Portland’s coffee culture returns to pour over methods


Portland, the unlikely capital of American coffee culture, shies away from fancy espresso machines and returns to simple, handcrafted pour over cups of coffee.

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Portland, the unlikely capital of American coffee culture, shies away from fancy espresso machines and returns to simple, handcrafted pour over cups of coffee.

At least 27 different Portland coffee houses now offer pour over coffee.

Paul Thornton, head roaster for Coffee Bean International, the city’s largest roaster, says we’re stuck in time. “You know how on Portlandia they say we’re stuck in the ’90s? I think there’s still a heavy ’70s culture here. Portlanders are really interested in that handcrafted, living free kind of thing, and coffee falls into that category when you start to learn more about it.”

“Ultimately, the reason [pour-over brewers] are so optimal for drinking fancy-pants specialty coffee is that they’re very flexible, very dynamic and, with a trained operator, with a manual process, you can make on-the-fly decisions, and with those subtle adjustments, you can get a better-quality product,” [Water Avenue Coffee’s Tom] Pikaart says. “Single-cup brewing is easy, flexible and delicious. The barista has greater control. It’s also a more inclusive brew method—when a barista is behind an espresso machine, they’re very separate from the customer. With a pour-over bar, you can see straight through it, and the customer side and barista side aren’t that different, so it’s interactive. It also has a high romantic value. It makes me think of a tea ceremony, setting up all the gadgets, pouring the water over the coffee. It’s ritualistic. I think a huge part of its value is that it’s just fun.”

Read more at Willamette Week.

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