Friday, May 6, 2016

5 Days in Portland - Volume 1, Coffee Culture - Part 1, Deadstock Coffee

It has been twenty years or so since I was last in Portland (Oregon, not Maine). Based on all I have read about the food and drinks scene in Portland, the fact that it has been central to the Third Wave of coffee in the US and, of course, Portlandia, I was expecting big changes to the city. What I found was a city with the great coffee you would expect, really good food, good drinks and a lot more room to grow. I'm sure if I was a native I would be decrying how overrun the place is. From a New Yorker's perspective, they are just getting started. The running joke as we drove all around Portland and its environs was "Damn, this traffic is killing me." In five days we spent a total of twenty minutes crawling in traffic. Oh the horror.

There are moments when you feel you are in a Portlandia skit. There are moments when you could be in Williamsburg or San Francisco. Over all you are in a small, livable city with nice people, lush green surroundings and a lot of good things to eat and drink. And oh, the coffee. That is where we start.

You would have to spend a month in Portland to try all the great little coffee spots. I only scratched the surface. My list is neither complete nor a claim to the best coffee in Portland. It is simply the places I visited and what I enjoyed, and I enjoyed all the places I visited. You would have to try really hard to have a bad cup of coffee in Portland. I didn't. Up first, Deadstock.


Deadstock Coffee

Deadstock Coffee was the first place I discovered. Of all the great coffee spots I found it was probably my favorite. The main reason is the specific theme of the shop and how thoroughly it reflects the personality and taste of its owner.


Deadstock was started by a former Nike employee who wanted a place to hang with fellow sneaker enthusiasts. Thus Deadstock was born. Located in a small storefront on NW Couch Street in the Old Town/Chinatown district of Portland, Deadstock crams a lot of personality into its small space. It is a shrine for sneaker heads and hoop fans. Classic kicks are on display as well as shoe boxes, basketball themed art and other great touches. It is fun and welcoming, without a wiff of coffee culture elitism that can pervade some shops.


Can you name them all?


 My favorite touch. Sorry Zo fans.





 What Nike fan shrine is complete without a tribute to the man who made the company.


Properly encased Air Jordans

If you recognize some, or all, of these, this is the spot for you.


Deadstock has my favorite sound system, bar none. Custom made by a friend of the owner who turns old suitcases into speakers. Sounds great and the chalkboard works.






Just about every shop in Portland hand stamps their cups.

Now there is no point in a coffee shop unless the coffee is good. Deadstock's is. Their beans are roasted for them by Dapper & Wise in Hillsboro, OR. No surprise, the packaging is dope.




My personal coffee shop test is the cortado. They make a great cortado. They do cold brew and are proud of their tea. The owner has also created his own mix of lemonade and cold brew which he calls a LeBron Palmer. Yeah.


Cortado!


Coffee, LeBron, sneakers and hoops. This is as far away from your coffee shop tropes as you can get. But wait, there's more. They offer  sneaker cleaning services. They have a sneaker themed blog on their website. To be clear, I am not a sneaker fanatic, and I am a lukewarm basketball fan. That did not stop me from loving this shop and its infectious personality. Hopefully it will inspire a new wave of personal, and personality driven shops. And the coffee is really good.









Deadstock Coffee - 412 NW Couch Street, Portland, OR - http://www.deadstockcoffee.com/



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