As you probably know, Dan and I went to Portland, Oregon a few weeks ago.We arrived late on a Saturday night and first thing on Sunday morning we went on a Third Wave Coffee tour. On pretty much all of our vacations nowadays we always try and hit up a coffee roasters and plenty of coffee shops. So we decided in advance to try out our first coffee tour. This company has a few different ones to choose from and we chose A Streetcar Named Delicious so that we could ride on Portland’s public transit. Through this tour we were able to see a few different neighborhoods including the Downtown, Pearl District, and Central Eastside.
The tour stopped at 5 different coffee shops including a food truck! Our first stop was at Case Study Coffee located downtown and luckily only about a 15 minute walk from our hotel. There we met our lovely tour guide and two other women from Los Angeles who were going to be tasting some coffee with us. We were lucky to have such a small group because we didn’t take up as much space at each of the shops and we were able to really talk to the guide and the baristas/roasters at each location. At our first location one of the baristas showed us 3 different brewing methods including French Press, Chemex, and a Kalita dripper. The bean was the same but we could taste each of the brew methods and discussed the difference in each.
The second stop was at Cup and Bar, which is the tasting room of coffee and chocolate from Trailhead Coffee Roasters and Ranger Chocolate Company. We got there at just the right time and were able to see some of the beans being roasted right there. The drinks we tried (photo below) was quite possibly the most decadent concoction I’ve ever tasted. The drink is called a Dirty Charlie (named for Trailhead’s owner) and consists of a chocolatey macchiato, with espresso poured over cacao nib ice cream and topped with foam and shaved Ranger chocolate. Here is a video of them making the delicious drink.
Our 3rd stop was the Ristretto Roasters Cafe on Couch St. (there are multiple locations). Here we got to try out the art of cupping, which is a process of smelling and tasting different coffee beans. Boiling hot water is poured over coffee grounds, then after waiting about 4 minutes, it is time to taste the coffee. First you break the top layer (it reminded me a lot of breaking a crème brûlée), then you immediately smell the coffee, then you use a spoon to scoop up some coffee bring it to your mouth and audibly slurp it. They told us the slurping was very important so all of your taste buds get covered with the coffee. It was really interesting hearing everyone talk about the notes and flavors they experience and which beans they prefer.
Second to last stop was at Nossa Familia Coffee. It is a very small cafe with only a few stools to sit on, which made our short trip there ideal. We didn’t have any special activity planned for this location but we did get to try a really tasty drink which was their mocha topped with espresso chocolate whipped cream. Very, very good!
We ended the tour at a collection of food trucks on Adler Street, specifically Ole Latte’s. Something unique about this place is that they have a pay it forward system where you can pay for an extra coffee or latte that can then be used by someone else who really needs a coffee that day but maybe doesn’t have the money or forgot their wallet. We were treated to their Lavender Latte that was quite delicious. It isn’t something I would normally order so it was nice to try something different for a change.
Definitely consider trying out one of the Third Wave Coffee tours if you ever find yourself in Portland. It is a great way to sample their abundant coffee scene while also talking to a native about the city.