Sterling Coffee Roasters: Caffeinated Currency in NW Portland

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Coffee Portland

During our 2008 trip to Portland, the city was as close to a specialty coffee “company town” as any place in America, with Stumptown Coffee coursing through most espresso machines, Fetco batch brewers and other pieces of equipment. One of the better representations of the brand was at Coffeehouse NW, but something had to give. One of the people who helped break the cycle was Coffeehouse NW founder Adam McGovern who opened Sterling Coffee Roasters with William Aric Miller. They debuted a kiosk down the street from Couch Park in NW Portland, outside of Trader Joe’s, and began roasting their own beans off-site.

Coffee Portland
The kiosk houses a small San Franciscan sample roaster for decaf and experiments, though they typically rely on a 12-kilo, off-site roaster. The kiosk has a few patio seats and a bench, a two-group La Marzocco espresso machine, and batch coffee to go.

Coffee Portland
Ann pulled me two shots for an espresso flight ($5), beginning with a spicy, vibrant El Salvador coffee from the Menendez brothers. McGovern described Sterling’s relationship with the brothers as “reverse direct trade, they bring everything to us, and we just high five them.” That’s possible because both Menendezes live in Portland.

Coffee Portland
The Colombia Margaritas Pacamara varietal tasted earthier and appeared with shortbread.

As it turns out, my visit to Sterling Coffee Roasters was a bit of a swan song, since during SCAA, McGovern and Miller agreed to share a 200-square-foot bar with MBar in the hood. They’ll take the day shift, and wine owns the night. Sterling no longer has to contend with inclement weather, and they get to expand their pastry and food offerings. Win, win.

Address: 2120 NW Glisan Street, Portland, OR 97201

Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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