We can all thank Le Petit Outre owner Leif Bjelland for putting Missoula on the cutting edge of something. In September, he installed an espresso machine so hip, so elite, that only 30 others have so far been sold worldwide. The Cyncra commercial espresso machine from Synesso, Inc. (so named by company owners Mark Barnett and Sandy Schneiter to be “the synonym of espresso,” says Schneiter) is sold in three different models, ranging in cost from $6,395 to $9,385. Maybe the price has something to do with Le Petit customers dubbing the shiny new addition the “Cadillac” or the “Hot Rod”—but more likely it’s the machine’s performance: The innovative genius of the Synesso machine, explains Le Petit retail coordinator Brock Gnose, is that it uses individual boilers rather than one big boiler to heat the hot water and brew the shots. In a nutshell, he says, this machine is designed to keep up with a high-volume coffee business by heating water fast and keeping pressure consistent, thus assuring high-quality shots. The machine is so good, he adds, that it “makes any barista mistakes blaringly obvious.” Schneiter says that Synesso has sold two machines to households in Vermont and Seattle, but at $6,395 admits, “that’s a lot of espresso.” For those of us whose pockets are only deep enough for one cup at a time, we can count our lucky loose change for now: The snazzy upgrade hasn’t raised Le Petit’s prices one penny.
Winter and winter-blues warning: It’s cold and gray, and it looks like things will be getting worse before they get better. Of course, you don’t need us to tell you it’s cold. You have your [insert chilly body part here] to tell you that. The National Weather Service Tuesday forecasted “A snow and blowing snow advisory for the Missoula and Bitterroot valleys” this week. Bottom line: temperatures in the negative teens into the weekend. Brrr. We know what you’re thinking. One sure-fire way to warm yourself up is to down a thick, dark stout at your local brewery. But guess what? Kettlehouse Brewing Co. will be closed for about a week—to remodel the taproom—starting Jan. 17. No beer for you. (Well, there are options.) Think it can’t get any worse? Think you might just take yourself out of town on a little vacation, maybe take advantage of Delta’s new low rates? They’re reportedly up to 50 percent cheaper, with one-way domestic Coach Class fares capped at $499. Well, good luck to you. Delta’s line has been busy all afternoon. We couldn’t even get an automated response (way to revolutionize the airline industry). You’ll stay here with the rest of us, sober and frozen, nursing a dull pain in your [insert chilly body part here].