Shine Coffee's Christiaan Blok on the Perfect Espresso Pull and Coffee Creativity
You might remember Shine Coffee as an airstream trailer coffee spot outside of farmers markets around town, but since April of last year, the shop has had a brick and mortar location with a detached lounge area located off of Central Avenue just south of Thomas Road. Since then, Christiaan Blok and his wife Laryn have sold the vintage airstream to focus efforts on the coffee stand, its living room, and the park space in between.
Heather Hoch Shine Coffee's Christiaan Blok serves up flavored lattes a cut above the rest.
While juggling all of that, Blok says his main mission is to ensure his coffee shop serves up a one-of-a-kind experience through unique drinks, smooth espresso, and a variety of roasts.
Christiaan Blok and his wife started Shine Coffee, combining their love of espresso and airstream trailers, after the recession hit their businesses hard. Layrn worked as a naturopathic doctor while Christiaan worked as a photographer. However, Christiaan began his coffee education growing up in Europe.
He says a lot of Europeans like to look down on the stereotypical American pot of diner coffee with endless top-offs, but he always saw the experience as romantic. Furthermore, he sees the next wave of espresso and coffee culture emanating from the western United States, with roasters like Four Barrel, Intelligentsia, and Stumptown leading the way.
Blok likes to experiment with different local roasters in his shop to get a blend he feels offers a robust, chocolatey, and nutty flavor with undertones of blueberry and even lavender. In the past, Blok has used Cartel coffees, but currently he's using a Press-roasted blend of Ethiopian, Brazilian, and Indonesian coffees.
Heather Hoch The inside of the small coffee bar Shine operates out of currently.
"I don't want to commit to one particular roaster," he explains "I want to offer my customers a different experience."
Starting off with a good roast is important, but Blok tirelessly ensures his espresso is being pulled properly in the shop. He says the key to this is constant tasting and adjusting on the part of his baristas. Every little detail, from the grinder heating up during rushes to barometric pressure on any particular day, can change the way espresso is brewed. However, Blok says one of the biggest mistakes he sees made is brewing espresso too hot, causing the final product to taste overly bitter and acidic.