Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Solar Panels


The solar panels are installed and charging our beautiful coffee bar!!  A HUMONGOUS thank you goes out to the men and women of Yes!SolarSolutions who made it all possible.  I know there were a number of surprises and obstacles along the way but they did a great job and I can't wait to show off my panels to everybody!  TA-DAAAA!!

The question on everyone's mind is, "Will those panels really power the WHOLE coffee bar?"  And sadly, the answer is no, but they WILL be able to supplement the power from our generator and thereby decrease our total carbon footprint.  It also gets the word out about great companies like Yes! Solar Solutions who can help your home or business utilize the power of the sun and save you hundreds on electrical bills (no, they are not paying me to say this, but they may have given me a slight discount)!

Lately I've been so encouraged by the folks in the Specialty Coffee Industry who are representing coffee the right way.  The US Barista Competition Big Central regionals were just last weekend and I particularly loved Josh Wismans' presentation that included lighthearted dialogue about noses and an interesting perspective about tasting coffee.  Also, Shannon Steele-Knuckles' presentation using an organic coffee grown by an all-female staff from Costa Rica was awesome! (plus her name is badass)

Josh Wismans (Copyright Sprudge.com)
Shannon Steele-Knuckles (Copyright Sprudge.com)
I am planning on volunteering for Big East's Regional competitions to get the insider look on the competition that is going to be HERE!! in Durham from January 17th-19th.  It's free so ya'll should go!

Our next big task is to get our Kickstarter officially up and running!  Look for it in the next couple weeks!

Oh, and here's a look at that nasty old door that we refinished to turn into our espresso bar countertop:
From this

To this!

Get ready, Triangle!  Coffee is coming to you soon!  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Coffee Cuppings, Coldbrew DIY and a Church Door

I recently participated in another one of Carrboro Coffee's excellent semi-public blind cuppings.  I say "semi-public" because although the doors are unlocked and anyone can come and go- it's a bit of a weird process what with all the sniffing and slurping and silence until the very end-- that usually it's just the same handful of guys that do it.  The silence I think is the weirdest part.  In fact, I even got politely "shushed" by Mark, the head roaster when I accidentally blurted out, "Oh, wow!" after I took a sip and was shocked at the flavor.  The idea is not to influence each other's individual experience with the coffee because the power of suggestion is, well, powerful!  The coffees are tasted and ranked in a somewhat bizarre, ritualistic and systematic way and then after everyone's had a chance to jot down their thoughts, we all gather around the table and share our findings.  It's humbling tasting with these guys because they are pros and they do this so much that they can detect the tiniest nuances of flavors and defects (if any).  They use the cupping method to help tweak the roast profiles, deepen their palate, and discover new wonderful single origins.  While I was there I took some photos and video that will be on our Kickstarter Campaign (look for it in a couple weeks!).

 I also started a little DIY project with cold brew.  I had a Kenyan coffee from Ceremony Coffee Roasters that a friend bought for me that was *SO LEMON INTENSE* I wondered if by cold brewing I could mute the flavors a bit and bring some balance to it.  It totally worked and I strongly recommend creating some variation of this if you love cold brew as much as I do!  So, if you can't see it, I've got a 2 liter bottle upside down with the bottom cut off and ice water inside that drips slowly through the pinhole that I pierced in the lid.  From there the water drips onto an aeropress filter that is covering a bed of coffee followed by another filter and then it drains into a jar. The "frame" here is just a weird piece of styrofoam that I had laying around.  You can always just stack it up in a little pyramid.  Yeah, I know, it looks a little ghetto.  It took about 6 hours for the whole thing to drip down. 

I guess you could always just fork over $200 for this baby:

But not all of us have that kind of flow burning holes in our pockets.


... that's pretty stinking gorgeous.

I mean, look at that wood...


 My other project is to turn this ugly church door into my espresso bar countertop.  I'm finding out that taking off varnish and years of dirt and grease and grime is NOT FUN and it takes a lot of sand paper.  Thankfully I had some help from my pal Eric.  Thanks, Eric.  You're my hero.  He's also going to be putting my menu sign together!  SO MUCH TALENT.

So, here is how it used to look--

And here is how it looks after 3 hours of sanding and cursing under our breath:

If I'm totally honest than I will say I am having a BLAST putting this whole coffee trailer thing together, but that it is also a LOT OF WORK.  My hope is that when it is all said and done I will have learned a lot in the process and not lost my mind completely!

Be on the lookout for that kickstarter campaign!!  I know you are just DYING to help be a part of this!


A Family Heritage

This last week I spent some time at my Grandfather's 130-acre cattle farm in Kannapolis, NC.  Despite my Grandpa's ongoing fight against pancreatic cancer (and all the negative affects of the chemotherapy), he has been maintaining a good perspective and is ALWAYS going out of his way to try to help me on my crazy quest to start a mobile coffee bar.

This last trip I was working on joining and planing what will be the outside countertops.  It's made out of gorgeous maple that my Grandpa rescued from a rotted tree on his property and cut up himself on his own saw mill.  I count myself so blessed that I have been able to watch my Grandpa show off his woodworking skills and I have been able to work beside him and my dad on several projects.

I am (at best) an amateur woodworker and have just been so amazed at the help I have been given so far by men and women much more skilled than I!  Here's a quick list of those who have helped in several capacities:

Grandpa Harry Morris- planning, supplies, financial support, electrical, free meals and board!
Uncle John Morris- planning, supplies, woodcutting, electrical, plumbing
Tom Morris- planning, financial support, woodcutting, moral support
Eric Leighland- insulation, woodcutting, design
Cameron Kinch- insulation, woodcutting, theology (more important than you think!)
Wizard Designs- website
Julie Morris- my rock, my 24/7 sounding board, my sanity, and my sweet beautiful wife- Love you!