Purists push coffee to its limits

By BRIAN DUFF  |  September 5, 2012

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

< prev  1  |  2  | 
  Topics: Food Features , Coffee, Colombia, Speckled Ax,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   COPING WITH ADULTHOOD  |  August 07, 2014
    The neighborhood’s newish Central Provisions is grown up. But it also embodies our ambivalence about adulthood, and our persistent hope that a few more drinks will help us cope with it.
  •   PATHS TO GREATNESS  |  July 31, 2014
    India, like the American university, is mostly in the news these days for its bloated and ineffective administration and an epidemic of underprosecuted sexual assault. But let’s not give up on either—India or college—as a source of wisdom and repository of culture.
  •   THE QUAY TO GOOD LIVING  |  July 11, 2014
    Though they offer an appealing moral clarity, in practice zero tolerance policies have ruined any number of urban schools, fragile marriages, and card-marred soccer games. Zero tolerance almost ruined Portland a few years back, too.
  •   BITING INTO THE FANTASY  |  July 10, 2014
    Is it a sign of the shallowness of our national culture that we have spent half a decade excited by the idea of food served from trucks? Sure. But is it a symptom of some deeper condition? I suspect so. This summer offers a chance to investigate thanks to the arrival of a critical mass of food trucks around Portland, along with the film Chef, about a restaurant chef who starts a food truck.  
  •   A RAIL-CAR PALACE IN BIDDEFORD  |  June 11, 2014
    The barrel roofed train-car looks incredibly good given it’s nearly a century old.

 See all articles by: BRIAN DUFF