Caffeine Crawl Portland Revisits the City of Roses for Three Days and Discovers Great Coffee and Much More!
City of Roses, coffee mecca – Portland, Oregon is known for many things, but the third week of October in PDX held a caffeinated abundance of all things beverage, and we drank in every drop.
Caffeine Crawl kicked off with a Wednesday afternoon route starting at Sisters Coffee Company for an aromatic taste test challenge. Sterling Roasters at Coffeehouse NW emphasized the importance of roasting to taste the origin, not the roast in coffee, and we sipped a Kenya brewed through several different methods. Nossa Familia welcomed us to a discussion on direct trade with a Chemex-brewed Guatemalan, and Cacao blew us away with drinking chocolate affogato style over Salt and Straw olive oil ice cream, topped with sea salt and caramelized cacao nibs. We melted into a happy chocolate puddle, and rounded out the evening with a Stumptown collaboration Cold Brew IPA from Rogue Brewing.
Thursday routes ran from 9am to 6pm, and we were happily buzzing and ready to enjoy Portland Cocktail week by the end of them. Either / Or took the meaning of ˜coffee mocktail’ to citrusy new levels, Good Coffee pulled shots and poured brews of a Kenya from Roseline Coffee, and we savored a nitro theme at The Arbor Lodge with white peach kombucha and cold brew with milk, both on tap. Sampling fine teas and meeting a tea farmer was a delightful pause at The Jasmine Pearl, and we ramped back up with several single origin espresso shots at Extracto Coffee (followed by another coffee collaboration beer with Royale Brewing.)
Ristretto Roasters brewed Ethiopian and Nicaraguan coffees on their Alpha Dominiche Steampunk, and Andy was happy to answer questions. Alma Chocolate served Thai Peanut Lime Chili bars and their Good Food award winning Sea Salt Hazelnut Crunch bar, and Oblique Coffee Roasters gave us a full tour and history of their unique cafe while we sipped Chemex brews. p:ear mentors homeless youth and helps provide job skills and stability through education, arts, recreation and coffee, and we soaked in the good vibes over steaming cups. Public Domain sampled a well rounded set of coffees – a cold brew blend and a v60 brewed Guatemala from a two-year direct trade relationship.
Spella Caffe espresso plus Stella Gelato was a match made in affogato heaven, and we washed it down with several delicious varieties of chai at Townshend’s Tea. Catalyst Coffee Consulting welcomed us to their new space for a lesson on defects in green coffee with special guest Dominion Trading, and Caffe Vita brewed a Costa Rica La Angostura via Chemex. Soaking in the inspiration at Coava Coffee‘s shared space was highlighted by roaster Q&A and Kenya and El Salvador pourovers.
Friday morning started on a well-rounded note, with a fueling breakfast sponsored by Earnest Eats at Portland Roasting Coffee, and we were taken on a tour of the roasting works before heading back out for more cafe immersion. The Red E Cafe offered a tasting trifecta – cold brew soda, cascara tea – hot and iced, and an introduction to Qishr – ground coffee cherry shells mixed with cinnamon and ginger and brewed via french press. Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers provided a different perspective on the coffee journey than the many roasters and baristas we’d been meeting, and Case Study Coffee Roasters turned our groups into a tasting panel with a processing method tasting (and the history/philosophy of the company.) Steven Smith Teamaker served three delicious hot teas and their newest menu item – a cold rooibos honeybush, steeped with strawberries, lightly sweetened and carbonated and served on tap.
Upper Left Roasters welcomed us to their light, welcoming cafe with Ethiopian Kalita brews and apple cinnamon toast, and Water Avenue Coffee took us behind the scenes for more info on (and samples of) processing method differentiation. Crawlers left their routes with new found coffee knowledge, jittery smiles, and Yelp bags full of goodies from InterAmerican Coffee, Espresso Parts, Urnex & more. We wrapped up an incredible weekend of Portland’s best coffee, tea, and chocolate with a stroll around the show floor of Coffee Fest, and couldn’t have asked for a better trip to PDX. Cheers!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brimming with ambition, sarcasm and caffeinated zeal, Sadie Colwell is fascinated by all things beverage and the extraordinary humans behind them. Recently relocated from KCMO to Fort Collins, Colorado, you can find her behind the bar of Harbinger Coffee or hunkered down with a cappuccino, fervently planning the next Caffeine Crawl or blogging for The LAB. When she isn’t traveling to caffeinated cities, she drinks a lot of local beer and lets her dog take her for long, vivacious walks through City Park.