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Portland (not that Portland) Experiencing Indie Coffee Boom

There’s more than one Portland with a burgeoning coffee culture. Portland, Maine, has been experiencing a coffee boom in recent years, as smaller cafes with alternative brewing methods and distinctive spaces have provided longtime market dominator Green Mountain Coffee Roasters with some stiff competition.

Coffee by Design cafe in Portland Maine

photo: Coffee by Design

A recent Maine Biz report highlighted some of the city’s most notable coffee roasters and cafes — including Arabica Coffee Co., Coffee By Design, Speckled Ax, Bard Coffee and Matt’s Wood Roasted Organic Coffee. Writes reporter Sara Anne Donnelly:

Why is specialty coffee so hot in Portland? Perhaps because Portland has the ingredients that historically have supported an artisanal coffee scene: a relatively affluent population, a robust foodie culture and a strong Buy-Local mentality.

But along with growth, naturally has come competition, as smaller cafes and roasters try to compete with one another. Writes Donnelly:

Portland’s specialty coffee shops, with their $4 lattes, immaculate foam artistry, and Wi-Fi-rigged workspaces, compete for the same small clan of urban professionals and creatives. To romance the caffeinated, the shops must distinguish themselves in the two areas industry analysts say consumers care about above all else: coffee quality and shop atmosphere. The Speckled Ax on Congress Street features glowing space-age siphons imported from Japan and an $18,000 hand-built Slayer espresso machine that is one of only 20 in the country. Coffee By Design downplays coffee couture in favor of a laid-back, friendly atmosphere in its three locations throughout the peninsula and another in Freeport. And Bard Coffee on Middle Street, which times every pour, measures drink density with a palm-sized refractometer, and even weighs the water, celebrates the geek side of coffee prep.

The full story: Maine Biz 


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