Measuring sticks, old and new
Espresso is the rod by which I judge a coffee shop. Arabica has been my gold standard for some time – the shots there are sweet and nutty, rarely bitter. I haven’t found another place in recent memory, Portland or elsewhere, that pulls a shot like that. The shot I had at Bard was at least as good, if not better than Arabica.
That was just the beginning. The cappuccino was smooth and creamy, leading me to wonder if I’ve ever really had a cap done right. Just like most of the espresso I’ve had in my life, the cap’s have always been a tad on the bitter side. This wasn’t.
Really want to get blown away? Try the breve macciatto. I believe my exact words were, “Wow. Is there cinnamon in this?”. Nope, the friendly barista across the counter replied, just a shot and steamed half-and-half.
The espresso they were pulling today was organic, and (I think) “single origin”. I forgot to ask what single origin means exactly, but I’m fairly certain all of their house brews are organic.
I’m looking forward to trying what I think was referred to as the coffee bar – which is a row of ceramic drip brewers that you can watch your coffee be brewed in. The staff is super friendly. It sounds like the hours are going to be later than any other coffee shop in town.
I brake for Craftsmanship
Perhaps what impressed me the most was Bob, and his passion for the trade. Bob is one of three owners/partners, and I gather is the main roaster. He sat down and joined us for quite a while, and we chatted about a wide range of things – from the philosophical to the geopolitical. Mostly, we talked about coffee.
It isn’t often that you meet someone so enthused about the craftsmanship and delivery of what they are selling. It’s also not often that you get to hang out with a judge for the World Barista Championships. Surely not all of them are this down to earth, or so willing to share, discuss, and debate their knowledge and philosophy.
Here’s hoping Bard sticks around – they may just raise the bar for coffee houses in The Real Portland and beyond.