Carl Mundy is the field office manager for the Waterbed Warehouse in Twin Falls, Idaho, and a regular Sprudge.com contributor. We recently sent him to Portland to check out the soft launch of Able Brewing Equipment, a new brand of brewing gear and accessories from the innovative tinkerers at Coava Coffee Roasters. To celebrate the launch of Able, devotees of the DISK filter for Aeropress can submit their favorite brew methods here for use in future Able packaging. Contest ends July 1st. Carl’s Odyssey begins below…
3AM: I’ve been drivin’ this rig straight through all night. Straight outta Twin Falls, haulin’ balls to make it to Portland before sun up. As the Palouse hills of Eastern Washington roll on past me, ol’ Carl here had hours to reflect on my life, coffee, and the many women I’ve loved and lost. Them roads are dark and long, and they don’t love you back no matter how hard you try, no matter how many smokes you smoke or how much chaw you chew. But it don’t matter; my assignment from the pom-poms at Sprudge.com is to get me an exclusive interview with Keith Gehrke, grand poobah water buffalo at Coava, and that’s ‘zactly what ol’ Carl’s fixed to do.
I’m a simple man, ain’t gonna lie, so I got mighty thirsty along my way across the I-9o. An all-night pink frilly drive-thru caught Carl’s eye, so I pulled in, ordered a double venti cappa cuppaccino, and told the barista what I was doin’ out here on the hard roads. She’d never hearda Sprudge before so I gave her one a my Sprudge.com pins – she had hard time findin’ room on that outfit she was wearin’, if you catch Carl’s drift, but it weren’t no big whoop. A little kindness on the road is all you can ask for sometimes. Her name was Maybelline, and “my name’s Carl Mundy”, I says to her, I says:
“Maybelline, you’re as pretty as a fresh crop Pacamara. I’d love to sit and shoot the shit, but I got places to be”…
…and ‘fore she knew it I done rev-rev’d my big rig and took off into the moonlight, all them night stars twinkling above me, a thousand killer watts of longing and broken dreams dancin’ the watusi on my big ol’ beat-up heart. All I could do was slug that latte down my gullet and keep on truckin’.
10AM: “Welcome To Oregon”, the sign read, and holy-freakin’-lujah, I’ve arrived at last. After a quick stop at the Plaid Pantry (for tax-free smokes and jerky), I pulled up in front of Coava, my own personal bamboo showroom promised land. Now, let’s get one thing straight: all my soul searchin’ bullshit aside, I was sent to Portland uncover the unvarnished truth on Able, Coava’s new brand name fer their innovative line of brewin’ doohickies. Most coffee types have heard of ‘em before…
There’s the KONE: ain’t got no fuss, no muss, or no mumbo jumbo to explain to the missus, just a solid metal filter that fits right in that there Chemex y’all use to charm yer desirables. And the DISK: winner of the Sprudgie Award for Best New Product and one hell of a doozie to pull out on the cafe floor. What’s next from Coava? That’s my job to find out. I light up a smoke out front, choke ‘er down, and head on in.
11AM: “Holy hell, I need a shot. What’re you all pullin’?” – The fine folks at Coava pulled me a dee-lightful shot a their brand new Esmeralda, and I slurped her down faster than Reno no-fault divorce. But I weren’t there to suck down the suckables; I’m here to get some scoop on Able, and for that, I need to head ’round back and talk to Keith Gehrke. The kind folk’um at Coava directed me through a giant-ass wooden door (this whole place is like “The Jetsons” meets “Gilligan’s Island”; I feel like I’m in a wooden intergalactic spaceport). Through there, and another giant-ass wooden door, and I’ve reached the Chamber Of Secrets containing Mr. Keith Gehrke hisself.
11:30AM: Finally, me an’ Keith got down to business. So here’s the scoop: turns out Keith and Coava gang have been workin’ on this Able Brewing Equipment idea for quite some time, since at least the beginning of 2011. They decided to switch up their name – Able for the brew gear, Coava for the sound ground – on the advice of some leadin’ industry notable quotables. Sounds like a damn fine plan to ol’ Carl.
11:45 AM: I says to Keith, I says: “New products, huh? Before we launched the new AquaDeluxe down at the ol’ Waterbed Warehouse, we hired a whole got’dang dog and pony show to drum up a fuss off the side of I-86. Whachoo got planned?”
Ol’ Keith let me in on a coupla secrets, and I’m a gonna share ‘em with you. Some of y’all might remember when Coava sneak peaked their KONE funnel and valve system back in the beginning of 2011. Turns out it’ll retail for around $200 when it goes on sale – which will be soon, or pretty soon at least. As for other stuff, expect more sneak peaks in 6-8 weeks, by July 1st, when Coava celebrates its one year anniversary – they got somethin’ like 3 new products in the work-up, and a dunk tank and a donkey show and all kinds of happy horseshit planned to help ring in the end of their first year. Sounds like a good time to ol’ Carl. “Y’all just tell me where and when”, I says, and to his credit, Keith smiled and seemed real alright with that plan.
High Noon: We kept yakkin’, and I kept learnin’ more about the Coava / Able split. Turns out Coava and Able ain’t completely separate, on account a the fact that the design and packaging work is being done mostly in-house by the Coava team. Coava’s location in Portland will sell all the Able products, and their hot-to-trot staff will have the know-how to use them new products and demo ‘em out in the middle of that there SpaceStation Bamboo Palace. They also wanna keep their wares Made In The USA, which I don’t gotta tell you, that makes ol’ Carl one helluva happy chappy.
12:30 PM: I kept pluggin’ away at Keith about his new products, and he finally spilled the hobo beans on a tasty morsel they got comin’ down the pike: a smaller KONE filter in the works, meant to fit directly in pour-over bars and that little baby Chemex. Real dainty and ain’t that grand. As for the rest of their Able gear, y’all will hafta check back on the Able website and keep up with ‘em on the Twitter for the latest and greatest. I might have driven all night, but that don’t make me “BJ and the Bear”. My new buddy Keith knows that loose lips sink ships.
1:15 PM: After a handshake and a bathroom run, ol’ Carl was ready to hit the road again. I got an 8pm inventory shift to make at the Waterbed Warehouse, and all them lonely miles ain’t gonna truck themselves. Thanks for yer time, Keith, and next time I’ll make sure to stop off at the Econolodge and shower before I come passin’ through. As for all y’all readin’ this, ol Carl’s gettin’ paid by the word here, so thanks for bearin’ with me. Wish me luck on the road home, and remember: the next time you see one’a them trucker-types makin’ the long haul, sluggin’ down brew from a hot-pink 32 ouncer, give ‘em some room, cut ‘em some slack, and wish upon a lucky star for your ol’ pal Carl Mundy.