by Ron Walters
Portland, my home town, is a great place to drink just about anything. We have outstanding local craft beers, micro-distillers, world-class pinot noir from nearby Willamette Valley, and, yes, some amazing coffee roasters and coffee shops. Stumptown, Portland Roasting, and Kobos come to mind. If you’re looking for a place to grab a quality cup, both Stumptown and Kobos coffee shops will deliver.
However, if you want try something new, in one case, and different in the other, try Barista, in the Pearl neighborhood, and Anna Banana’s on NW 21st. Anna Banana’s is quirky (they’re open EVERY day and have been since sometime in the 1900′s) and hip (in a Portland no-umbrella-in-the-rain, wool-hat-in-summer sort of way). Democrats and Independents will enjoy it more than Republicans, for sure. They serve Cafe D’Arte coffee, from Washington, but it’s excellent coffee nonetheless.
Billy Wilson, founder of Barista, has won numerous awards in international barista competitions. So, it’s not surprising that there is quite a bit of local hype about his cafe in the Pearl, a new, upscale urban neighborhood in Portland. Some people claim the coffee doesn’t live up to the hype. That might be true but the coffees and preparation are outstanding. Billy and his staff are friendly and helpful, and not because I’m one of the founders of the Coffee Review. They either don’t know or don’t care. It’s all about the coffee.