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Portola Coffee Lab Brews Perfect Coffee

Coffee Lab is celebrating it’s first year serving some of the best coffee most of us will ever be privileged to taste. In the corner, Slayer is busy. On one of only a few such espresso machines in the United States Jeff Duggan is making a cup of espresso. But it’s not just any cup. Duggan roasted the beans in a high-tech coffee roaster that’s designed to not pollute the air. And in a completely manual process, he varies the pressure, water, and length of brew with the Slayer. The Portola Coffee Lab in the new OC Mart MIX in Costa Mesa’s South Coast Collection in Southern California,  is “a single-cup, manual-brew coffee house where we put as much attention into brewing coffee as roasting it,” says Duggan who sees the lab as a logical transition from Portola Coffee Roasters, his original wholesale roasting business. “I’ve been passionate about coffee since I first tasted it, and now I can control the entire process.” Coffee has more than 1,000 identifiable chemical compounds, says Duggan, and machines like Slayer allow the barristas—dressed in white lab coats—to optimize each cup. Also in the lab’s brewing lineup are three $3,000 Bunn Trifecta machines tailoring the temperature for each specific coffee; four Hario drip makers from Japan producing drip coffee; and three glass siphon carafes providing a brewing technique that was perfected by the Germans in the mid 19th century and, which according to Duggan, enhances subtle flavor nuances. Does it make a difference? Order the same coffee brewed four different ways and decide for yourself.