Our day started with a visit to a local family that is letting us borrow two bikes for the week - sweet! They are friends of a friend's friend... y'know, one of those crazy networking relationships. But it means we can now cruise around this friendliest of all bike-friendly cities. And cruise we did!
We started our day with a visit to Courier Coffee, who just happens to deliver all of their coffee orders on bike. Yes, they can carry up to 200lbs of roasted coffee on the front of a bike and deliver it all over town. Joel, one of the owners, spent several hours giving us the ins and outs of the coffee scene in Portland. It was pretty cool to be able to talk roaster to roaster and hear what they are doing with their coffee.
Here is a map Joel drew me with all of the roasters I need to visit while here. It may be hard to see, but I thought it was worthy of inclusion. He did a pour over of two coffees for me: an El Salvador that they get farm direct and a Colombian. Both are uber light roasted and very bright, something I'm trying to get my mind around. Here in Portland there are 35 coffee roasters (Yikes!) and most of them are roasting their coffee much lighter than we are back in the Queen City of the Midwest. I'm not convinced it's better. But it sure is different.
After Courier we moved onto Ristretto Roasters, which is located in one of the bike commuter neighborhoods. The area is unbelievably bike-centric. 4,000 people bike to work in this city, and Ristretto in located on one of the main bike thoroughfares.
We were thrilled to see them carrying our Nicaraguan friend Luis' coffee from Beneficio Las Segovias!!! I ordered a pour-over and started a conversation with the barista, who grew up in Columbus, OH and went to OSU. It was refreshing to find out that Ristretto is roasting more in the medium spectrum and to hear his take on the whole light roast trend. He is a home roaster himself and pretty in touch with the coffee scene. He was very encouraging of us.
It is cool to experience how kindly we are received here when these folks learn we are roasters from another city. It is to their credit that they've all gone out of their way to make us feel welcome and to take an active interest in what we're doing. They're also willing to talk about what they are doing (even "how" they are roasting), which is refreshing.
From Ristretto we hopped on the bikes and headed out to do some window shopping in all the hip boutique stores that line these streets. We ended up making one more coffee stop at Barista, a hip cafe that features coffees from three roasters they select from around the USA, changing them up every so many months to keep things fresh and eclectic. When they found out we roast they pulled us a free shot of a single origin Ethiopian Yirgacheffe they are serving from Ceremony Coffee in Maryland. Bright and lemony, just what I expected!
Our afternoon ended with a visit to Salt and Straw, a local fresh made ice cream joint that hit the spot! I got a scoop of some creamy goodness that is a seasonal collaborative effort between them and the chef of a restaurant called Aviary. Emily had a scoop of snickerdoodle, equally fascinating and yummy!
So... there are a few highlights from our day of coffee. Even though we've only been here one full day, we're already inspired with fresh ideas and expect that this trip is going to turn out to be one of those times that shape the future of our business.
Stay tuned for more!