I’ve just returned from an unforgettable past 5 days. We (Scott, Whitney, Megan, Mike Lanz, and myself) have officially completed the first half of our Pressure & Flow tour, including dates in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
These trips involve a ton of work, little sleep, and definitely take a toll on the body. However, the people we encounter and interact with along the way really make for a special experience.
Los Angeles was fantastic because I got to introduce Megan and Whitney to all that is delicious about G&B Coffee. It’s also fun to show NW folks how different espresso is in Los Angeles. Extractions are larger, coffee is aged further, and all in all, the espresso reflects more of how the coffee cups (and if you attended one of the tour dates, you know this is a thing for us).
Another highlight was the after-party in Los Angeles. Attendance wasn’t necessarily high, but small company present made for some interesting and enjoyable conversation.
Leaving Los Angeles is never easy for me… But being in a cramped box truck didn’t make it an easier. Scott and I hit the road and spent last Thursday driving to Santa Cruz. Traffic wasn’t too heavy, and the sun was shining, so we made the best of the situation.
In Santa Cruz, I was blown away by the Verve roasting facility and the newer Pacific Ave. store. Having enjoyed so much coffee in the original store and roastery, it’s really impressive to see how this company has ‘grown up.’ Though things have grown, the coffee is better, and the people remain as genuine and sincere as ever. In fact, you have to begin to wonder what exactly is going on. I’m yet to see another company whose baristas just seem so happy. Then again, that’s sort of Santa Cruz. It’s like it’s own little world where life just slows down, and that was exactly the feeling that Scott and I needed at that point.
While in Santa Cruz, Scott and I had the pleasure of joining Pacific Espresso’s Tim O’Connor and his wife, Paula, for a delightful Valentine’s Day dinner. Also joining us was Pacific’s Hylan Joseph and his wife. Before leaving Santa Cruz the following day, we stopped by Pacific so that Scott could show me what a “perfect parts department” looks like.
San Francisco was a blast. I forget how many wonderful coffee people live there. Throughout the day, we saw so many different friends and made some new ones. The best aspect was how many of the attendees had never pulled espresso before. We’ve been fortunate to have a number of folks who do not work in coffee come out to see the things we’ve been learning.
Our venue, the Guerrero Gallery, was perfect. The walls were lined with bright and colorful art, which formed the perfect background to our machines. There was delicious food in every direction from where we were. The icing on the cake was just how close we were to Heath Ceramics. Blue Bottle has a coffee bar inside this space, and they were incredibly gracious to host an after-party for us there.
I’ve never been a huge bay area advocate… But this trip changed that. This is partially due to the people… Everyone was warm, friendly, and excited to see us. But the kicker for me was the food. Everything I ate in San Francisco was delicious. Already I am planning a way to get back and to experience so much of what I missed, due to time constraints.
Again, this trip was really unique due to the wonderful people we encountered. I owe Devin Pedde and Ben Kaminsky drinks the next time I see them… They were both willing to show up long before the attendees did to help me dial in 16 grinds for 4 different coffees. We also are indebted to the different individuals who helped us unload, build, tear down, repack, and repeat all the gear that we are touring with.
Pressure & Flow’s next stop is New York, and we’re excited to fine-tune the program. We’ve got some great ideas to make this next leg even more epic. To be clear, we do have a system setup on Evenbrite.com. However, if the event is listed as sold-out, that does not mean you can’t come. It simply means you won’t get a t-shirt, or might be limited in schwag. However, we want to share this information and experience with the world, so please come and see us when we are in New York and Chicago.
Before we get to New York, I have the privilege of making coffee at the TED conference in Long Beach. We’ve got a ton of gear heading down this week, and it’s been impressive to see our bench testers, inventory manager, and warehouse manager working super hard to make this happen. Basically, they are making this happen.