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Portola Coffee in Orange County has a new location and website
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cerridwyn
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cerridwyn
Joined: 6 Jun 2010
Posts: 505
Location: Inland Empire California
Expertise: I live coffee
Posted Mon Jun 6, 2011, 5:48pm
Subject: Portola Coffee in Orange County has a new location and website
 

http://portolacoffeelab.com/


3313 Hyland Ave
Costa Mesa

Not been there yet, but plan to go down there

 
The world needs more outstanding coffee.

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danar
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Joined: 23 Feb 2010
Posts: 43
Location: socal
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Jul 10, 2011, 4:38pm
Subject: Re: Portola Coffee in Orange County has a new location and website
 

Does it get highlighted because of the underlying desire to support a local, small business or because its really good? I've seen it spotlighted in the OC Weekly, but some of the other restaurants and bakeries previously spotlighted in that publication weren't that good in my mind.

I really wanted to like this place when I heard that it did syphon coffee. I still haven't been able to sample syphon yet despite several attempts to find it in LA, and Costa Mesa would be so much closer for me. Its one thing to go to a local bakeryand find out they've already sold out of what you wanted to buy. But, it gets especially agravating when you've just driven over an hour on a special trip to sip syphon only to find that they don't carry it on that day for whatever capricious reason.

But, then I saw a picture of their syphon coffee and I'm frankly skeptical whether or not if they know how to brew syphon coffee.

Click Here (foodfrenzy.ocregister.com)

Has anybody tried their freshly roasted coffee beans? I know Portola has been roasting beans longer than they have been brewing coffee, albeit still only a couple of years, but hopefully their roasting beans skill should be better than their brewing skills.

In the OC, there's not a lot of options to get freshly roasted coffee beans other than Keane.
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cerridwyn
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cerridwyn
Joined: 6 Jun 2010
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Location: Inland Empire California
Expertise: I live coffee
Posted Sun Jul 10, 2011, 7:18pm
Subject: Re: Portola Coffee in Orange County has a new location and website
 

I highlight it because I know the Roaster's Sister. She brings in coffee to work, and it's not bad. I have no clue what he makes on site as it is a fairly long drive for me. I know the coffee she brings in is on par with a lot of what we buy (and no, we don't shop in the grocery store.)

I feel everyone needs a chance. If you go and you like it, good, if you don't, tell him why.

 
The world needs more outstanding coffee.

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scjavadr
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Joined: 14 Feb 2010
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Location: SC
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Jul 10, 2011, 8:18pm
Subject: Re: Portola Coffee in Orange County has a new location and website
 

I haven't tried coffee at their new location, but I have tried their beans a few times.  I think it's very good, and on caliber with several others like Barefoot, Blue Bottle, and Verve.  Definitely great for OC.  I'm using a batch of the Northern Italian Espresso blend right now, and it's right up my alley - more rich, bold/chocolatey; less bright and acidic.  I'm very happy to have a local coffee roaster, and look forward to visiting their shop.
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cerridwyn
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cerridwyn
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Location: Inland Empire California
Expertise: I live coffee
Posted Mon Jul 11, 2011, 5:49pm
Subject: Re: Portola Coffee in Orange County has a new location and website
 

I asked today about the syphon. She said that not all of the barista's have mastered every technique so he matches the coffee with the techniques that each barista does well while continuing their education to improve their techniques on other machines.

 
The world needs more outstanding coffee.

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johnnyb3
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Posted Wed Jul 13, 2011, 3:21am
Subject: Re: Portola Coffee in Orange County has a new location and website
 

danar Said:

But, then I saw a picture of their syphon coffee and I'm frankly skeptical whether or not if they know how to brew syphon coffee.

Posted July 10, 2011 link

Trying to learn something here, because a couple of folks on the blog page seemed to think that something about the photo called into question the brewing method as well. What is the issue?

Thanks!
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spyderx
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Joined: 20 Dec 2005
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Posted Sat Jul 16, 2011, 8:38pm
Subject: Re: Portola Coffee in Orange County has a new location and website
 

Went today. It was good. It wasn't on par with the best of the best but I will give them another try. We were in a hurry so I didn't really have a chance to comment on the espresso the barista but I feel it wasn't pulled the best it could be. I will next time as I drive by this place 3-4 times a week.

It is nice to have a place in the OC so when I'm down there I can get good coffee. Kean was my only other stop down there.
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philopsych
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Posted Tue Jul 26, 2011, 10:51am
Subject: Re: Portola Coffee in Orange County has a new location and website
 

Portola is about the same distance from my house as Kean (which had been my go-to place).  I've been putting Portola through the paces for the last few weeks.  I've had coffee brewed a few different ways--all very good.  I had a very good macchiato there.  And I also had probably the best cappuccino ever in my life there.  I took a couple of friends with me who like good coffee, but aren't really coffee geeks; they really liked the espresso drinks they ordered (one was a mocha, I think, the other maybe a latte).  Last night I went to a cupping there with the owner and roaster.  I haven't bought enough of Portola's beans for brewing coffee at home to make a fair comparison with Kean's beans (which I think are very good).  But I've already seen the skill and knowledge level of the baristas at Portola rise.  I can't say yet that Portola is clearly better than Kean, but it is definitely on par and possibly--maybe soon to be--better.  So far as I know, that would make it the best coffee place in Orange County.
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jbb
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jbb
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Posted Thu Jul 28, 2011, 7:53pm
Subject: Re: Portola Coffee in Orange County has a new location and website
 

Had some time in Irvine last week so I stopped by Portola to check out the Slayer; first one I'd seen.  

Nice and knowledgeable staff, lots of cool equipment-the Slayer is paired with three K30s and, as mentioned, there are the syphon set ups and a pour over bar.

I had a shot of their house blend and a short of the SO of the day, a Tanzania peaberry.  Both were nice, with the SO being to my taste the more interesting of the two.

Definitely a place to check out if you are in the area.
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calblacksmith
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Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Thu Aug 4, 2011, 11:22am
Subject: Re: Portola Coffee in Orange County has a new location and website
 

I was going to do a write up like a foodie would but if I waited till then to say something, it would never get done.

I stopped by last Monday and if you are looking for a drive in and get some caffeine for the road, drive on to the next Starbucks you see.

You need to park and get out of the car to find them but when you do it is worth it. Mondays, the rest of the stores in this malls building is closed so the only people in the whole building were there for coffee.

As has been said above, the equipment is nice and my time with them confirmed that they knew how to use it. I was greeted by the barista who used to wait on me at Kean, nice. He was happy to see me and as I had a rep at Kean of knowing a little about coffee, we quickly started talking about the more obscure topics of brewing coffee.

I asked for a double and he set about dialing in the Slayer for great shots. They were pulling a very nice SO (to my shame, I forgot what it was) and he pulled several shots to bring the machine to proper temp as it had been sitting w/o use for a while. My shot was about 1 1/2 oz or slightly less from a double basket, pulled at 201. It had a fantastic mouth feel and multiple great tastes. It was served with soda water, before the shot, to flush out my mouth before the shot so I could taste all the shot had to offer.

After that, I went for a quick but complete tour of the bar which is shaped like a letter O. They have 3 of the Bunn Trifecta brew stations (they are Bunns take on the functions of the Clover but with more control over the brew). Moving on, we came to the vac pot station, 3 very nice Harrio (I think) pots with the Quartz light heaters, nice, very nice.  Next came the manual pour over station and next to it was the cold brew station which looked more like a mad doctorís lab than a coffee brew station. It has brew tubes similar to the Aero press but that is all. It has large globes of water over the brew tubes and there is a thick bed of diffusion material over the coffee bed. One drop at a time falls onto the bed and one drop of coffee falls from the bottom. I am not a fan of cold coffee in any form but they let me sample this and it was far and away the best cold coffee I ever had. I still donít care for it much but I could drink it if need be, I have had worse iced tea by far.

I then moved over to the on site roaster. When I saw that it was in operation I was startled, there was NO coffee odor at all! Because the roaster is in a mall, Portola needs to be careful not to offend anyone who may be there so the roaster has a triple catalytic converter which burns nearly every trace of smoke and odor. The side benefit from this is that there is heated air that is recycled into the roaster boosting the efficiency by about 1/3 over a stand alone roaster. NICE! I think the roasters name was Jeff but as my trip there is now 4 days ago, some of the details are fading a bit.

We talked roasting and coffee for about twenty minutes, all in all a very enjoyable time. One that I am sure on a busier day would have been a bit more rushed. As I was getting ready to leave, I asked Jeff to make me a brewed coffee, his choice but I wanted a coffee with rich earthy tones and some real bass notes. He showed me a Sumatra Pea berry that he had roasted the day before. We looked at the beans, broke open a few at random and the roasting was very consistent through the entire bean. I popped one into my mouth and gave it a good chew and..... it was the first time I continued to chew and chew and swallow the whole thing, it was like candy, positively wonderful! He brewed a cup on the Bunn trifecta for me and I left with one of the best brewed coffees I have had in a long time, even at home.

I have been to Sumptown, Intelly in Chicago and LA, Victrolaís, Kean, 3 different Klatches and Zoka's. I will gladly add Portola to the list of the finest coffee houses I have ever been to. The staff was very friendly, knew a LOT about coffee (as well they should) had great equipment and knew how to use it to its utmost ability.

Portola is an easy recommendation for me to make. If you are near by and thirsty for great coffee, you will be making a mistake to not drop by to get your coffee fix! Even if you do need to get out of the car and do a little walking LOL!

The Bunn Trifecta see photo below link http://coffeegeek.com/resources/noteworthy/trifecta

calblacksmith: trifecta2.jpg
(Click for larger image)

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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