In multiple conversations with people around Portland, I have been told that one of the best espresso blends on the market is Black Cat—an espresso blend from Chicago-based Intelligentsia. In hushed tones, people discretely tell me that it might be better than Stumptown’s Hair Bender blend. It can be hard for a Portlander to admit that there is an outsider’s coffee that beats the hometown hero, but many do say they love Black Cat.
Since I heard about it so much, I knew I had to try it. The trouble was that Intelligentsia doesn’t have a café in Portland, at least not under its own name, so Black Cat is hard to find. Asking around, I was told that Crema used to have it, Barista has it some of the time and that Red E is the only café in town that consistently carries it. I hadn’t been able to make it to Red E yet, and my Black Cat dreams kept getting stronger and stronger until I finally went to North Killingsworth to find the Red E and its magical brew.