dawgcatching Senior Member Joined: 27 Feb 2004 Posts: 101 Location: Japan/Washington Expertise: I live coffee
Posted Sun Sep 19, 2010, 10:29am Subject: Re: Portland Coffee Scene 2010, Road Reports
Too bad you missed Sterling: a shot of El Salvador I had there (Coffeehouse NW) recently was the best single origin I have had in many months. Super nice candied orange front end with a caramel and dark chocolate finish! They are doing some amazing things up there. Plus, that little kiosk next to Trader Joes is great: they probably pull in a bunch of people shopping there that would not otherwise seek out a world-class roaster. It is great for coffee in general to be in "access-able" places that perhaps reach a wider audience and introduce more people to coffee than simply those who live in the inner SE and NE neighborhood locations, which have incredible coffee shops every few blocks or so. Heart also has a great Kenya Nyanja in right now that is worth seeking out: a little more mellow on the tomato/roast beef notes than the typical Kenya, and with a really nice cocoa finish. It is cool to see many micro-roasters popping up, as Stumptown is much more hit or miss than it used to be. I have had some pretty awful and some delicious shots of Hairbender recently.
MarkPrince Moderator Joined: 19 Dec 2001 Posts: 5,628 Location: Vancouver, BC Expertise: Professional
Espresso: KvdW Speedster Grinder: Versalab M3 Grinder Vac Pot: A bit too many Drip: Bonavita Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Fri Dec 3, 2010, 2:11pm Subject: Re: Portland Coffee Scene 2010, Road Reports
My apologies for that (and thanks for posting the addresses); I should have posted them to the article. I did post hyperlinks to the companies where I could, but addresses would have been a good addition as well.
JohnLyn Senior Member Joined: 15 Aug 2011 Posts: 243 Location: Golden, BC, Canada Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: La Spaziale Mini Vivaldy Grinder: Vario Drip: Bonavita Roaster: Toastess popper
Posted Sun Nov 13, 2011, 12:52am Subject: Re: Portland Coffee Scene 2010, Road Reports
First of all I want to revive this thread and start by thanking you for your report mark. it helped guide my trip to portland. I also want to thank the portland contributors that guided me on another thread.
essentially I am a noob to specialty coffee... but I am passionate enough to visit many cafes, taste, enjoy and learn.
I went to Clive Coffee, Barista, Heart, Caova, Stumptown, Water Ave and Sterling while I was in Portland and here are a few observations:
the barista's were amazing, approachable and friendly, the third wave is alive. they are busy serving customers but always partook in my interest and I sensed that they enjoyed my passion as I enjoyed theirs. their passion and pride in their coffee was clear, as well as their pride in general regarding the scene in Portland. they provided information about their coffees and that of other roasters as well.
SO's. needless to say I got to learn a lot about SO's on this trip. I was blown away by the flavours that I experienced in straight shots. my favourite quote was from Sterling (from a wonderful woman in a toque in a cart): " at the beginning of this week this coffee had flavours of Blueberry pie, now it has become blueberry pancake". the SO's generally lost their flavours in milk however (cappuccino's) so I definitely agree with mark on that. SO straight shots were more amazing then I was lead to expect.
Stumptown. I didn't know the scene before, but hairbender did not disappoint. that and Water's el Torro were excellent blends for cappuccino's. these two blends in particular contributed fantastic options within what appeared to me to be primarily an SO scene.
atmosphere: generally awesome.... but they needed more sofa's or something to warm up the industrial looks. My wife, who is not a coffee drinker especially remarked that few of them were homy comfortable atmospheres where you would want to hang out beyond your coffee.
Here are a couple of places that I would like to add from elsewhere in Oregon. I would love to post this somewhere but I just don't know where: Nobel cafe in Ashland was unbelievable!!! they would easily hold up to Portland. instead of a cappuccino I had what they called a gibralter while I was there. basically this is a milk based drink between a cappuccino and a machiato (sorry for the explanation if this is common, but I had never heard of one before). this was a three coffee blend, I believe elsalvadore, guatamala and ethiopia. so flavourful with citrus and herbal accents. again, the passion for the coffee and their countries of origin was clear from the woman who took my order, to the barista, to the roaster/owner. I would love to hear what Mark would have to say about Nobel if his travels ever bring him to Ashland.
I also have to mention Backporch in Bend. Dave is doing some great work with SO's and is experimenting with blends of intricate flavours. He finished up my experience in his cafe with a pour over SO from kenya that was devine for the pure flavour of fruit in a coffee. it kept improving as it cooled. Lone Pine was another great cafe in Bend.
Seattle was quick so I can't really compare, but I have a couple of things to say about this part of the trip. 1. Vivace was amazing. after a long string of SO's it was nice to have a substantial ristretto that was complex with deep flavours of chocolate and caramel. and the barista's were as cool, friendly and passionate there as in any of the other cafe's. when I went back up for another shot they served it with pride, for good reason, and gave it to me on the house. I have read many comments about Vivace but I have to say I that I did not think that the shot was "smashmouth", deep and substantial yes, and with a complexity that stuck in my taste buds for sometime afterwards. Later at Victrola's I was back to a wonderfully fresh flavoured SO. gotta love variety!!
I just had to offer some thoughts on these cafes somewhere and I hope that here is the right place. I am new to the coffeegeek community and I hope someone reads it and adds their own observations. I am still new to the forums and specialty coffee and am really enjoying the Culture of coffee.
Props to the Growers, Roasters, Barista's, servers and investors who are creating a wonderful world of flavour...
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