Monday, August 6, 2007

Albina Press

I don't often visit Albina Press because of the hype. And the anti-hype. Some of the public chatter about the coffeehouse has been that the baristas are both snobby and drop-dead gorgeous, that the coffee is the best in town and totally overrated, that you can see rock stars there and that there are too many hipsters. It's a mixed bag of reviews though most are glowing reviews of the actual coffeedrinks themselves.

Since so many people in Portland have such strong opinions about Albina Press I have been scared to either love it or hate it, and therefore tried to keep my experiences with the coffeehouse ambivalent.

I did drop by this past Friday morning before a weekend drive to Seattle to fuel up. That would have only been my fourth or fifth visit to Albina Press and so far I have not been snubbed by a barista, they were relatively attractive, I did see a rock star once, and the coffee drinks are certainly the best-crafted ones in Portland that I have tasted so far.

The even-keeled coffee kept it's great flavor all the way to Centralia. The day-old pastry I bought with the coffee did not. (Pastry note: Crema's Morning Buns, or "A.M." Buns as some coffeehouses refer to them, are not day-old worthy.)

The drink was encouraging and since I now live the NE 'hood, I'll keep going back to taste and to try to explain here why I think the way Albina Press pours Stumptown beans is better than even the Stumptown coffeehouses themselves. Maybe it's the extra hype included with every cup.


OutsideShooter said...

OK I am about to visit Albina Press for the 1st time this coming Friday morning, which begs the question, why would AP be better than stumptown themselves?

Sonia said...

Roasting coffee is one thing, but then keeping it fresh, grinding it correctly to the pressure you are extracting the shot and timing the shot is another.

There is a lot of fine-tuning that goes on in pulling a shot that makes a world of difference. And Albina Press has consistently produced shots that bring out the most flavor from the coffee.

But it would be fun to do a blind taste test of AP vs. Stumptown vs. some other shop that also serves Stumptown coffee!

UrsaMajor said...

I go there all the time, and have this to say about the snobbishness factor:
- The males seem more standoffish than the females, to me
- The one guy that was consistently most aloof to me (I'm not a rock star) is no longer there
- Most of the females are attractive; only one is drop dead gorgeous, and she is also the consistently most friendly person there, even to people like me who are neither hip, famous, or particularly attractive

Summary: I wouldn't let the anti-hype keep you from enjoying their great coffee

Anonymous said...

Albina Press came in second at the 2009 Northwest Regional Barista Competition which concluded today

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