Friday, February 05, 2010

Coffee Joint

Buying a cup of coffee in this town is getting complicated. Not in a split-shot-grande-vanilla-no-foam-latte way, but the "Do you want your espresso pulled with the Kenya Gatomboya by Stumptown or the Nueva Granada El Salvador by Barefoot?" kind of complicated.

Barista was opened by Albina Press founder Billy Wilson as a place for Portlanders who are passionate about their brew to experience the best coffees the country has to offer. To that end, he carries coffees from his mentor Duane Sorenson's Stumptown, and other nationally noted roasters like Intelligentsia, Ecco, Verve, Metropolis and Barefoot.

You can get your vanilla latte, sure, but you can also get a cup made in a French press maker or, for $8 to $10, made in halogen-heated vacuum pots (right), requiring a very mad scientist's laboratory process that will appeal to equipment geeks.

The folks who frequent this temple to small-batch specialty caffeine delivery systems tend to speak in hushed tones as they consult with the barista who is making (I almost want to say consecrating) their coffee, then go to sit at the scattered tables in the lobby of the office building it occupies or, in nice weather, on the loading dock outside.

The tone is serious, yes, but that's the way these guys feel about their craft. And I've got to give them props, since their attention to the quality definitely shines through.

Details: Barista, 539 NW 13th Ave. between Glisan and Hoyt.

Thanks to those who noticed my reference to "Alberta Press" instead of "Albina Press." Editing your own copy? Hard!


EcoGrrl said...

yeah i heard about the $10 cup of coffee. no matter how foo foo or tasty it is, it reminds me too much of the overpriced cocktails at places like city grill. to be honest, i think it's f'd up that they think it's OK to charge that.

Kathleen Bauer said...

It is interesting to watch them make it…they custom grind the coffee, then heat the water and it percolates from the bottom vessel to the top and drains back down. Kind of reminds me of my grandmother's clear glass percolator. It fascinated me as a child!