I finally finally am getting around to writing about portland! Geez! I think I thought I died and went to coffee heaven, where people’s blogs get written for them. Anywho, after a real vacation in Seattle, I’m back to the blogging grindstone and maybe Neil will pick up the slack too.
Ok, so once, long ago, we were in a car to Portland. We stopped at a McDonald’s at about ten am to use the facilities and I was delighted to find Tillamook ice cream! I was strong and resisted the temptation. So we kept going to the land of real coffee temptation. Despite my general fear of driving in Portland, we managed to navigate the streets with relative ease.
Our first stop in Portland was the original Stumptown on Division Sreet. We blazed in at about 2pm, had some espresso, and did some blogging. We also had the real treats of the Stumptown empire – yeah yeah, hairbender is the best and that’s old news but their pastries are to die for. We had some amazing scones and sticky buns.
Then we ran up the street to the Annex and joined in on a free public cupping of Stumptown’s most expensive coffees – which is just what the barista felt like putting out that day. Well, Neil and I are no fools and we dug right in, once again chowing down on the esmerelda especial, along with a few other geisha varietals and delicacies from the americas. Then the man himself, Duane Sorensen, walked in just in time to tell us that the #1 lot from Columbia’s Cup of Excellence auction was like “stuffing a silk handkerchief in your mouth.”
But that’s not all! Duane also brought a friend! We had the privilege of meeting with Aleco, Stumptown’s green buyer and sourcer. He told us a bit about each of the coffees from the public cupping, and moreover, he brought samples from Burundi. Apparently Burundi is the new Rwanda in coffee (not that Rwandan coffee is over), so off we went on another cupping round to check out what Alecco had scored. So let’s do some math: we’d had our morning coffee earlier, had the espresso at Stumptown and then cupped about twelve coffees. Neil didn’t spit at all. Neil kind of wanted to go to a quiet place due to his caffeine intake.
And so we did. We headed to Amnesia brewery in Northwest Portland, where we started to counter our caffeine intake with alcohol – always the best plan, in my humble opinion – and some of the best sausage I’ve ever had. We sat in their handsome beer garden and admired the tasty handywork Portlanders had made for the eye, the mouth and the soul since I’d last been there.
But with that, you might think our day with coffee was through. And you’d be… wrong! That night Duane and Alecco hosted a Meet the Producers event with the producers from Panama! Well, those guys are our old friends, and we’ll chase them to any event they’re attending if we’re within a hundred miles. So off we went to the downtown Stumptown, a true mecca to the bean. While not exactly my style, I admired the hard work, expense, and foresight that went into that space, and the love for coffee that was clearly present in every employee. Really, I was speechless. Can you tell from my face?
So to continue our downward curve, we invested in a bottle of wine and watched the presentations from the Panamanian farmers. After they were through, Neil & I once again got to pick the brain of Daniel from Hacienda Esmeralda, who we hope to have entertained with our witty banter and commitment to sustainable coffee growing.
Also, we got to thank Duane profusely for his hospitality in Portland, which we were lucky to have since he’s mostly been in Seattle working on his two newest shops (fortunately he was hosting the Panamanians too). Finally, we stumbled off to The Ace Hotel, and ate at the Clyde Common, where we had amazing and inexpensive drinks and food, and if we’d wanted, we could have had seamlessly ordered Stumptown espressos from the location in the lobby. We’d had enough coffee, though, so we crawled into our bed and drunkenly dreamt happy coffee dreams.