Category Archives: Coffee & Tea

Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 7.48.00 PM

Are you a Tea Connoisseur?

“Tea, Earl Grey, Hot”.

We’ve heard Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise order his tea time and time again. But does the computer know what is the right temperature the water should be or the ratio of tea to water for an optimum brew?

Well Tea 2.0 for the iPhone has just been released and its better than ever. Check out this link from Cult of Mac:


Cake Monkey Comes to the Portola Coffee Lab

Did you catch the crew at the Portola Coffee Lab on Monday on the KTLA Morning Show? Well in addition to this awesome opportunity to get the word out on the Lab, another event was also taking place.

In the early hours of Monday morning, just before the sun even came up, a truck was coming down from Los Angeles with a selection of new desserts and pastries to grace Portola’s dessert case. Jeff Duggan, Portola’s owner, decided to collaborate with Lisa Olin and Elizabeth Belkind from Cake Monkey!

If the empty case at Portola was any indication, these desserts and pastries from Cake Monkey just beg to be purchased with that perfect cup of coffee from The Lab. By the time I got to Portola this afternoon, the case was completely empty with the exception of 2 butter croissants and a lone YoHo!

YES! It was MINE!

There was also a lone “Nuff Said” in the case which was snapped up before I got up to the counter. A “Nuff Said” is basically a Rocky Road in cookie format. Yummy!

So let’s get back to the YoHo. Wrapped in that familiar foil wrapper it’s a chocolate roll, creme, wrapped in chocolate.

I cut into mine and I messed up the “swirl” of the creme and cake, but you get the idea. Just the right amount of chocolate covering. For those that follow me, you know I’m not a huge chocolate fan, but I devoured that YoHo! The YoHo wasn’t overly sweet, in fact, it has more chocolate flavor that it does sweet, which appeals to me.

So what did I miss today? Well Jeff had a good assortment of pastry items as well as desserts. There were several varieties of croissants: butter, chocolate and almond. There was also something called Gruyere/Thyme Monkey Bread as well as Salted Caramel Monkey Bread. The gals over at Cake Monkey also make something like a PopTart™ called Pop Pies with various fillings. Some other curious items were a Bacon Scone as well as a Vegan Spicy Chocolate Cookie.

I will  have to get up here during the morning hours to get a good sampling of what’s in the case. Cake Monkey does a great job of grabbing your attention visually and then follows thru with something sweet, maybe something savory, but always something tasty!

So look forward to seeing more items in the case over the next few weeks as Jeff figures out what the customers want. But as I said before, if the empty case is any indication, they love it ALL!

What’s not on the menu yet are Cake Monkey’s signature “Layer Cakes” that are just slightly larger than a cupcake. Take a slice out of these “cakes” and you’ll find a mini version of your favorite layer cakes like chocolate, lemon velvet, carrot, vanilla and more!

Visit to see all that they have to offer. CakeMonkey ships and delivers and also has local pickup up in Los Angeles.

You can find them on Twitter at @cakemonkeyla and on Facebook at:


Portola Has a New Siphon Machine

I happen to come into Portola Coffee Lab at the most awesome time! Jeff Duggan has just finished installing a brand new Siphon station in the “lab” area. This all-in-one unit has three heating elements. Prior to this new machine, siphon orders were being made up with 3 standalone units.

The new Bonmac Hikari Siphon Bar, as it is marketed, boasts three heating elements, built-in timers and hotter lamps which result in faster brews.

A typical siphon order could take anywhere from 7-10 minutes, the new process brings it down to 5-7 minutes. Gone are the manual timers and some of the wait. The machine will now auto shut-off at the optimum time to achieve the correct water temperature before the grounds go into the upper chamber.

I was lucky enough to have the inaugural brew of a Sumatran Lake Tawar roast. Glad I got to break it in!

The brass, glass and chrome highlights of the machine make it pop on the lab counter. Stop in to see the new addition to the staff and order your next roast as “siphon” and enjoy a cup of happiness!

While you’re here reading this post, head on over to Portola’s new website and check out all they have to offer. Re-designed from the ground up, you’ll find information on roasting, coffee, tea, Portola Coffee Lab and even upcoming classes about roasting and brewing.

Portola Coffee Lab
3313 Hyland Avenue
Costa Mesa, CA 92626