And we're off! Since this little coffee tour will be spanning the entire country I thought it would only be appropriate to start in the northern most corner. On Sunday May 8th I put the finishing touches on my pickup truck, did one last load of laundry and departed, in the pouring rain, for Portland Maine. After a ferry ride across the Long Island Sound (a treat that if you’ve never done, I’d highly recommend) and a full day of driving I arrived in this bustling seaside town.
Everyone I met in Portland said that I came at the absolute perfect time. The weather had cleared for the days that I was there, the temp was perfect for biking around and I beat the tourist season by about two weeks, my thoughts of Portland were as follows-
Portland: Do you like beer? Do you like nature? Do you like small town vibes but enough art and events happening that it could very well hold it's own as a larger city? Yeah, you should probably move to Portland.
The food scene is solid with so many local, ethnic and creative options to choose from. This paired with a plethora of “caught this morning”/change your life lobster rolls caused me to pretty much blow my food budget for the week but I have NO regrets.
Oh right, coffee, that why you're here- For a little area there's a bunch going on- Coffee by Design has been a Portland institution for two decades. With 6 shops and over 100 wholesale accounts across the country they’ve grown to support a huge roastery with a new training center, hightech service shop and two lorings. There's Bard coffee, a relatively new shop who roasts their own and whose downtown location sports a brand new Victoria Arduino Black Eagle on the counter. There's the speckled axe, a great shop to hang at for an afternoon and roasts on a wood fired roaster just outside the city. Then finally, Tandem, Portland's darling cafe and roastery whose gas station turned cafe and bakery is probably one of coolest buildouts I've ever seen.
Paring all these places with some quick lighthouse exploring, live classic country in the town square and enough brewery options to keep you busy for months made this the perfect place to start my adventure.