Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

Leaving Winter

March 31st, 2014 | by Jeff Mohrmann0 Comments

I’m in Boulder, Colorado, sitting in a coffee shop looking at blue skies and nearly snow free mountains. It is almost 70 degrees here today. It isn’t April yet but I can feel and see the first signs of spring in the city; the slight hint of spring flowers in the air, cyclists enjoying their post ride coffees on the outdoor patios instead of in the warmth of the cafes, and college girls sunbathing on the CU campus. We are quickly leaving winter behind and ushering in the spring and summer training and racing season.

Normally, this time of year is one of my favorites. Replacing single digit temperatures during morning runs with early morning sunshine and warmth is usually more than a welcome change. But this year is a bit different. I’m leaving winter with a sense of trepidation and worry. This summer will be my second year running ultra distance events, and the year of my first attempt at the 100 mile distance. With the prospect of a more intense racing schedule capped by a race at a distance I’ve never come close to approaching the winter was my time work on the weaknesses I identified last year: building strength and being more disciplined about my diet.

The strength focus arose while running the 2013 San Juan Solstice 50 and realizing that at my size (6’2”, 200lbs), ignoring leg and core strength was going to result in an inability to survive long downhills during races. I’ve added weekly gym sessions with lots of squats, deadlifts, core work and other leg strengthening exercises. I’ve focused on doing intense climbs with intense downhills and added Cross-Fit style workouts into my weekly routines. I’m noticing that I recover faster from runs and feel stronger on the downhills. I’ve also noticed that I’m really bad at squats. And I really don’t like Cross-Fit.

On the nutrition side, I’ve adopted a (mostly) gluten free diet with an emphasis on lighter meals and more protein, with a bit of cheating during dinner. Or, as my fiancee puts it: “you are gluten free all day…and then three beers.” The focus here has been cutting body fat and getting lighter. I’m a strong climber, but hauling 200lbs uphill isn’t the most efficient use of energy. And I want to look good blasting the guns during hot days on the trails. The diet end of things has been more difficult to maintain. Beer is hard to say no to and living in a city (Colorado Springs) in which “gluten-free” is considered something only “hippy, liberal restaurants” offer requires more strategizing on a daily basis. But I try, always conscious of the fact that my pacers during the 100 miler aren’t going to want to carry 200lbs of runner of something happens.

Now that winter is over I’m questioning whether I did enough. Have I set myself up for a stronger race season? Or should have I just used the time exploring Colorado’s breweries? Leaving winter this year is less exciting and more worrisome. I approach the spring with more anxiety than is typical of my daily approach to life. But if all else fails, at least I’ll look good in a bathing suit. Sulking over a gluten free meal. With a beer.

Posted in Articles, On the move

Coava Coffee Roasters (Portland, OR)

February 25th, 2014 | by Darcie Nolan0 Comments

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Coava Coffee Roasters started as a small team working out of a garage as they poured their all into the best roasts they could craft. Now, they’ve successfully created one of the best places to get coffee in the city by bringing their coffee obsession to a warehouse-style shared space alongside a sustainable bamboo-woodworking collective in SE Portland.

Their dedication to balanced roasts has won them national acclaim and their crew – past and present – have held some of the top coffee honors. At the counter you choose from two, perfected, single-origin roasts or simple espresso drinks. No sugared and flavored concoctions. No multi-word order that is designed to hide true bean flavor. Simple, pure, great coffee. But, don’t be overwhelmed if you aren’t the coffee connoisseur type. As owner Matt Higgins put it to Barista Magazine, “Our crew is built around folks who not only care deeply about coffee and the industry that surrounds it, but they also really want to invite others into it.”

The folks at Coava concern themselves with everything from sustainable farming practices to the perfect pour. They know the agricultural process behind the beans they use and travel to the regions they source from so the single-origin roast that is in your cup represents more than a morning tradition. They strive to make their coffee business a partnership with the farmers they source from to the baristas that ensure the final product reflects the high quality of the source. Coava is dedicated to cup by cup pour overs using a Chemex coffee maker and use the metal KONE filter, which they designed, to allow oils from the coffee to get into your cup instead of being soaked up by paper filtering. The result is a hard-earned, well-balanced flavor you can watch them craft.

Their coffee isn’t the only thing that will leave an impression. Once you have your cup, grab a barstool or a seat at a community-sized table and enjoy the warehouse style space they share with Bamboo Revolution. The open floor plan of the shared space is eye-catching with a sweet minimalist vibe and a nod to industrialism. The limited tables and chairs mean that there aren’t too many long-term loungers and that is part of what makes this place great – Get in, get your fix and be ready to seize the rest of the day. In the summer, the garage door style walls roll up and help make the SE located Coava feel fully integrated into the Portland cityscape.

With the great coffee, amazing space and friendly staff, you will come to know Coava Coffee Roasters as one of the top places in Portland to not only get a cup of outstanding coffee, but learn what high quality coffee sourcing and roasting is all about.

*All photos by the fantastic Kristine Ridley Weilert. Check her out here.

Location: 1300 SE Grand Ave. Portland, OR

Hours: Weekdays 6am – 6pm, Weekends 8am – 6pm

Phone: 503-894-8134


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Posted in Articles, Destinations, Portland, Reviews

Crema Coffee House

June 11th, 2012 | by Jeff Mohrmann0 Comments

You don’t often find good coffee in place surrounded by warehouses. You will here. Crema Coffee House is a hidden gem  that seems to have adopted a marketing strategy based almost entirely on word of mouth, which, if you think about it, is a pretty cocky way of going about things. Instead of locating themselves in the downtown Denver core, or in a trendy neighborhood, Crema staked its territory in an industrial zone north of downtown, filled its space with slightly retro furnishings and a pared down coffee bar, cranked up the espresso machines ,and got to work.

What Crema lacks in marketing and location, it makes up for in the strength and quality of its coffee.  Crema is not a roaster, but sources its beans from Denver-based  Novo Coffee and Pablo’s Coffee ,as well as Seattle’s Herkimer Coffee. Crema’s choice of roasts is a nice change from the emerging trend of using the Stumptown and Intelligentsia brands as the main selling point for the shop and is helping to broaden the market for Colorado based roasters.

This is a shop that takes pride in producing high-quality drinks and has completely bought into the practice of treating coffee like the complex and time-intensive drink that it is. You won’t find a huge drink menu there. There are no white mochas or caramel lattes. Just coffee, espresso and lattes. The baristas take their time at Crema, producing drinks that rely on the inherent flavors of the coffee instead of masking that flavor with caramel sweeteners and too much foamed milk. The Americano here (my usual litmus test) is sweet and smooth enough to drink without any cream or sugar; a great sign of good coffee and proper preparation.

The shop itself is bleached wood, minimalist design and clean, simplified menu boards and walls sprinkled with work from local artists.  The ambiance is more industrial than the traditional warm and cozy coffee house, but the decor works well with Crema’s overall vibe; pared down and letting the coffee speak for itself.

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Location: 2862 Larimer Street, Denver, CO 80205

Hours: Monday thru Friday 7am to 7pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am to 5pm

Phone: 720-284-9648

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Posted in Articles, Colorado, Denver, Destinations, Reviews