Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Day 1: Bow Ties and Not So Nice Guys
I have seen so many great shops this morning--and it's not even noon! Portland truly has a lot of excellent shops, and they are reletively easy to access. After dropping Andy off at work, I headed off to shop number 1--Coffeehouse Northwest.
Everyone told me that Coffeehouse Northwest brews and pulls Stumptown coffee better than Stumptown itself brews and pulls Stumptown coffee. I can't say weather I agree yet, since my Stumptown visit will probably be tomorrow, but the coffee was incredible. I walked into the reletively small and homey shop and was greeted by friendly baristi. I told them about my pilgramidge and they were happy to meet me.
I had a shot of the Hairbender (Stumptown's espresso) and it was incredible. I have never had a shot that was so pleasant and fruity in the finish. I could have drank 8 ounces of it--luckily I didn't, or I might not be able to control my fingers enough to type this. I asked where I should visit next, and they told me that their owner had just opened a shop a few blocks away called Sterling Roasters.
Oh my goodness. This was the coolest coffee "shop" (it was more of a coffee nook) I have ever visited! Tucked into the entrance of a flower shop, this little shop had it all. They had a Synesso, pourovers, siphons, the hold kit-n-kaboodle. But the best part was their roaster. They roasted all of their coffee right there on a 1 pound Sanfransiscan sample roaster. Does it get any cooler? No. Not only that, but the decor reminded me of Edgar Allen Poe--only not so creepy. They all had on vests and ties (bow ties!) and there were candles on the walls and all the coffee was in tall skinny glass jars. They made me a coffee called "The Little Buddy." It consists of a shot of Rwandan single origin espresso pulled into about 3 ounces of water (like a little stout americano). Lovely little nook full of friendly people. I like friendly people. Only in Portland!
The next shop I visited was Billy Wilson's "Barista." This was a very classy place. Sinatra playing, wood everything, two La Marzoccos, and a row of siphons greeted a constant flow of espresso craving Oregonians. I talked briefly with the baristas and gave them the coffee I had brought. They thanked me and made me a beutiful Macchiato also using Hairbender. This was a cool place, not as hospitable as Coffeehouse Northwest, but the baristi were friendly. Billy Wilson stopped in for a minute, but I didn't get to talk with him since he cut out pretty quickly. Maybe I will see him at his new Barista II on Alberta street. This is definitely a shop worth visiting.
Finally, I headed over to a fairly new shop called "Heart Roastery." This place is really cool inside. With a huge Probat roaster and custom espresso machines, it was undoubtedly the coolest looking shop I have visisted so far. I was told not to go their by a friend, because, as he put it, they were snobby. I figured that he probably came on a bad day. Well, they were actually snobby. I didn't recognize the espresso machine (since it had a custom cover), so I had to ask. This personal ignorance turned out to be the end of my short lived conversation with the barista. Too bad. The espresso was not the best (probably tainted by my highly subjective emotional condition and caffienation). She blamed the fact that it was cloudy. Mmm-hmm. Right.
Well, off to eat lunch with my brotha. Hooray for Portland! Hooray for bow ties! I need a sandwich!