Thursday, September 9, 2010

Java Town

In the late 1970s, Minneapolis developed a reputation for good bands. Prince and Husker Du came out of that milieu. I recall $1.25 vodka tonics at First Avenue, which went down so easy that it did not take long to have a pyramid of empty glasses on the table. Today, I spent $3.00 on a about an ounce of coffee. Although, I’ll bet the coffee had more drug value than even 3 of those skimpy vodka tonics.

Portland is developing a reputation for competing against the giants with Lilliputians. Food carts and individual restaurants instead of the Olive Garden. 100 microbreweries blossomed in Portland to provide options to Coors or Budweiser. Today, I began exploring the microroasters.

Like the brew-pubs, some microroasters roast the beans on the premises where they sell coffee and roasted beans. I started at Water Avenue Coffee. It looked like a typical coffee house, except it had the roasting operation behind the wall behind the counter. The El Salvador coffee beans, roasted, brewed and poured was very good. I think it lit up a part of my brain that coffee typically misses. Or maybe I was imagining things.

An hour later, I tried Heart Coffee and Roasting, pictured above. The establishment definitely looked slicker and played hip music. The roaster is front and center, not in the back. I tried an espresso made from some African bean. It looked like drippings from Jiffy Lube and was about a viscous. It was very bitter, yet had some sweetness to it, also. Honestly, I would not have wanted more than that one shot.

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