Greetings one and all.
We caught a ride with Shaggy Sample to the Northwest and it was awesome. In particular, we spent some time in Arcata (CA), Eugene (OR), Seattle (WA), Bellingham (WA), Olympia (WA), and Portland (OR). Coffee was had, sights were seen, sounds were happily heard, and friends new and old were hung with.
Things that were great:
1) Weather. I was very impressed by the presence and variety of weather up North. It was different than ye olde Bay Area weather. (Bay Area weather, boo hoo, right?)
2) Plenty of water. Not only in rivers, but literally falling from the sky. Haven't experienced that in a while...
3) No shortage of beautiful mountain ranges to take in. Sure, at any moment one of those Volcanos might blow, but, whatever.
4) Music. There's so much awesome and great DIY stuff happening up North. And while, there's no shortage of it down here in Oakland, it was refreshing to check in some different stuff. I have a lot to listen to on a variety of mediums. 'Can't wait.
Top 3 coffee picks of the trip:
A ton of coffee was taken in. Truthfully, I really didn't have a terrible coffee anywhere. Honestly, there was so much more to have than what I had. But with 12+hr drives in the mix and sharing rides with folks who also want to take in diverse and cool experiences, you have to settle for just a few coffees per city.
1) Olympia Coffee Roasting Co were offering two different processes of the Costa Rica La Pastora Micro Mill as espressos. They were fan-fucking-tastic. One was super sweet like a candy bar, the other a Kenya Process (featuring long fermentation times) was balanced between toffee and nut sweetness with plum and tangerine acidity. Great clarity. Nice one, folks.
2) I had an aeropress of a Honduran coffee at Milstead and Co in Seattle. 'Just super pleasant. Violet candy and turbinado sugar. Great vibes in there, too. And that outdoor seating within spitting distance of the Fremont troll!? Anyway, aeropress is my jam and very few shops use it. I think the "consumer," and frankly a lot of shop owners, spend too much money and time on brewing methods like Chemex and the gear one needs for it. When it's like, "Baby, just press it. Aeropress it." Nice one.
3) A fetco of Guatemala Santa Isabel at Heart Roasters' first location. Not wild or sparkling... but super sweet. To me it's sweetness was less roast-induced and more so a quality of green. It reminded me of candied pralines, Wether's Original, and ripe plum. Fetco... into it. 5 years ago I would have gotten all high and mighty about pour over. But now, I'm loving that consistency and efficiency. Plus, I truly believe quality of green and roasted coffee trumps brewing method... maybe even extraction to a certain extant.
I could have not capped the list at 3, but that's a much larger entry than I care to put out there right now. I truly had a good time at every shop I visited and many thanks to the kind folks at Wandering Goat, Dancing Goat, Case Study Coffee, the Red E, Good Coffee, and Ritual (who are not in the NW, but I stopped by there on my trip up).
Top 3 coolest surprises:
1) After 7 years of looking through the "M" section of record shops, I finally found a copy of Meringue's Music from the Mint Green Nest, a fantastic record, full of weird, awkward, wondering, and grooving tuneful music. Merengue existed once upon a time in Gainesville, FL in the early 90s. I actually wasn't even really looking for anything in this one random record pile in the basement of an antique store, but Lo and Behold, there it was. It found me. So cool. Dreams come true?
2) Eugene and Bellingham: Never been either before in all of my traveling. Eugene might be cooler than Portland? Ouch. I want to spend more time there. But, happy to check out their incredibly cool and strange gas-station/rest-stop with kombucha on tap SeQuential BioFuel. And Bellingham is a fucking hidden gem in my opinion. Fun food, angry karaoke, and super cheap great thrifting. Don't tell anyone! The latter is all but extinct in the Bay.
3) Zach from Iji singing It's a Family Affair (so smooth...)
Least favorite thing: Crashing in someone's grow room, but you gotta do what you gotta do sometimes.
Anyway, muchas gracias to the State of Washington (you are the best and full of some of the best people ever), friends in Portland and Arcata, Mandarin Dynasty, Mommy Long Legs, Spencer Sult, Cole and Des, and Ruth and Jeff for the great times and hospitality.
We have two copies of the zine and tape left. Ya best step to it if you want one of these.