Turkish coffee at Marino Adriatic Café

If you are hanging out in Portland and you get tired of drinking great espresso and brewed coffee, you have some other options available too. I was wandering up Southeast Division the other day when I came across Marino Adriatic Café, a quirky spot just a couple blocks down the street from the original Stumptown. The café is definitely an original, and it might be the only café in the city where you can get Vispak, a coffee roasted in Bosnia. When I went, I was looking for something different, so I ordered a Turkish coffee.

Kristi, the barista, showed me how they make Turkish coffee at Caffè Marino. She started with super-finely ground coffee, and put one or two tablespoons in the bottom of a cezve (also known as an ibrik), a small copper pot that is the traditional vessel for making Turkish coffee. She set the cezve on the counter while she heated some water in a kettle.

When the water began to boil, Kristi took it off the burner and placed the cezve containing the dry grounds directly on the burner for 5-10 seconds, toasting them a little bit.

At this point, she added the water to the cezve and put it back on the burner. In less than a minute, the mixture began to boil, creating a frothy brown layer that threatened to spill over the sides of the cezve. Each time it was about to spill, Kristi pulled the pot off the heat and gently tapped it on the counter. She repeated this process three times.

Having prepared the coffee, she served it on a small round copper tray, along with a delicate ceramic cup about the size of a demitasse. Kristi suggested I wait a couple minutes before pouring my coffee so that the grounds could brew a little longer and so they could settle to the bottom of the cezve. There is no filter involved with Turkish coffee, so you have to be careful when you pour it, or you will get a cup full of grit.

My Turkish coffee, served in the cezve

By itself, the coffee was different than the coffees I have tried before. It was very nutty, almost grassy and a little bit gritty, a result of the filterless brewing style.

Turkish coffee is typically drunk very sweet, so I added some sugar. Often, the sugar is boiled in the cezve with the grounds instead of adding it afterwards. If you have to add your own sugar, one cube of sugar per cup is plenty—trust me.

Turkish coffee might not fit the palate of every coffee drinker, but for those times when you want something a little different, it is worth trying. I have been told that Turkish coffee makes a great end to a Mediterranean meal and I hope I can travel to Turkey someday to find out.

Marino Cafe

Marino Adriatic Café is a café on SE Division Street that caters to live music fans. The café has live music multiple evenings during the week and if you go there in the afternoon, you might even see Dario, the owner of the café, pull out his guitar and start jamming on stage. This bit of charm is one quirk that gives Marino its unique personality. The coffee was not the best I have tried, but if you are not a coffee purist, you would probably enjoy a visit to the café.

Address: 4129 SE Division, Portland, OR  97202 (map)
Phone: 503-231-1313
Hours: Monday-Friday 7am-12am
            Saturday-Sunday 8am-12am
Coffee: Vispak and Caffe d’Arte
Free Wi-Fi? Yes, ask the barista for the password
Recommend it? As a spot for live music, lots of personality and Adriatic food, or for a late-night coffee stop
Website: none