Alright, this post is all about COFFEE! I hope that it will serve you as a coffee lover’s guide to Portland. If you aren’t aware by now, Portland is the birthplace of today’s third wave coffee revolution. What’s a third wave coffee revolution?
According to The Perfect Daily Grind, the third wave scene can be characterized as increasing coffee quality, more direct and fair trade, a greater emphasis on sustainability and innovative brew methods.
When I learned about the Third Wave Coffee tour, I knew I had to embark on this special journey because I love walking and I love learning about different coffee origins and their respective flavor profiles. Lora, the owner and tour guide of the program was so gracious to invite us out for a 3.5 hour tour to learn about the pioneering micro-roasters that sparked the third wave coffee revolution in PDX.
Our first stop was at Portland Roasting Coffee; the front space was small and cozy, but this location also appeared to be one of their main roasting/distribution centers. Next to the bar seating area was the coffee lab, where all the magic happens!
I really appreciated this first stop because it’s where I was introduced to flash brewing. Flash brewing (aka ice brewing) is intentional and immediate. It’s produced by pouring near boiling water over coffee grounds, and then chilling it immediately over ice. The result is seriously mind blowing – the cup of coffee is cool and nuances and notes that may not be apparent otherwise, start to appear. This concept is seriously next level and I could probably have it over and over again.
Next up was Coava Coffee; and let me start off by saying that incredible coffee resides here. The spot is a massive one with large windows lining the walls to allow insane amounts of natural light into the space. It’s woodsy and quite seductive with the coffee scents. The barista made a killer macchiato here and the precision placed on the latte art was admirable.
Our last stop was Upper Left Roasters – if Apple store ever designed a coffee shop, this is what it would look like. We had the iced coffee which was balanced to perfection and bonus points for the nutty, homemade almond milk.
Overall, all praise to the Coffee Gods – this tour was nothing short of amazing. We learned. We laughed a latte. And we went home longing for more artisanal coffee!
Disclaimer: Though this was a partnership between Third Wave Coffee Tours and Mod a la Carte, all opinions stated are honest.
The next stop was Smith Teamaker (another favorite, but seriously every stop was my favorite!). Smith is founded by Steven Smith, who also happens to be the owner of Tazo and Stash tea. Visually, this fine establishment is a mashup between Anthropologie (side note: there’s an additional 30% off sale going on right now at Anthro!) and West Elm. Stepping in, my nose got a pleasant whiff of fresh, earthy leaves. We tried an array of samples, my favorite was the sparkling tea on tap – a strawberry honey tea which was airy, sweet, and fragrant of strawberries.
Our third stop was at Stumptown Coffee, Portland’s legendary and most influential, third wave pioneer. This stop was unique in that there’s so much passion that bled through the educator. Stumptown places so much love in the relationships they build with coffee farmers across the world and even offer an incentive to farmers for growing ultimate quality beans. Stumptown is not about settling for a “good” cup of coffee. Discovering the next best is always top of mind for them.