Portland, the land of amazing baristas and roasters. The kings and queens of the syphon method. The royalty of the kingdom of caffeine….okay, I’m sure you get it now.
Earlier this year there was a Barista competition to pick the top Northwesterner and Devin Champman of Coava Coffee won both the Brewers Cup and the best Barista of NW, followed closely by his kin of Portland from Stumptown and Sterling Coffee Roasters; amongst other North Westerners of the Pacific region.
A shot of the Baristas awaiting their scores for the top barista in the North East. Katie Carguilo of Counter Culture Coffee (third barista in) was the United States winner this spring in Portland.
Portland is a beautiful, relaxing city. Much closer knit than Seattle and it is big on charm. Lots of romance and passion can be seen on the streets. As well as some dizzying characters. You can feel the beat of the city through every unique pull of espresso and every ripple of frothed milk.
If your staying in the heart of the city, near the realm of food trucks lies an experience known as Public Domain.
Here, the baristas are very captivating. Lauren and Jon were sweet and knowledgeable. Gave great recommendations for other local shops too. Each has a different organizational process of pulling espresso. Every adjust to the machine was like watching ballet. Each having their own march; own speed and timing. The hand-pour of Burundi was delightful as well. Black, no sugar was its best form. Serious notes of cacao and very ripe berries.
At Coava, I received nothing less than the best hospitality, as well their Rwandan espresso was my favorite amongst all that I had on my Northwest trip. Serious spice notes emerged, as if cinnamon and cardamom were roasted with the beans. The baristas were particularly warm here, even though it was seven and they had just opened their doors.
On that note, I digress to say that there is a large market of early birds in Portland that are being missed. I had been traveling that area and had to skip a few watering holes for the sheer fact that baristas seem to not be early risers. A factor that I believe should be re-considered. If your main business is coming from charismatic coffee, it’d be smart to be open when people are craving it the most.
Heart Roasters have a really beautiful space. The charming baristas look as though they emerged from the 1940’s. I kept my eyes peeled for Tennessee or perhaps Hemingway would pop in for a cappuccino. Mine, made with their house espresso blend and almond milk, was grand. I personally highly recommend trying the almond milk. I think its very unique and is compatible and complex with the espresso, contrary to what many think in the industry. It has a pronounced creaminess when frothed that is unexpected.
Barista in the Pearl District is a fun shop. To forewarn you, cell service there is minimal so be aware of where your going before you head that way.
Service is great and very quick. The cappuccino was delightful.
There are many shops that I did not get the chance to experience, as well an espresso truck that vested interest. Below is a few shops that I had on my radar, but didn’t visit.