Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Grand Designs, Part 2 (Pride...)

Spitfire Coffee doesn't have a web page or I would link to it.  This is the place with men who looked like they were from Portland behind the counter - I went in and talked with them a little bit, and one of them actually was from Portland.  He mentioned this as a way of explaining that he drinks espresso straight, no hot water or milk or other adulterants.  He poured me a shot of espresso that he described as "fruity as hell."

Now... ok... listen.  There's a whole narrative of coffee drinking that I'm carrying around with me.  I've had good coffee before - Heart in Portland, 49th Parallel in Vancouver, and a scattering of places in almost every city I've been to so far.  I've been able to pick out the chocolate notes, the chicory notes, the fruity notes, and put all the elitist coffee snob commentary in context.  I like me some serious coffee.  This guy suggested straight espresso and that sounded pretty damn good.

Once, at Heart in Portland (link) (which served me the very best cup of coffee I've ever had in my life), I brought a good friend along to have a coffee with me.  I was shocked when she acknowledged that it was a good cup of coffee, but then said "I don't understand why people in North America are so afraid of full-bodied coffee."

Spitfire blew.  My.  Mind.  They suddenly made sense out of what I'd been told in Heart Coffee Roasters.  The coffee I had at Heart was the best cup of coffee I've ever had.  The coffee I had at Spitfire was also the best cup of coffee I've ever had - they were absolutely not the same thing at all.  Heart roasts coffee so that it tastes incredibly smooth, the acidity is incredibly mellow, and it's like drinking velvet.  It's the white wine of coffee.

Spitfire served up a teensy espresso cup that lived up to its "fruity as hell" description.  It was like the red wine to Heart's white wine.  The fumes from it filled up my face, the fruit notes absolutely could not be ignored, and suddenly I understood what she meant by "people in North America are so afraid of full-bodied coffee."  This stuff was a different creature than any coffee I've ever had before.  The West Coast coffee I'm used to is smooth and easy, this cup was potent and pissed off and rewarding to anyone who could put up with it.

I know some people like that... potent, pissed off, and rewarding to anyone who can put up with them.  Spitfire makes that kind of coffee.  They were a highlight head and shoulders above, in a place absolutely chock full of highlights. 

With apologies, you'll have to pardon the absence of photos.  10 minutes before I drank their coffee I'd had 4 shots of rum.

And no, that did not influence my opinion of them.  I dare you to drink their coffee and disagree with me.

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