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December 22, 2011

People like what they like, and I’m OK with that.  It amazes me that in Portland – a city known the world over for great coffee – there are still so many Starbucks, not to mention a great many hole-in-the-wall nasty-coffee places.  But people like what they like for reasons that are their own, and that’s their business.

What do I like?  I like COAVA.  It’s no accident that my first posting is about this place.  They embody so many things that I find so attractive about what is right about coffee.  Take a look at this menu, for starters:

Simplicity.  I love it!  They do 5 things at Coava.  FIVE!  And they do them extremely well.  Owners Keith & Matt talk obsessively about their coffee and – being roasters –  how they work diligently to source great coffees, pay dearly for them, roast them to perfection, then bring them to the cup in such a way as to best present their majestic characteristics.  There are no bulk brewers here.  Just Chemex – always Chemex (Keith invented the K-ONE metal filter specifically for it) for drip coffee.  There are no $20,000 espresso machines.  Just a simple (albeit custom modified) 2 group La Marzocco Linea.  There are no teas.  No smoothies.  Barely any condiments (if you look hard you can find a tiny canister of real sugar and a small carafe of half and half).  A limited selection of really good pastries.  A couple of baristas who know exactly what they’re doing (at the last NW Regionals they took first place in both espresso and manual brewing) and a whole lot of amazing coffee.  Simple.

Matt roasting on the medium-batch Probat at Coava

Did I mention all this exists in the corner of a high end bamboo showroom?  Yup.  A few old pieces of woodworking equipment with some gorgeous bamboo tops and a few metal stools on a bare-concrete floor is where you get to enjoy your amazing coffee creations.  No plugs for laptops.  No children’s play area.  Not one single leather chair.


And I love it.

P.S.  If you can find the bathroom, you gotta check it out.  Custom bamboo woodwork is the perfect setting for your sitting.

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