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Closer, Still

Yep, the Rancillio grinder sticks out like a sore thumb, but decaf customers get no special treatment...


The Cirqua water system is up and running, and tomorrow the GB5, Clover, and all of the grinders are installed. Over 40 people submitted applications; it is an amazingly diverse and interesting group that we are lucky to be deciding among.

Know Your Coffee!

Final Stretch

Fredrik and his crew are really putting an amazing effort to get the shop ready for the Intelli team at the end of the week. Here's a peak at the foundation of the casework, all in place.

From the SE corner, looking over the end bar, the counter for the pastry case, and the lowered casework for the POS and the Clover

From the NE corner, focusing on the coffee station. The GB5 sits on the stair-stepped case; we'll use the shelving to market whole bean coffee. The under-counter fridge goes between the GB5 and the Clover, which sits on the lowered case on the left side of the photo.

Stepping back to show the new soffits that drop down from the exposed concrete ceiling. We have lighting embedded to the right; the lights will shine through sail cloth stretched across the openings. This view also shows the custom lights that Stephen Bender designed and Justin and Fredrik attached to the concrete. We like that they look like props from a 50's scifi movie.

Help Wanted

We placed our first ad in the Alligator last week and will be reviewing the first 25 applications over the next few days. If anyone out there wants to be considered for a job, send a request to and I'll reply with an application...

We hope to have a number of people hired by the 9th so that we can keep Alex from Intelligentsia busy when she comes to town for training.

Not a lot of photos because much of the case work is being done off site. The deadline is to have enough done by Tuesday that the Cirqua, GB5, and Clover will be set up later in the week. Looks like we're going to make it.

Casing the joint

More progress today. We're using Ikea bases as the foundation of our case work-- the fronts will be clad in stained concrete and stainless steel; the counters are black granite polystone. The spaces between these standing bases are being built from a skeleton of iron pipe and clad in concrete and rip-stop sail cloth.

concrete and tin

Before we had signed a lease on our space, we found these large marquee letters that we wanted to use as our sign. The only real disappointment of our lease with the city is that we can't attach any outdoor sign to the building-- we are restricted to inside the windows, paint or application to the outside of the windows, or screened letters on an awning. Even with the huge bay windows, the letters are too tall to stack vertically on the interior walls where they can be seen from the street.

We need a plan "B"

The first name that we almost used for Volta was Cafe 'pataphysique. The second was Cabaret Voltaire. So, we turn to our spiritual forefathers Tristan Tzara and Richard Huelsenbeck for ideas about how to play with the letters in our alphabet soup to turn Volta into a spatial construct as well as a recognizable word.

Cleans up nicely.

We're finally moving on to finish work. Just a few more days of subcontractors taking care of final wiring issues. Case work is in production and will be on site next week, and furniture is arriving now. Intelligentsia will have folks down to help with machine installation and training the first and second week of April.

We're shooting for a soft opening the week of April 12, with a "grand opening" of April 19...

As a point of reference, here's the "before" shot:

Getting Mighty Crowded

Evolution of Volta, Pt. 5

Things are moving much faster now. The plumbing has been replumbed and inspected. The entire electrical service has been rearranged and relocated as necessary. Sheet rock work begins today. The crew at Meta-Res sent along a projection of the bar with the final casework in place, and we're already assembling the kits.

As a point of reference, check out M'lissa's original sketch from last fall.

Sunday morning meetings with our contractor, Fredrik Wetterqvist, and Meta-Res' Stephen Bender have been key with moving things along as we brainstorm on design, materials, and construction. As a collaborative endeavor, the entire build-out process has been a very rewarding exchange of ideas and pooling of talent.

Janet and Stephen

Fredrik and Stephen plot out space for the Cirqua

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