Clover Week

The Clovers have been up and running for a few days now. Beautiful machines… and we have two. Tuesday morning, this dude who looked way too little to be carrying such big boxes dropped off the shipment. What initially threw me off was the fact that he brought in three. When Andrew first mentioned we were buying a Clover, I was stoked… but he didn’t tell me right away we bought two… I thought maybe he went totally overboard and bought three… But I was mistaken. Instead, the third Clover was for my other employer… Paradise Roasters. So, I now have access to two Clovers at my shop and another one at the roastery. Talk about spoiled.

Wednesday night Zander and Co. showed up at the shop to setup the machines themselves. They were already in town to install another Clover at some other place… We had a great time and got things running fairly smoothly. Somewhere in the shipping our drip tray disappeared for one of the machines… Which, if you’ve seen my bar, you’ll know I’m slightly OCD when it comes to cleanliness, balance, and such… so, a machine minus drip tray will drive me nuts. Zander made a call though, and we had a box full of Clover shirts and a drip tray by 10AM the next day… I was impressed.

Thursday they installed the machine at the roastery… which wasn’t easy. Apparently, the machine doesn’t like the cold weather Minneapolis/St. Paul has to offer… but hell! Who does? I guess something within the machine froze because it was left in a car for a bit… Then there was an issue where the machine kept dosing too much coffee… So, a six ounce cup setting was putting out some 8 ounces. Four hours after replacing parts and troubleshooting over the phone, someone suggested double checking the size of the cup… and apparently that was the problem… Not the machine. There’s a deeper lesson to be learned in that somewhere… That night all the Kopplin’s employees and the Clover crew met at the shop and our crew was taught how to rock the Clover. The highlight for me though, was drinking Red Hook ESB and Hobgoblin Ale out of a french press with Andrew Milstead, one of our baristas… By the way, Andrew is a very cool kid who I am super glad we have at our shop. He started out at a local Dunn Bros. with Kopplin and through family ended up spending his summer in Seattle working for a Zoka wholesale account in Kirkland. He was actually trained by Nathan at Zoka who Phuong trained… welcome to the coffee world people…

My Friday was spent training our newest barista, Katherine. Katherine is the first person I am training from scratch. Everyone else up to this point has just been fine tuning what they already know how to do. Thus far, Katherine is doing an excellent job. She’s picky about her tamp and it’s a great thing. She’s already very level and very solid. She was struggling with consistency, but lately it appears she’s mastered that. Now, she just needs to speed up and she’ll be great with shots. I also worked with Meghan… When Andrew Kopplin opened the shop, he was the only employee with help from his friends and family… Then he hired a second person, Meghan and until I started at Kopplin’s she was the only other barista, so she has the most experience at the shop. Her shots are great, she’s cool and confident behind the bar, and now she’s beginning to pour some beautiful latte art. Hollow leaves are forming, and oddly enough, the one pour she’s struggling with is the heart… She has this natural tendency to move back and pour a rosetta… it’s rad. So, our baristas are rockin’ it!

Yesterday, after being out till 3AM at a party… bad idea… I opened the shop and we featured free coffee samples all day long. The samples are 6 oz. and are free in a ceramic cup… Cups which Andrew bought at a used restaurant supply store… Anyway, the idea was we had somewhere around 20 coffees available. Andrew sent out a press release and personally invited coffee professionals from all over the area. It was the first Saturday I was consistently busy making coffee all morning. If I wasn’t preparing a cup on the Clover, I was pulling double espressos or making cappuccinos. It was a ton of fun! I met some of the folks from Cafe Imports. Really cool people and I look forward to cupping the COEs with them soon. The crew from Peace Coffee dropped by as well… Oh, and of course, Miguel and Aaron were there from Paradise. Miguel brought in some awesome coffees that were just jaw-dropping. Of course there was some Esmerelda… I’m still taken back by that coffee every time. We also tried some mouth-watering brazils and damn good Ethiopias.

My week capped off last night chillin’ with Aaron and Andrew Kopplin and celebrating with some sparking wine and cognac. Aaron is a very knowledgeable source on spirits and fine liquors… lately he’s been helping me learn about bourbon and build my collection. Great week over-all! Things are moving quickly! Last class in school is tomorrow! Then I drop of the deposit to my place and pick up the keys. I’ll be moving stuff throughout the week and then I start roasting next week. Oh, and then I get to reset… I fly home to Portland Dec. 19… I’ll be taking a break from the shop, school, responsibility… all to just sit in Lava Java and drink hairbender! Mmmm…


3 thoughts on “Clover Week

  1. The blond woman looks like she doesn’t quite understand why someone would kiss a Clover. Or maybe she gets it conceptually, but the practice of it looks like it caught her off guard. That’s O.K., Man-Machine love is ready for public diplays of affection.

  2. good post! lopve those clovers. VERY good coffee. Good guys as well that make them. No I’m not associated in any way. Met a few once at a trade show. If you guys want the best chocolate for your mochas you’ll have to check out That’s my pitch! 🙂
    anyway enjoyed reading thanks

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