Thursday, April 1, 2010

Day 2: Four shops and 10 shots later

It's day 2 here in Portland, and it has been an incredible day. I started out by making Andy a wonderful cup of Amaro Gayo from Ethiopia in his fancy new V60 coffee maker (happy birthday/christmas/engagement/holy week). Late nights and early mornings are really starting to take a tole.

Yes, that mug does have a picture of Kristin and I on it--Andy must be obsessed with us.

The first stop after dropping off my formally clad amigo was The Albina Press.  This shop was truly a coffee shop, complete with sofas, regulars, strange art, and baristas that could be models at a Salvation Army store.  They brew all of their coffee using giant press pots, and it is only $1 for a mug.  I felt very comfortable there, so I stayed for a while and read and wrote.  This is the perfect place to study or take a friend for a long chat.  The coffee was Stumptown and the brew was mediocre.  It just might have blown my mind 3 days ago, but when you have had so much of the best...

Next stop, Red e.  This definitely was one of my favorite shops so far.  The barista I talked (and talked and talked) with was super friendly and informative.  He pulled me two shots with their single origin yergacheffe from Coava--a micro roastery that roasts in #3 batches. I bought 250g of his Kenyan Kiamabara (for Kristin of course!)  The first shot was not so hot.

It was like getting a good look at a racecar driving by your house at 90 mph.  The second shot was much more developed and left a round, floral aftertaste.  I sat there and let my brain sizzle for a second as I pondered my next destination (and let the GPS load).

I then drove to a new location of the shop Extracto.  Many people recommended Extracto, including my barista friend from MN who used to work their.  It was tiny, but the espresso was some of the most unique and "best tasting" I have had yet.  The first I had was their Solutionary blend. It was very mellow and flat, and had a powerful tart cherry finish.  Very strong fruit flavors.  The second shot that I shakily poured down my throat was called the 11 of Spades--I have never had anything like it!
It was so clearly chocolate and lemon, that you could have told me it was flavored.  The lingering taste reminded me of eating a good super dark chocolate bar.  Wow, can I have a mug of that please?  It was a blend of Guatemalan and Sumatran.  Did I mention they had a garage door? Cool, literally.

After that, I walked over to the new Barista shop on Albina. It was all that they claim it is. It reminded me a lot of the Intelligencia in Venice, CA.  Lots of concrete, wood, exposed duct work.  Super fancy yet lots of mechanical things. I had a Guatemalan Edlyna from Barefoot Coffee in CA (as a Little Buddy/Italiano, my new favorite drink.)  This is totally the place to take your friends if you want to impress them and make them think that you are classy.  Needless to say, I didn't fit in.  The coffee was wonderful. It was warm and buttery, like a buttercake. The cool thing about Barista, is they carry many different coffees from around the country.  If it is good, they have it.

I had a chance to talk with Billy Wilson for a moment, and asked him if I could get a picture with him like a creepy fanboy (even though I am not a fan).  He obliged. Check my previous post for the picture, my creepy side smile is not worth posting twice. This is on my list of "You have to visit, if only once" coffee shops.

That concluded my coffee tour for the day.  Tomorrow we are planning on going to Stumptown for a public cupping. Oh Portland!


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