Most coffeehouses are located in either downtown, Northwest or Southeast Portland, but people at SCAA kept praising some outliers that we felt obligated to try. Even with public transportation as a slow hindrance, red e in North Portland became a priority.
Mindy Farley and Keith Miller opened the cafe three years ago, and were about to open a second branch in the atrium of the Pearl District’s Ecotrust Building during my visit. A walk-through at the downtown caffeine dojo revealed a sleek La Marzocco Strada.
At the North Portland original, red e featured wood floors and art-lined white walls, including paintings of dogs and President Nixon [no relation]. Baristas operated behind a curvy reclaimed wood bar that housed a three-group La Marzocco espresso machine. They roast their own coffee and typically serve two single-origin espressos each day. We ordered from a blackboard menu and considered table, counter and lounge seating.
At both locations, they have a red, lower case e representing the cafe.
Each Portland coffeehouse we visited seemed to have one fun twist or innovation. Red e’s twist was iced coffee on draft, pushed out with nitro instead of CO2, so no carbonation.
We paid $2.75 for 12 ounces of chocolatey, washed-process Brazil coffee.
Pourover Red E Rwanda Buremera ($3) was a bit too sour, but still pretty sessionable.
During my visit, a red e barista asked one of the most thoughtful consumer questions in recent memory: “Are you concerned with what coffee you receive in your pourovers?” Are you?