Roadtrip – Olympia/Seattle

January 10, 2010

Early Friday morning Brandon and I woke up a bit sleepy but excited for the day that was ahead of us. Clad in vintage flannel and bagged lunches we hit the road headed north. Desperately needed coffee we managed to make it to Ridgefield to stop at Lava Java for a cappuccino and espresso, really nice shot of hairbender, and a single origin capp. Our next stop was Espresso parts and Olympia Coffee Roasters where we had a great sit down with Terry Z. We discussed grinders and some cool things we hope to incorporate into the coffee bar at WAC.

Terry also took us to the new Oly Coffee Roasters West location that is being built out and is due to open February 1st. It is a really cool spot, very small little retail on a cool corner lot. He has a lazy susan style “roaster turntable” which saved him 17″ of bar space (plus it looks damn cool), his bar has a hydraulic lift to it so every barista can use the machine at their desired height, and it has a killer pull out hand sink. Way to go Terry on utilizing a small space.With a few bags of Big Truck and espresso from their retail shop, we were on our way.

It was raining really hard, which did not make for fun driving but we were on a mission. Having not been to Seattle since Coffee Fest, where I had little time to do much of anything but be at the tradeshow, there was so much we wanted to do and see, but we had such little time.

With only about 45 minutes of free time, I had called ahead and set up a visit to the Slayer espresso machine studio, to get some face time with the machine. Up until now I had not had a lot of experience with this machine and was looking forward to Eric and Tom walking us through it.

We pulled some shots and had a great conversation about espresso extraction and the different variables and issues with the beloved brew method that is espresso. The Slayer guys are very enthusiastic and really enjoy thinking outside of the box, which I also do. The machine is pretty, and I hope to have more time to use it in the future, also once we have a WAC espresso up and rolling.

We pulled out of Georgetown and headed north again up to Atlas Coffee’s cupping room and offices. They have a great set up in a cool older house in NW Seattle, and it was great to see many of their staff that I had met at tradeshows and other events. Craig, Al and Drew had set up a great cupping for us and we all went downstairs to slurp some coffee.

We had sent a short list of coffees we wanted to taste, and they set up a few others they felt were special. We were really excited about 3 or 4 of the coffee on the table that day and also had a great time with the Atlas crew. A couple micro lot Hondurans were real pretty, butter and jam, along with a Sumatra that was delicious. After an hour of sipping and chatting in their cool basement floor cupping lab, we were ready to head back  to Portland. It was a quick trip and a lot of driving but it was now 3pm and we knew traffic would be a nightmare if we did not leave soon.

Our other realization was that it was 3pm and neither of us had eaten yet that day, and we were both feeling a bit cracked out from drinking so much coffee. So what did we do? Found the nearest place to indulge in tacos and burritos. Just down the street from Atlas is Gorditos, home of the “baby sized burritos”.

Burritos were amazing and hit the spot for sure. We then set in for the long drive thru Seattle and back to Portland in the dark and stormy weather. Took us about 4 hours to get home and we exhausted to cd book in my car, but we were all smiles the whole way as it was a great day for WAC.


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