just got a palate (that's 10 bags, get it?) of a dry-processed Brazilian coffee that will shortly become the base of our espresso blend, Long Day's Journey (which is either a reference to caffeine as stimulant or caffeine as highly addictive substance, I'm still not sure). The coffee, called Porta Rossa, is from the Cerrado region of Brazil, a high plain much like the african savannah. The coffees from this region (typically of the Mundo Nuovo cultivar) are often dry processed and exhibit mellow acidity and great, big body.
Porta Rossa delivers notes of almond, tropical fruit and a toffee-like sweetness. It pairs beautifully with our recently arrived, washed Ethiopian coffee from Yirga Cheffe for a big-bodied shot espresso with top notes of lime and jasmine and a long, bittersweet finish.