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Final details

We open (for real!) in the morning.

Some last minute details...

Using the pegboard to post all of the info sheets about the coffees, teas, and chocolates

The cupping table, finally in place

Our first tip

Pouring hearts in Clovered El Diablo

Yeah, we nicked the "tea samples in test tubes" display idea from Tavalon NYC

eastern exposure

After four months with the paper on the windows, it was rather disorienting to clear it all off and feel that we were finally part of the streetscape. As much as we've been enjoying Steven Bender's design for the space as a separate experience, discrete from the outside world, the way the design interacts with the floor-to-ceiling windows and the unfolding street scene outside is the real achievement.


Tea on the bar

One last cup of Buddhist Tea on the new bar before the chaos breaks loose...

(and excuse me if I say that I'm so proud of the way the espresso-stained cypress on the bar turned out)

Pour Down Like Silver

Last minute practice shots.

Benchmarked

We just passed the state health inspection and city fire code inspection. Final city inspection for our certificate of occupancy is tomorrow morning. So close...

Update!

We just passed our city inspection and are clear to open. I'll post more info soon...

Cera Una Volta

Almost there...

Playlist for the final day of setup before our health inspection:

  • Dark Meat, Universal Indians
  • Devotchka, A Mad And Faithful Telling
  • The Gutter Twins, Saturnalia
  • The Kills, Midnight Boom
  • Retribution Gospel Choir
  • Times New Viking, Rip It Up
  • Velvet Underground, Gymnasium Bootleg

The refrigerated case for the desserts went in this evening; we're still waiting on the iron work for the tea side of the bar to be finished up, but it will have a cypress counter to match the espresso side..

The espresso-rubbed cypress bar, and my poster from the italian release of "Once Upon A Time In The West"

The view from the back of the bar

The second chalk board mirrors the cupping station, but is made of pegboard so we can play around with our big lettering

First draft of the chocolate kiosk. Hmmm. Bacon and chocolate bars...

19 April

We spent the day cleaning the space, organizing the inventory, and setting up the seating. Only three things remain on the punch list: installing the glass and shelves for the display case behind the bar, installing the bar surfaces along the ends of the work area, and installing the counter along the windows facing the street. The bar will have cypress inserts that match the trim running around the shop. Fredrik came over after the staff had left to experiment with a new stain for the wood: we're creating a staining paste from the spent Blackcat espresso pucks to impart a coffee patina to the cypress. The results were even better than we had hoped for. We'll stain the wood today and then hopefully it will be installed tomorrow, just in time for our Tuesday inspection.

Playlist for the Saturday workday:

Philip Glass; Satyagraha (the complete opera, start to finish...)
Charles Mingus, Live at the 5 Spot
Beastie Boys; Paul's Boutique (original demo tapes)
The Raveonettes; Lust, Lust, Lust
Thelonius Monk, Riverside Recordings Vol. 8
Thievery Corporation, Babylon Rewound

just in time delivery

We were surprised this week by a lucky, cool break in the weather just as the spring temperatures were climbing into the 80s. Just what we needed to place our stocking orders with four of our major chocolate vendors. We're learning that some vendors suspend shipments to Florida if the heat crosses a threshold. By the end of this week we'll be pushing the low 90s. With five days of 40 degree nights and low 70s in the days, we took a chance on big orders from US producers Askinosie, Vosges, and Escazu, and we picked up Maglio and Artigiano from Italy. The Italian chocolates were a real revelation-- the Maglio bars straight single-origin, but are massively big flavors. The milk chocolate from PNG is probably the single best milk chocolate that I've tried. And we're carrying a single-origin Cuban bar. (Technically/legally it is an Italian chocolate, but the cocoa solids are Cuban.) The Artigiano bars are much more refined, with locally sourced (in Italy) spices and dried fruits-- like a sweet sea salt and olive oil milk chocolate bar that is a amazing: sweet and salty, peppery and luxurious. As for American-sourced chocolate, Askinosie is the find of the season for us. Following a model much in line with Intelligentsia's direct trade practice, Askinosie is one of the only bean-to-bar producers in the US. They import directly from two farms, bringing the beans to Springfield, MO. In one facility they roast and grind the beans to produce their own chocolate liquor and cocoa butter, then move through mixing the chocolate, conching, and molding. We're using Askinosie chocolate and cocoa powder to make our chocolate syrup and to make one of a half-dozen drinking chocolates. Good stuff.

Big bags of Vosges drinking chocolate mix

Maglio single origin bars

The Storm Called Progress

We passed the first round of city inspections today; the state health inspection is Tuesday morning. We just might be able to take the paper down from the windows Tuesday afternoon...

The casework is almost done. Stainless inserts were placed along the sides of the stained concrete facade of the bar. The bar seating surfaces are the last details to be brought on site and installed. The hanging drum lights were a last minute addition.


There's enough space behind the bar to comfortably hold 10. We know; that's how many we had around the machines during training, and it was never really that crowded. The layout is almost like a teaching kitchen. Oh, and the Rancillio will never get a chance to live out its life as the decaf grinder. A replacement Super Jolly is on the way-- much more suitable for guest espresso, anyway.

Details, details

As the end of the month approaches, Fredrick Wetterqvist is able to turn the crew's attention to the final detail work. The chalk board wall in the cupping area is done, allowing us to have the space for the first staff cupping.

We now have 1" X 1" cypress trim that chases the edge of the ceiling around the space, outlining the different lighting features and adding some shape to the walls. Here's the cypress in the corner above the chalk wall...

Framing out the exposed iron fire suppression pipes with the custom back-lighting...

...and the light-box frames with stretched sail cloth that cover over the back-lit cut-outs in the soffit.

Finally, the new staff were in today practicing steaming microfoam and pouring 5oz capps.

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