The Portland, Maine that Mary Allen Lindemann and Alan Speer gambled on, way lower back in 1994, was a totally exceptional metropolis than the Portland, Maine we recognize these days. When the duo opened their first coffee store on a seedy stretch of Congress Street, which they’ll inform you were recognized colloquially as the Porn District, the downtown of Maine’s biggest city turned into dangerously near 1/2-empty, saddled with a now-not possible 40% emptiness charge. There was no bright future confident, no positive aspect to point closer to, now not yet—this was a time, you may do not forget, when the average American certainly did now not do downtown, now not until absolutely essential.
Lindemann and Speer believed, but. In Portland, inside the strength of coffee to develop a network. A sector of a century later, Portland is one in all America’s most effortlessly-favored towns of its size, and Coffee By Design is one in all Portland’s most desired espresso vendors. Contemplating a cup of their glowing vibrant Colombian on a recent Monday, a morning whilst the weather outside become similarly stimulated, I may want to see why. Here changed into a marvelously complicated factor—crisp, but also quite fruity, nearly dancing on the palate, tingling the tongue with what felt like a success of mi,neutrality, assuming the mind wasn’t playing tricks on me. This becomes a coffee you may want to drink by using the pool on a summer season afternoon, while anyone else drank their ice-cold rosé—that’s how refreshing it was.
This precise gem, it grew to become out, had made its manner here from a tiny Finca, smaller than a football field, deep inner a far-flung indigenous peoples reserve, which one of the crew had encountered on a visit to Colombia remaining 12 months. To say that Coffee By Design takes sourcing significantly is to place it mildly; their passion for sustainable formality, in particular for truthful wages for growers, is up there with a number of the first-rate-recognized enterprise leaders. In 2016, CBD, which is what lots of humans seem to name them around here, joined a developing institution of espresso roasters certified as B Corporations, which are predicted to stick to strict requirements of accountability in subjects of social and environmental duty.
There are actually four Coffee By Design stores inside the place, that is lots, considering Portland’s modest size, and may prevent at their Diamond Street flagship, out in an industrial nook of the metropolis’s East End, became just certainly one of the stops I could be making that day, as a part of my studies for the next edition of Food & Wine’s Best Coffee in Every State survey.
As you would possibly count on from a city with so many dark, bloodless days at the annual calendar, there’s no shortage of coffee in Portland. Who, but, turned into doing it great, or better than maximum? To answer that question, I scheduled stops at 5 outstanding neighborhood roasters: Tandem Coffee, Coffee by Design, Bard Coffee, Speckled Ax, and Rwanda Bean, in a forddition to the subsequent stores in which first-rate coffee became stated to be sold: Coffee ME Up, Little Woodfords, Union Bagel, and Rose Foods.