Seattle was a blast and I had a great time, and even more great coffee. Still, I feel there was so much more to my week. First, I've gotta say a major thank you to Matt Miletto, Kyle Larson, and all the other great people who bought me beer and such while I was in town. It truly was great to catch up with so many awesome baristas. Portland has a lot of talent and it's only growing... soon enough, it'll deserve it's own regional competition.
My first night in town, I found myself at a table filled with people like Matt, Stephen Vick, Jenn Prince, and David George... All eating some of the best pizza I've ever tasted. Another night, I was able to grab a bottle of Le Chouffe and chill with Matt Miletto, his fiance, Rob Ward (of Bakery Bar), and one of Matt's students. From the pub where we were, Lizz met up with us and she and I moved with some friends to The Horse Brass Pub. I love the Horse Brass. Always have, and always will. They have some awesome IPA's, including the Pelican IPA, which I had another night when I was there with Kyle and Sarah Allen. Seriously, so many great people in an awesome city!
The coffee though is what initially glued me to Portland. It used to be Hairbender was the only quality espresso you could find in Portland... One man has changed that. Philip Search has an awesome blend that I believe I have talked about before. It's a true quality espresso from top to bottom. It's body and full flavor reminds me of a red wine. It's heavy in chocolate and wonderfully smooth. It's yet to cross the river into Portland, but is available in 4 locations in Vancouver, WA.
Don't get me wrong, I haven't strayed far from my roots. Hairbender still puts a smile on my face. Oh, and to all you Portland and Seattle kids who like to travel up and down I-5... do not over look Lava Java. It's right off of exit 14 in Washington. Literally, you can see the shop from the freeway. They are doing some great things still. While I was home, they were featuring Ethiopia Idido Misty Valley as a single origin espresso... and it rocks. You can pick out all the traditional ethiopian flavors of sweet fruit, but it still has a heavy body.
Well, I am going to close this here. I leave you with this. Right now we're featuring 49th Parallel's Epic blend. It is so high quality, it leaves me with no doubts. Unfortunately, It's being pulled on a Super Jolly cause we had an issue with one of the Roburs where the spring got jammed into the burrs... don't ask. I wasn't there... I only cried when I found out. But hey! If you can't pull a good shot of espresso with a Super Jolly, then who are you to be calling yourself a barista? Especially with this kind of coffee and a Synesso. If you're in the cities, or within a few hours of the cities! Come by!