Disclaimer: I am not a huge coffee drinker, but I did have a lot of questions about Portland’s huge coffee and roasting scene that I needed to know about.
I have had my eye on Third Wave Coffee Tours for a while now. My husband loves his coffee and I knew he would enjoy this experience. I hated to send him on such a cool tour and not go myself, so we both went. Well, I actually grabbed Chris, from Portland Food Adventures, to go with us. We also had the opportunity to meet, Adam Sawyer, who was also part of the tour.
You should know that this is a walking tour through the city. We walked about 1-2 miles on this tour, lucky for us the weather cooperated and we had sunshine the whole time. Each tour obviously starts at a coffee shop where you will meet Lora and she begins to share all she knows about coffee, and let me tell you, she knows coffee. With 50 micro roasters in Portland, there is plenty to learn and plenty of info to share.
Our tour began at Ristretto Roasters, where we started with a type of brewing I had never heard of, Steampunk. I would try and explain it all you, but the truth is I would just be making up information. I am going to leave all this to Lora. You can see in the picture that they brew a cup at a time using this method.
From there we wandered to Portland Roasting. This place is rather hidden, yet a super cool space that clearly not a lot of people knew about. And the people in there were not going to be waving people in. Instead they were enjoying their space.
At this location we were taken to a back room and shown the brewing process called Chemex. I had at least heard of this method, so I was feeling somewhat knowledgeable, until our barista started explaining the roasting process, the picking process and so on. I am telling you, there is so much to learn about coffee.
By now I am realizing that there is more than just French press and drip coffee, but not sure how much more. At this point I am not sure what I am in for next, but this adventure has turned out to be pretty fun, so we make our way onward to Coava Coffee.
This space is ginourmous, like hold a dance ginourmous. It’s because it’s housed inside of the Bamboo Revolution showroom. Yet off in the corner is a coffee shop. It was kind of a break for my brain at this one as they just made and served us a certain type of coffee drink, a Macchiato. This coffee drink contained milk foam. I loved that at Coava they provide a sign that tells what the different types of coffee drinks you can order and what they look like.
We couldn’t dally long because we had to get on to our next location. Water Avenue Coffee. Again, we were taken into the back and given the royal treatment. We had 2 of the same beans, yet they were stored differently. One was stored in Pinot barrels. We were able to taste the two coffees side by side. To say there was a difference is an understatement.
From there we made our way down to our last stop, Stumptown Coffee. Here we got to experience coffee at a whole new level. We sniffed, sniffed again, slurped (I wasn’t very good at that), tasted and chose a favorite. The whole experience reminded me of how they choose a good wine. There is so much that goes into choosing the right beans before they are brought to the coffee shops for us. Then there’s the roasting process. We really are getting some great coffee here in Portland.
I will be looking at coffee shops different now that’s for sure. I don’t know that I acquired a taste just yet, but I do know that coffee can taste very different from the way it’s stored, brewed and enjoyed. You can easily walk into the coffee shops and try all the coffees we got on our tour. What you won’t get is the back room experience and VIP treatment.
Lora did a great job explaining everything, keeping us moving and, with all her research, she took us to some pretty cool coffee shops. Be sure to check out Third Wave Coffee Tours and book yours today.