It is 2011. Where are the flying cars? Where are the robots? Where are the robots driving flying cars?

This is what Newport Beach should look like by now.


According to the timelines that existed in movies that were made from 1970-1999, we are right in the heart of what would be considered “the future.

Most importantly we are only 3 years away from the year that Back to the Future 2took place. In their neon-version of the future, we had:

  • flying cars,
  • dust-resistant paper,
  • and wall-mounted flat tv’s.

The only things we seem to have gotten right are the tv’s. [] So since we are in the future, it is about time we start acting like it. It is time to ask the question: “How can we take all of the knowledge we have about coffee and technology and use it to make the best cup of brewed coffee possible?”

So advanced, it looks like James Cameron Designed It.


BUNN Trifecta.

  • The BUNN Trifecta brews coffee one cup at a time.
  • It uses precise temperature controls to and timing for water saturation.
  • It uses air agitation to evenly saturate all of the grounds.
  • And, it maintains the integrity of the grounds by using air pressure to press out the brewed coffee (like an invisible coffee press).

Since most of this is done with air, it is like watching coffee being brewed with telekinesis! Every aspect of this process is adjustable. From the saturation timing, to the temperature, to how quickly or slowly the coffee is pressed out into the cup bellow. The closest competitor to the BUNN that is worthy of note is a machine called the Clover. But the Trifecta lets you control three times more of the brewing variables than you can with the Clover. That results in a machine that truly lets you bring out the flavor of each individual coffee bean. And since the clover is now owned by Starbucks… there is really no reason to consider using it. The BUNN Trifectas are a solid-looking group of futuristic coffee machinery that feel right at home on our bar next to the sexy Slayer Espresso Machine and Steam-Punk Inspired Halogen Siphon Bar.

The Real Deal McFly

They are gun-metal grey, with a front-facing glass brew chamber, and a portafilter-like handle protruding at the center. It makes sense why we put them between the Slayer and the Siphons, because they look like a Slayer/Coffee Siphon love-child. The Trifecta is using everything our current society has at our disposal to make the best cup of brewed coffee out there. The result is a chance to have drinks that are profiled perfectly for the types of coffee you order. That is a sign of progress. And with this machine now being used, we are just years away from walking up to a piece of technology and simply telling it what you want to eat or drink… just like the technology in Star Trek the Next Generation. [embracing the nerd] [video Star Trek technology in action] Welcome to the future of coffee. Robots welcome.

::To learn more about flying cars and to keep up to date with the efforts of the Portola Coffee Lab make sure to subscribe to our email list & follow Portola onTwitter or Facebook::


Some siphon brewers, not our bar... but same idea.

Seeing a coffee siphon for the first time gives the feeling of a chemistry set from a Jules Verne version of the future. Especially when it comes to the three Halogen-Heated coffee siphons sitting on our bar. With glowing heat sources causing water to bubble up and brew, you half expect the baristas to be wearing safety goggles like a scientist from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

So why is a siphon bar so cool? Two things.

Nostalgia and Taste.


One of the reasons that the sight of a coffee siphon (AKA siphon brew or vac pot) is so retro looking is because this method of brewing coffee is actually quite old.


Madame Vassieuxs "Glass Balloon" design (

The person credited with “inventing” the modern siphon coffee maker is a woman named Madam Vassieux. Her design was the first to be produced/sold on a large scale. Though a smaller scale version of this type of coffee maker can be dated all the way back to Berlin in the 1830’s []. This form of coffee maker is knocking on the door of 200 years old! That’s older than your parents’ computer.

Which is why it gives you the feeling of being back in time.

Second Part to Why Siphons are Amazing…


In that early age of coffee, the baristas of the day had a very difficult task ahead of them: finding a way of brewing at the proper temperature and also filtering out the grounds.

That is where the vacuum coffee maker came in. It brewed at the proper brewing temperature (a bit under boiling) and then used cloth or metal to filter out the used coffee grounds.

In 2011, temperature and filtration aren’t concerns for coffee consumers anymore.

But the consumers of the 1800’s lived in the age of burnt coffee that tasted/felt like mud. So to them, a brewing method that made consistently great coffee was the iphone of their century.

The basic science behind this coffee maker is as follows:

  • There are two glass containers.
  • The bottom container holds the water.
  • A heat source is applied to that bottom section, causing the air and water to heat and expand.
  • Once hot enough, the steam and hot air push the hot water into the top section of glass to brew with the coffee.
  • After a short while, the heat source is removed and that causes the bottom section to cool.
  • When the air cools, a vacuum is created and sucks the brewed coffee through a filter back into the bottom section.
  • The top glass is removed along with the used grounds and oils left over from brewing.
  • Coffee is served. And minds are blown!

On the spectrum of coffee flavor, there is heavy and oil-driven taste at one end of the spectrum, and a perfectly clean cup at the other end of the spectrum.

Take that oil off the top.

Siphon brewing is on the far end of the clean side of the spectrum. All the oils stay in the top chamber of the siphon brewer, anis what remains is a light clean cup that showcases even the most delicate of flavors.


To confidently operate a siphon bar one needs more training that a marriage and family therapist. And installing it costs more than my first car (not saying much). But it still makes one ask:

why get one?

Is it just because this steam-powered coffee contraption looks cool and produces coffee that that tastes amazing only to the few people that can tell the difference?

Yup. That is exactly right.

Because if we don’t who will?


What Would Jules Verne Do?

::To learn more about French Sci-fi authors and  to keep up to date with the efforts of the Portola Coffee Lab make sure to subscribe to our email list & follow Portola onTwitter or Facebook::

Thanks to everyone that posted photos to our Facebook profile! We had some great entries. (that you can view bellow)

Everyone who is a fan of Portola is a winner, but Emmeline Yen is more of a winner today because she has won 2 lbs of Portola Coffee! And here is the picture she posted to show her love for Portola::

::To continue to post pictures that prove that you have a crush on us and our coffee or to keep up to date with the efforts of the Portola Coffee Lab make sure to subscribe to this blog or follow Portola on Twitter or Facebook::

We have a new facebook page for the portola coffee lab.  Want proof?? Here ya go:

Portola Coffee Lab

To encourage you all to “like” our page we are giving away 2 lbs of free coffee!

How do you enter to win?

Just visit our facebook page (click the link above to do so), and post a picture that shows that your love  for Portola coffee or any other portion of our home The OC Mart Mix!

our home

Example: pose with a bag of our coffee, Photoshop our logo into famous moments in history, post a picture from our fellow stores at the Mix,  or use your imagination and be as creative as you would like!

We’ll put the names in a hat, and select our winner next monday.

The winner will be posted on the facebook page.

this could be a glimpse into the future

::To enter our contest 40 times with pictures of your cat holding a bag of coffee or to keep up to date with the efforts of the Portola Coffee Lab make sure to subscribe to this blog or follow Portola onTwitter or Facebook::

Our espresso machine can kick your espresso machine’s a**.  That is all you really need to know, but if you want more information, you can keep reading.

Slayer. It is an aggressive name for an espresso machine, hell it is an aggressive name for anything.  You type “slayer” into google, you don’t get nice images of bunnies, tea, and hugs.  No, you get some aggressive search results.

To name an espresso machine something that is saved usually for tatted metal-heads and horror movies leads one to believe that it had better be mind-blowing!

In addition to the name, it also cost $18,000. 18 grand is the amount you pay for a small wedding, a decent car, or a mansion in North Dakota.

You’re thinking, “It’s so intense, so expensive, this machine must be able to do something that no other espresso machine has ever done before!”

It does. So settle down.

To understand it, you have to understand espresso shots.

Making espresso is a violent process. Simply put, pulling an espresso shot is forcing extremely hot and highly pressurized water through a small cake of finely ground coffee for only a few seconds to make a small bit of espresso.

Because it is such a rapid process, most single-origin coffees that taste amazing when brewed using the slower methods of extraction (such as French press or over a pour-over drip cone) taste too harsh when brewed through espresso because the flavors are not given time to develop.

Because of all this fancy espresso chemistry, only a fraction of all coffees and blends out there are used when making your lattes and espresso shots.

And this is just the way things have been done since espresso’s introduction to the public 150 years ago::

Until now!  Enter, the Slayer.

The slayer has taken away these limitations. Now you can brew AMAZING single-origin coffees that have beautifully subtle flavors on a slayer espresso machine, FOR ESPRESSO.

The special feature of the Slayer is that it gives the barista the chance to adjust the water pressure while the espresso shot is being pulled.  Therefore the person making the coffee is able to give it time to brew slower, letting the flavors of the coffee fully emerge and punch your taste buds in the face.

You can taste the berry qualities of the Ethiopian coffees or the chocolate qualities of the Indo-pacific coffees you have loved in your French press in ways you never have before.

I am staring at a Slayer painted in pearl white, with its aggressive triangulated metal brackets, polished wood controls and sexy no-nonsense profile on the bar at the Portola Coffee Lab… and let me tell you, it definitely looks intense enough to live up to the name SLAYER.

The Slayer has changed the way espresso is made, and Portola Coffee Lab has brought this beast to Orange County.

::To pick a fight with our espresso machine or to keep up to date with the efforts of the Portola Coffee Lab make sure to subscribe to this blog or follow Portola on Twitter or Facebook::

Its 2011, and we are all environmentalists out of necessity.

Here are the facts::

  • Al Gore is yelling at us about global warming.
  • The whole world is driving hybrid cars.
  • And we’ve been trying to save the whales for about 5 decades (And according to tv show ‘Whale Wars’, they are still not saved!).

Saving the planet is on the forefront of all of our minds, yet most coffee roasters run on fossil fuels and produce more smoke than a soviet power plant. Simply put, most coffee roasters are not good for the environment.

Except the roaster at Portola Coffee Lab.

It is called the Revelation, a hybrid coffee roaster by U.S. Roaster Corporation.  It produces 2/3 less emissions than traditional gas roasters and works off of gas and electricity to reduce the carbon footprint.
Portola Coffee Lab’s roaster produces no smoke! ZERO! And just like the idea behind the hybrid car, it uses very little gas. Specifically, 1/3 of what the average gas roaster of its size would use.  It is also the only one roaster in Orange County that satisfies the new AQMD regulations.

The exhaust air recirculates back into the roaster, already hot, reducing the energy required to complete the roast.  Before it goes back into the roaster, it passes through an incinerator where it is cleaned up.  What is great about this clean exhaust air is it returns oxygen free.  No oxygen – no oxidation!  Oxidation is bad for coffee flavor.

So if you come to our shop looking for outstanding coffee and a smokey roaster, then you are going to go home only half satisfied, cause we are SMOKELESS.

Our coffees are fair trade, organic, roasted on a hybrid roaster, and (according to taste amazing. The GREEN Revolution finally has a coffee to call its own…

and it’s roasted at Portola Coffee Lab.

You’re welcome Al Gore.

::if you want to drive your hybrid to see our hybrid roast coffee or to keep up to date with the efforts of the Portola Coffee Lab make sure to subscribe to this blog or follow Portola on Twitter or Facebook::

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