Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Public Domain Coffee
Ah, my first time…
It was in college, where many life-changing occurrences tend to happen. Away from home, with a boy I knew. But it's not what you're thinking. This isn't that kind of blog.
He pulled a bag out of his fridge and had me take a hit of the aroma wafting from it. (And it's still not what you're thinking…)
I'd only ever had coffee brewed from grounds that came in a can, and these had come from a little shop near the university called The Coffee Bean, sold by a jolly bearded fellow named Jeff who'd roasted them himself. I drank his coffee for the rest of my university days, then moved on to enjoy the roasts from other artisans I ferreted out in the various cities I lived in.
The little Coffee Bean became Coffee Bean International, or CBI, one of the larger specialty roasters in the country, doing private label and wholesale business out of their headquarters in Portland. Now they've opened a café, Public Domain, a testing lab of sorts, downtown and filled it with not only their latest roasts and blends, but a staff of eager young enthusiasts who get giggly over toys like The Slayer, an infinitely adjustable espresso machine custom-made in Seattle and one of 50 in the world, or the arrival of a new tamper, which each barista proudly displays on a shelf when not in use.
They are also proud of their version of my early drip experiences that they're calling a "pour over" (photos, top and left), an exacting process where coffee is placed in a specially engineered cone (with, what else, a special filter) and water is dribbled over it, each cup made to order. And if you've never been to an official coffee cupping, they hold one every day at 1 pm where you can compare and contrast new and seasonal offerings, coffees from other roasters or, if you're so moved, you can bring in a personal favorite to try.
Geeky, yes, but also pleasant…so very Portland.
Details: Public Domain, 603 SW Broadway at Alder. 503-243-6374.
Posted by Kathleen Bauer at 10:50 AM