Coffee Culture in Portland
The city of Portland, Oregon, is known for being one of the most eco-friendly in the United States, not to mention the birthplace of street food in the country. But beyond these enviable qualities, did you know this charming West Coast city also boasts a fascinating coffee culture? Here’s an overview of Portland and its coffee culture.
Although Seattle, Washington, held the title of American coffee capital for many years, it has now been bestowed on Portland, Oregon, city of 600,000. And with good reason. First off, the city’s cool, rainy climate makes it especially conducive to sipping warm beverages and gathering at cafés. Then there’s the fact that, as an adventurous, independent, nonconformist place, big chains are hard to come by; Portland oozes coffee and comes complete with 800 coffee bars and 45 independent roasting houses, where the coffee is roasted artisanally in small quantities.
Third Wave Coffee
The best way to explain Portland’s coffee culture is by using the term Third Wave Coffee, a movement born in part in Portland that considers coffee an artisanal foodstuff, like wine, and not a commodity (like wheat and barley, for example).
According to the movement, coffee should be enjoyed ceremoniously, taking into account its terroir, aromas and flavours. As a result, micro-roasters choose the coffee they buy very carefully and become involved in each step of its production, which begins with forging close ties with the growers in the coffee’s country of origin.
Although baristas here enjoy a very privileged relationship with coffee, they are far from snobs. Quite the opposite, actually. Their philosophy is to teach people as much as possible about coffee as a whole. In Portland, they even organize cupping sessions that are open to the public. Which means that most people in the city really know their coffee. A true coffee capital, if you ask me!