Monday, May 23, 2016

5 Days in Portland - Volumie 1, Coffee Culture - Part 2, The Obsessives

Portland is filled with coffee obsessives and it can seem like every one of them has opened a coffee shop, which is a good thing. The number of coffee shops with just one or two locations is significant and it is even more amazing how many of them are roasting their own beans. Here are just a few of the great shops I visited during my brief visit. All are worth seeking out.


Extracto Coffee Roasters

Extracto Coffee Roasters has two locations, both in the Northeast. They have, hands down, my favorite logo, a clamp & coffee bean.




The shop on NE Prescott is in the same complex as Pok Pok Noi, Muscadine, a bakery and pot dispensary. The shop has a turntable spinning vinyl, a pour over station and antique containers for sugar and other condiments. The second shop and roaster are on NE Killingsworth. They have a full line of beans which are available in their shops. Their cortado is a winner, made from their house roasted Eleven of Spades blend. I picked up a bag and brought it home. It was great as espresso and equally as good used with a Chemex.


Photo taken in my kitchen, because I brought these beans back home.



Extracto cortado.


Extracto Coffee Roasters -   http://www.extractocoffee.com


Saint Simon Coffee Company

Saint Simon Coffee Company consists of a single shop on NE Broadway. I discovered it when I searched for coffee near where I was staying. The reviews were stellar. They use Coava beans and some reviewers felt they brewed Coava beans better than Coava did in their own shops. High praise.

The shop is small and feels a bit like Miike Snow album art come to life.





The cortado is fantastic, living up to the reviews. They have a few pastries in the morning and my two younger reviews gave their hot chocolate high marks. Small and singular, Saint Simon is worth seeking out.


St. Simon cortado. Another hand stamped cup.





Saint Simon Coffee Coffee Company - 2005 NE Broadway


Courier Coffee Roasters & Bar

The number one tourist destination in Portland is probably Powell's Books, and with good reason. The world's largest bookstore, an independent one to boot, is at the heart of this city and a reflection of it as well. It is just as popular with locals. That means when you go to Portland you will go to Powell's. And after hours browsing and wandering the endless aisles you will need coffee.

Powell's has a perfectly nice coffee shop in it (of course) but just down the street sits a small jewel that I would urge you to visit instead, Courier Coffee. This tiny store front, which has an energetic mix of DIY and Punk spirit, belies the ambition behind it. The store feels like a bootstrap operation, a turntable spinning tunes and coffee being made. But they are making great coffee, from their owns line of beans. There is roasting going on somewhere. The cortado is spot on. They also have an enticing bit of pastries and sweets. Not just chocolate chip cookies but one of the better canelés outside of France. These happen to come from their own ovens.

There are a lot of great things coming out of this small space. After coming from Powell's it may seem even smaller, but it is the perfect antidote for Powell's exhaustion and worth the half a block walk.





Courier Coffee Bar & Roasters - 923 SW Oak - http://couriercoffeeroasters.com/


Heart Coffee Roasters

Heart Coffee Roasters is a well know, well regarded roasting company with two coffee shops, one on the East side on Burnside and one on the West side on SW 12th Avenue.  Sharp, clean, minimalist  modern design runs through the shops, merchandise and website. They sell beans, coffee subscriptions,  coffee making equipment and merchandise (yes, they have a beanie) through their website and stores. It is what you would expect from a well run mini coffee empire.

The shop on E Burnside is large and spacious with high ceilings and ample seating. Large garage doors line the wall on Burnside. The cafe offers the usual coffee and espresso drinks as well as V60 and Aeropress.




They sell their full compliment of beans in handsome packaging. White dominates the design throughout Heart with black as the main contrast and splashes of color as accent.


Heart's compliment of beans. The big bag on the left with the black label is their Stereo Blend.

The cortado and all espresso drinks are made with their Stereo Seasonal Blend. It is a lovely, well balanced blend and they pull it well. I did not buy a bag of the Stereo and I am kicking myself. I will be ordering some.


I could say something groan worthy but I wont.


If you have any lingering doubts about Heart Coffee this will put them to rest. As befits a coffee company who's signature espresso blend is called Stereo, this 1970's beauty is the beating heart of the Burnside location, The Marantz 2270 Steriophonic Receiver. Some things were better in the 70s.



Am I jealous? Yeah.


Heart Coffee has a well deserved reputation and a loyal following. Fans of good design as well as good coffee would do well to seek them out. Plus you get to stare longingly at that source of the steriophonic sound.



Heart Coffee Roaster - 2211 E Burnside & 537 SW 12th Avenue - http://www.heartroasters.com/



This is just a small small sampling of the diverse and dedicated coffee scene in Portland. It is a small city with an outsize influence on the coffee culture in this country and Nirvana for the caffeine addict.  


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