It would be fun to disparage Tandem, with its pedigree and pretentions, but it's really pleasant in there, the espresso's terrific, and the setup seems to encourage conversation and mingling. It has the potential to anchor a transformation of the neighborhood.
Sometimes geeky obsession can lead to something transcendent, like that chapter in Moby-Dick about ropes and knots. Transcendence might be too much to ask of Portland's new coffee shops. Perhaps we might follow the model of Japan, where many of the new coffee trends emerged. There a subculture of "vegetarian boys" have combined nerdiness with radical modesty, rather than ambition. They don't speak much, because they are certain they have little to say. It's something to ponder over our lighter roasts, and their vegetal flavors.
Speckled Ax | 567 Congress St, Portland | 207.660.3333
Tandem Coffee Roasters | 122 Anderson St, Portland | 207.899.0235 | tandemcoffee.com
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