As you may have read earlier, when I went to the Pearl District’s Barista, I tried a very pricy vacuum pot of coffee. Barista is one of the trendier cafés in Portland, and it has an interesting spin to it. Instead of being aligned with a single roaster to provide its coffee, Barista selects whatever coffees it wants to, frequently rotating them. When you go, you might find that the coffee you loved so much last time isn’t even on the menu. Some might find this frustrating, but for those of you who like to try new things, Barista is right up your alley.
When I was at Barista, they had three different espressos on grind—Hair Bender (from Stumptown), Black Cat (Intelligentsia) and Apollo (Counterculture). For French press, they offered an Ethiopia Mordecofe and for the vacuum pot, an Ethiopia Sidama (Intelligentsia). So many choices! I was really tempted to try the Apollo, but I had gone there specifically to try out the vacuum pot. Therefore, Sidama it was.
Barista’s baristas are very knowledgeable about coffee, and they love to talk about it. If you have a question about something, just ask. You’ll probably hear more about coffee than you ever wanted to know. I came to learn about the vacuum method and the barista walked me through the whole process, answering all of my questions while he made my coffee. Later, as I sat there enjoying my coffee, I heard the baristas sharing lots of information with other customers too. They’re certainly enthusiastic about the coffee and want to spread that enthusiasm.
Barista is located in one of the renovated old warehouses in the Pearl District. The café has several tables outside on what used to be a loading dock and on a sunny day, the dock is a good spot to hang out. Inside the café there is not a lot of space to sit down—a small bar with four chairs sits next to the coffee bar and there are five tables just outside the front door. Don’t expect to find cushy chairs either. The bench I sat on got hard rather quickly.
In addition to the Pearl location, Barista also has a second café on NE Alberta Street. Rumor has it that the second location also has beer and wine for sale (and more seating) but I have not yet been able to confirm that. Sounds to me like it would be a good mission to find out.
I recommend Barista especially for those of you who are coffee adventurers. Barista’s independence allows it to offer many different high-quality coffees, and the enthusiastic baristas are careful to prepare it well. While it’s not the most comfortable place to spend time, you can be sure that if you go, you will enjoy your coffee.
Address: 539 NW 13th Ave Portland, Oregon (map)
Hours: Monday-Sunday 7am-6pm
Coffee: Multiple (Stumptown, Intelligentsia, Counterculture, Sterling, Spella, Coava, Ecco, others)
Free Wi-Fi? Yes, ask barista for the password
Recommend it? Yes