WAC Update 5/20

20 05 2010

The Oregon coast was a great and a much needed diversion last weekend – with a full ABC’s starting Monday @ 8am.

A quick update as the build out continues at Water Ave. Coffee.

Our Fed-X and  UPS drivers are beginning to hate us as they are delivering dozens of boxs  everyday now.

Garth our woodworker has been hard at it… getting this massive bar installed.  The bar tops and paneling have been taken from gigantic and very old re-claimed timbers – re-cut and given new life.  This wood shows the beauty of age and it’s long journey since once being part of an Oregon forest.


No Blog- Blog

10 05 2010

Things have been just slightly busy and crazy here. Not a lot of time for blogging. There will be lots of photos and pics to come soon – of Water Ave. Coffee.  Build out is – about 70% complete. 

The roaster is looking & performing amazing – & the coffee Brandon is roasting is quite amazing (not just my opinion – but from many  in the know coffee folks who have stopped in.)
Our last class was – especially wonderful – Students from Vietnam, Trinidad, Manila and El Salvador… this is part of what makes ABC’s so fun. We have another class – sneaking up on us – a week from today… again – sold out.

Today our sign went up in the bar – about 10′ long & we love it!

CoffeeFest MN. happening on the heels of all this.  So stay tuned…


20 04 2010

The 22ed SCAA show is history.  Flying into Burbank a day early and hanging with the one – the only… Chuck Jones. 

We spent the day visiting about 6 LA freeways, time at Jones Coffee in Pasadena and then up to Silverlake popping in on LA Mill – Intelly & In & Out.

Friday night – the opening keynote was  a hero of mine Arianna Huffington.  Her talk was motivational & thought provoking – much like her books and her site The Huffington Post – a site I spend at least a half an hour a day on – getting my news fix.

Then there was the show floor – Matt & I both speaking – USBC & as usual… a lot of parties and amazing dinners.  The last day was great we met up with Martin Diedrich at Kean in Tustin – hanging out before our flight up north from John Wayne.  Below finds Matt with two coffee legends – Gianni and Martin.

Astoria weekend – Tuesday… So-Cal

12 04 2010

The past weekend was great. We traveled to the coast – namely… Astoria. I must confess though I have been to the Oregon coast many times I had only been in Astoria once before.  What a great little city (oldest city on the west coast – older than S.F.)  The reason for the journey was the grand opening party for “Street 14 Coffee”.  Denise our client and former ABC student hosted an amazing Saturday event. Well over 150 showed up at the private party – with great food and a great band in the evening.  The day was filled with Water Ave. Coffee  doing pour over and Chemex tastings – along side Ninkasi Brewery doing an amazing beer tasting.

Now back in Portland – tying up loose ends. Getting ready to head to Southern Cal. Tuesday… for what I usually dub “Specialty Coffee’s annual family reunion.” The annual SCAA Event.

The week will be filled with lots of meetings – seeing great friends- Speaking- Trade show floor booth manning – Lots of sun… and did I mention a few double double’s animal style @ In & Out?

Tuesday in Portland

6 04 2010

This my day started  with this cappuccino at Temp Coffee…. 

I knew Brandon was around because the WAC truck was parked in front of the building.

The guy that did the hand painting on this 40 year old truck is such a rock star – it was his idea to add pin stripping. It is def. a head tuner and a moving billboard for WAC.

Inside I found Brandon working on the roaster motor – Glad someone understands electricity.

Matt took off right after our staff meeting to do an on site consulting job

The build out here today is at that noisy stage –  thousands of sheet rock screws have penetrated metal since early morning both downstairs and also up in our front office.

I keep thinking about “Yoga Boga’ (our yoga studio neighbors here on the second floor / down the hall) – Yikes!

Now waiting for Fresh Cup to arrive – as they are doing a photo shoot in the school.

What started out to be a very grey Oregon winter day is showing us some sun breaks now.  Maybe my favorite image of the day so far!

No April Fools – Just Great Coffee!

1 04 2010

Temporary Coffee (soon to be WAC) opened at 7am today in the former Bakery Bar space… just around the corner from the build out (in full swing)  of Water Avenue Coffee.  Seen here- Matt,Thomas,Danielle & Drew.

Rain/More Join the WAC Team/Temp.Coffee…etc.

30 03 2010

It is hard to believe it is almost Easter.  Love the holidays as it presents the opportunity for all of us in the family to slow down and truly enjoy each other. Then there is our annual Easter potluck dinner and plastic easter egg hunt with 100 dollar bills inside (that part is a joke).

I knew after weeks of beautiful sunny warm weather in Portland the rain had to return and it has.  Great for spring skiing  but off the mountains  – we got a bit spoiled driving with our sunroofs open in March.  Of course in reality none of us would live here if we did not actually love this climate.  Rain is good for being inside – I need inside time right now so it comes as a blessing.

Thursday we will open a temporary coffee bar operation in our building here on Water Ave. –  called – what else – “Temporary Coffee”.  Opening in the former Bakery Bar space for about a month.  We are only doing this to offer espresso and pour over to our coffee starved neighbors in the surrounding buildings & neighborhood.  It will also allow those in Portland (outside the inner coffee community)  for the first time experience our single origin WAC coffee’s – roasted by no other than our partner Brandon Smyth (formally with Stumptown).

Pour over master Tom Pikaart (www.pouredover.com) from Visions and master barista Drew Woods from Vivace have re-located from Seattle  to be two of WAC’s first full time baristas.  Both are amazing in terms of their knowledge and passion for coffee.  Below we see them hanging out today in the new “Temp” space with Rita from Albina Press – Dan Baumfeld of Neptune Coffee in Seattle – Matt – Jared Mockli – Jesse Kahn and Sarah Dooley all down from Seattle to say hello.

In about a month or so when Bunk will take over this “temp” space – we  hopefully should be ready to do a soft open in our new 2000 square foot retail space.

Matt & Brandon have been on Craigs list daily for WAC  and the finds have been no less than amazing!  Last week it was 14 – very 70’s – black fiberglass molded chairs that were found in a warehouse in Southeast.  Today we scored a 5 foot sign that says what else “Portland”.

We hope the plumbers will be finished this week as well as the electricians so we can finish the sheet rock.  Counter tops are from 100 year old re-claimed / re-planned wood – two feet wide and thicker than two Chicago phone books or one Chicago deep dish pizza.

Photos will be forthcoming here on the bellissimo blog as we progress.

Today my early mailing of the April Fresh Cup arrived at the office.  It included both the article I wrote on coffee and consulting in Morocco as well as the co- authored piece with Lon LaFlamme on Waves Coffee in Vancouver B.C. a company I consulted with on site last fall.

Today I am submitting a marketing article to Fresh Cup for their May edition – here is a paragraph preview of that piece:

Each month we read about chains closing more and more unprofitable stores. Many experts estimate that retail specialty coffee was “overbuilt” by approximately 20 percent. I totally disagree. I think at least 20 percent had to fail in a tough economy because of poor business practices and because they failed to understand the nature of specialty coffee. The more than 2000 operations that closed in the past two years closed because they had built their businesses on sand, and in many cases did not offer the right product or know who their customers were. In addition, many operations (even chains) chose unbelievably poor locations. Many of the independents that went out of business were trying to copy the chain model and did not understand their community or how to set themselves apart.


Now back to prep for our biggest show of the year in LA -Our annual SCAA  show/ Two weeks from today we will be in Cali with a zillion other coffee professionals.    Chuck Jones will be picking me up from the Burbank AP and then we will tour coffee in LA with a contingent of Anacafe folks from Guatemala that day.

One major highlight for me of this years show is  the Keynote Rick choose – a true hero of mine – Ariana Huffington!

If you are attending Matt & I will be in Booth #2155 – Hope lots of our coffee family from around the world will stop in.