Mar 24, 2012

Portland = good

I've heard it said by a couple of people today that Portland does consumables really well. For a quasi-foodie and coffee/beer geek that equates to a good time.

I dropped Doreen and the boys off at the Science Museum after breakfast and headed to Stumptown Roasters Downtown location, gotta say it exceeded my expectations. From the moment I walked in till the moment I left there wasn't a hint of snobbery or elitism, all the staff behind the bar were top notch and super friendly, certainly a better customer experience than last time I was in a Stumptown a few years ago.

I got a good shot of the Hairbender off the Strada from Dan (I think that was his name).

Hairbender at Stumptown

Then I moved over to the pour over bar as I had ordered a Chemex of their Kenya Ngunguru, a really nice coffee. What should have been a simple transaction and a good cup, turned out to be a very interesting 90mins with a fellow named Jeremy (I think that was his name). It started out simply, as I stood there with my pourover I was observing him cup their Burundi Kinyovu across a five flight. Each one of the cups of Burundi Kinyovu were using different extraction variables. One of the cups was their standard extraction protocol (control cup) but the other four varied in either bloom time, extraction time, single constant/steady pour or phased multiple pours. After a few questions and answers back and forth he asked if I wanted to cup with him, and so we got down to business. Each cup held it's own place on the table, each one quite different from the next. The variables weren't extreme, when it came to bloom time it was only a matter of approx 15secs extra or extraction time only 15-30secs extra, but each 'minor shift' in variable impacted the cup significantly. I have to say my least favourite cup for this particular coffee was the middle cup which had an astringent aspirin finish, the control cup was a bit one dimensional as compared to my preferred cup which was the cup closest to me and came via the phased multiple pour method. With a different coffee the phased multiple pour might not have worked as well and the control cup might have been better, that's one of the beauties of coffee, that complex puzzle of coffee inter-operating with extraction variables.

Cupping Bolivian at Stumptown

Fun cupping comparisons

Jeremy's extraction procedures were spot-on; everything on the gram scale, water temps stabilized on an induction heater, timer, pre-heating, rinsing, etc, etc. Total attention to detail. Art (experience) and science blending together into a cup of coffee. The potential for incredible results came from a cup of Coeur d’Afrique that I asked Jeremy to make, more can be learned about that coffee here: wow... was that a good cup of coffee. I asked for it to go but I ended up just standing in one spot and finishing it off.

From Stumptown I headed back to the Science Museum to hook up for the Submarine Tour.

Submarine tour

The boys were digging the submarine, especially the torpedo area.


And the control room.

In the submarine

Perhaps the best part of the tour was thinking they would get to drive the submarine.

An offer to drive the sub

From there, we headed downtown to hit up some food trucks.

Food trucks downtown Portland

Great food truck taco

And then on to Voodoo Doughnuts, a standard issue touristy stop, where we each ordered a doughnut. I went for the maple bacon doughnut and it was insanely sweet for my palate but I don't typically eat this kind of stuff so perhaps for the doughnut connoisseur these are da' bomb.

Voodoo Doughnuts

Maple Bacon, so sweet it made my teeth crack

The boys wanted to head back to the museum, so they could do more of this.


I decided to go solo again and hit Cascade Brewing to try their sour beers which I loved last time I was in Portland.

Cascade Brewing

Sitting on a sunny Portland patio, watching the world go by.

A sunny beer day in Portland

We finished off the day with a trip to REI, where I abandoned Keegan and Doreen and wandered the sidewalks with Evan. We made our way into Rogue Brewery's taphouse where I enjoyed a glass of their XS Imperial Stout with Evan, sitting on a picnic bench in the sun. Back to REI then off to dinner at Little Big Burger, pretty decent burgers.

Tomorrow = more coffee, more beer, more food, a big bookstore, a farmers market and other fun stuff yet to be determined.