Seattle!

Last weekend, Remington, Everly, Jude, and I took a three-day weekend and went up to Seattle to experience the U.S. Coffee Championships. We drove up Thursday afternoon and stayed at an Airbnb in Ballard.

{If you are still staying in hotels when you travel, you should give Airbnb a try. It is essentially renting a room in someone’s house (or you can rent an entire house…excellent for traveling with extended family or for extra privacy and full house access) and is usually less expensive than a hotel. You can often use the kitchen and laundry, and occasionally the yard. My favorite part about it, however, is getting to experience real life in the city I’m traveling to. Experiencing personal hospitality, the unique personality of each host, and the city and family culture in which we are staying is priceless. I’ve enjoyed garden fresh vegetables and forest views, amazing vegan waffles for breakfast, farm-fresh eggs, impromptu folk music, wonderful local recommendations, and so many meaningful conversations. I count it a privilege to meet and interact with such a wide variety of people, and I highly recommend the experience. If you are interested in checking it out, you can get $40 off your first trip by clicking HERE. And feel free to ask me any questions you may have about Airbnb. We have used it exclusively for travel since discovering it a little over a year ago and I love talking about it!}

We had a blast on our trip. On Friday morning, we went to a Nordic Approach cupping at the La Marzocco Showroom and Cafe. Everly enjoyed smelling and tasting coffees with me, and Remington and I loved the opportunity to experience a variety of excellent coffees from Costa Rica, Burundi, and Kenya. The hosts from Nordic Approach were friendly and knowledgeable, which made the experience even better. If you are looking for a green coffee bean supplier, you should check them out: www.nordicapproach.no.

While at La Marzocco, we took the opportunity to try some coffee and espresso from their featured roaster, Tim Wendelboe. We collectively got both of the espresso options, as well as a Kenyan pour over, a cup of milk, and a chocolate chip cookie. It did not disappoint. We enjoyed both espressos, one a Columbian: sweet, rich, heavy, dried fruit, and an Ethiopian: bright, delicate, light, fruity. The pour over was also delightful, and Everly seemed to enjoy eating the cookie and blowing bubbles in the milk. The cup design stood out: a sleek, white finish and unique shapes. Each espresso came in a differently shaped mug, as did the coffee.

We went to Pike Place Market to enjoy the gorgeous 60 degree and sunny weather, as well as to eat some lunch. This was our first time in Seattle for more than a few hours, so we wanted to get something as notorious as Pike Place in our agenda. It was lovely and colorful and tasty and vibrant. A very fun experience.

On Friday evening, I went to the Coffee ON:Line meet up at Cherry Street Public House. Remington and the kids played around in the courtyard while I drank some incredible house-made Almond/Brazil Nut milk over ice and listened to thoughts on making coffee online from four successful coffee writers/designers/instagrammers. While not all of the information was interesting or applicable to me specifically, overall, there were some great points made and I left inspired.

Saturday was our day to watch the Championships. We started the morning with one and ones and a light breakfast from Cherry Street Coffee House, then watched the Barista Championship semi-finals. It was incredible. It was my first experience watching a coffee competition, and I was completely blown away. It’s so much more than just making drinks. The routines that we saw showed a deep understanding of the science and technical side of coffee: ratios, origins, grind, grams, tamping, flavor notes; and a great respect for the art and personal side of coffee: farmers, service, combining flavors, aesthetics, presentation, relationships. If you have never watched a competition before, you are missing out. I recommend looking up the recording of the competition. It inspired me. It expanded my view of what is possible with coffee and career and community. Plus, I would love to compete someday.

After the competition ended, we went to Cherry Street Public House for dinner and coffee with some friends who had also come up for the competition. Each of us ordered a different USBC winner specialty drink and had fun tasting each of them. After chatting for a while, we drove back home to Portland. It was a wonderful weekend experiencing a whole other side of coffee than I’ve seen before. It was encouraging and inspiring, and I met some great people building a career in coffee

Prince Coffee

Prince Coffee
2030 N Willis Blvd
Portland, OR 97217

On a very PNW Saturday afternoon (i.e. cloudy and rainy), Remington, Everly, Jude, and I visited Prince Coffee in the Kenton neighborhood of Portland. Started by a former Barista employee, Prince Coffee is a Scandinavian-inspired, multi-roaster coffee shop that shares space with an upholstery business (no need to be concerned about accidentally spilling coffee on expensive furniture though, the coffee shop is in the front and separated from the upholstery business by a doorway). The straightforward and unassuming concrete-block building opens up into a delightfully inspiring interior with fabulous coffee.

Even though it was cloudy and rainy, the interior of Prince Coffee accentuated the light that was outside. There are lots of large windows for the size of the shop and the lights enhance the natural light coming in from outside, allowing for a bright, but comfortable atmosphere. Seating includes bars at each of the front windows, counter seating near the register, and benches around the perimeter with small tables and stools. A variety of textures – concrete floors, painted concrete block walls, wainscoting, wood paneling and accents, live plants – give interest to the space and makes it feel comfortable, despite the primarily white walls and somewhat minimal decor (including a large dream catcher and a block of wall painted black).

 

The barista was friendly and greeted us upon arrival. He answered our questions about their offerings and patiently waited for us to come to a decision. I ordered an espresso for myself. Prince Coffee always offers two espresso options, one roasted by Rose Line, the other roasted by Coava. I chose the El Placer from Columbia roasted by Rose Line. It was delightful. The barista pulled the shot skillfully and decanted it into a clean demitasse. The initial note that I tasted was cinnamon, followed by a deeper sweet, raisin flavor. It was really full in the high and low frequencies, a bit lacking in the midrange, but still very pleasant and interesting. The cinnamon note would easily cut through milk, lending itself very well to a latte or cappuccino. Remington ordered the espresso by Coava, an Ethiopian, as well as their drip coffee which was roasted by Heart. Everly got a cup of steamed milk, as usual. We also ordered one of their house made stroopwafels: two thin, round, waffle-like flats sandwiching a caramel-y sweetness. They add a delicious and unique touch to the shop, further emphasizing the Scandinavian vibe.

I would describe Prince Coffee as delightfully inspiring. From the location to the atmosphere to the coffee and stroopwafels and the barista, everything was delightful. It was a pleasant place to hang out as a family. It would be an ideal place to come with a book; order a drip coffee or an espresso and a stroopwafel, sit at the bar by the window, and spend an hour or so reading and soaking in the atmosphere. Leave refreshed and energized. Or order an espresso and have a chat with a good friend.

Have you been to Prince Coffee? What were your thoughts? Where have you been out to coffee this week? Leave a comment and continue the conversation.

Five Points Coffee Roasters

Five Points Coffee Roasters
3551 SE Division Street
Portland, OR 97202

I visited Five Points Coffee Roasters’ SE location with Remington, Everly, and Jude on a drizzly Friday evening. Five Points recently opened a new location in SW, but I wanted to check out their original location. Opened in 2010, Chris Larson’s shop on Division was initially called Coffee Division, but soon after opening, began roasting as Five Points, and changed the cafe name shortly thereafter. The cafe is located in a building originally built in the early 1900s and has that favorite-pair-of-jeans comfortable feeling that I’ve only found in historical buildings.

Five Points’ stained concrete floors, white and blue walls, black ceiling, and wood counter and tables give an agreeable, unpretentious vibe, while the street side wall, with its large, red-trimmed windows, brick, bar, and stools add character and interest while providing a perfect spot for people-watching. Through a doorway, you can find the atrium, a cozy, windowed room. I didn’t catch any pictures of it, as it was full of people studying or quietly conversing, which it is well suited for. The walls are decorated with artwork from local artists for sale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was obviously nearing closing time when we came in at a quarter to 6:00pm. The atrium was comfortably full, but the main room had only a couple tables taken. The barista greeted us and explained their offerings. The menu is fairly typical for a Portland coffee shop with drip coffee, pour overs (on a V60), the standard espresso drinks, chai, and cold brew. They also carry some bottled or canned juice, sodas, and beer. Whole bean coffee, shirts, mugs, hats, and Hario V60 pour over supplies are available on their merch shelves. They offer a few single origin pour over options, and a single origin espresso option, in addition to their blend.

I ordered a double with their High Score espresso blend. The particular beans in the blend change year by year, but this year, it is a blend of Columbian, Guatemalan, and Ethiopian beans. Remington ordered their single-origin espresso, La Hacienda, Colombia and a sixteen ounce drip, Othaya Peaberry, Kenya. After ordering our drinks, we sat down at the bar, which was completely empty. It provided us space to enjoy our drinks and allowed Everly room to switch chairs and climb around a bit between sips of milk.

My espresso was served in a blue demitasse with the standard accoutrements, including sparkling water. After snapping a few photos, and taking a sip or two of the provided sparkling water, I tasted my espresso. It was really full and balanced with a very heavy and creamy mouthfeel and a distinctly chocolate-y note. After the initial taste, I noticed some back of the mouth acidity, which gave it a bit of complexity and promised the ability to cut through milk had I ordered a milk-based drink. Overall, I was pleased with the espresso. I could tell that the barista had everything dialed in well and was comfortable pulling it.

After finishing our espressos, we headed out. Our visit to Five Points Coffee Roasters was quite pleasant and we would certainly come back. In the midst of the modernization of SE Division, it feels like a breath of fresh air to go to a quality coffee shop that feels like it’s been there forever. And those windows…I would come back just to sit at the bar and ponder the greater meaning of life while absentmindedly staring out the window. With an espresso, of course.

What coffee shops have you been to this week? Have you been to Five Points? Tell me about your experience in the comments!

Me, Maurie Roselaine

I am a twenty-something writer and coffee aficionado who loves espresso, family, sacramental living, local food, homemaking, personality psychology, travel, personal development, doing things the hard way, and living slow enough that I can enjoy it all.

I am an Introvert-iNtuitive-Feeler-Judger (INFJ), which basically means I’m freaking awesome. Deep thinking, planning, and setting goals are strengths of mine. Communicating ideas through writing, distilling a situation to come up with a decision that is beneficial to everyone, empathy, and a desire to help others are also strengths. Not on my strengths list: initiating conversations in new situations, maintaining small talk, being bubbly and gregarious, and consistently keeping my house clean. If you are a personality geek too, I am a nine on the Enneagram, a high C/S, and a Melancholy/Phlegmatic. (I’d love to hear from you on personality typing!)

Coffee-wise, I love espresso the most, especially shots pulled on bottomless portafilters into the same cup that it will be served in for maximum crema. It makes me a little sad that it’s gone so quickly though. Macchiatos are another favorite, but again, three ounces only lasts so long. Single shot cappuccinos are perfect after 2pm so that I’m not up all hours of the night. Iced lattes are my favorite in summer. I also love black coffee, four ounces is just about perfect for me. It’s about the taste, not the caffeine, for me. I also love cream and sugar, with or without coffee. I often order an eight ounce black coffee and drink half black and the other half with way more cream and sugar than is socially acceptable. Going to different coffee shops is a favorite pastime of mine and my husband. When in a new town, the first thing we look for is the best coffee shop. Many of our dates and family outings consist of trying a new coffee shop or hitting up an old favorite. (Thatcher’s in Vancouver, WA. Lava Java in Ridgefield, WA. Too many to list in Portland.)

Speaking of husband and family, I have been married to Remington for four and a half years at this point, and life has never been dull. I went from living at home in Idaho and spending most of my time reading and writing and working, to buying a house, moving across the state, having a baby girl,
moving to Washington, and having a baby boy. All within those four and a half years. My daughter, Everly, is now two-and-a-half, and my baby boy, Jude, is just under a year old. I mostly stay at home with them, which I love. We enjoy reading lots of books, baking occasionally, playing at the library or the park, and going on walks, mostly to coffee shops. Everly already loves coffee, but I try to limit her to steamed milk, and maybe just a sip of my drink. I have not given Jude coffee yet. But I do sing the Beatles song, “Hey Jude” to him often.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As far as what to expect from this blog, I’m not quite sure at this point. Nevertheless, you can definitely expect posts about coffee and coffee shops, some geeking out on personality psychology, and probably some homemaking thoughts, including musings on living slow and enjoying life as it is, not just waiting for my someday ideal. Lists of things that I love are to be expected, and probably lists of other things as well. Conversation is always encouraged, so comment or shoot me an email – I’d love to connect!