After a riveting jaunt through Seattle, Chris and Erik found themselves enjoying a celebration of their country’s independence outside of Portland, Oregon. The following morning it was only natural to review yet another coffeehouse, given the massive quantities of brownies, cobblers, cookies, and cakes devoured the previous night. Lo and behold, the original location of the Pacific Northwest coffee powerhouse Stumptown Coffee Roasters was just down the street.
The drink of choice this fine morning was the Americano, fitting given the patriotism we were all feeling from watching slightly drunk suburbanites light fireworks the prior day. Now the first thing to note when talking about an Americano is how the drink got its name. Legend has it that during World War II the American soliders stationed in Europe poured hot water over their espressos to create a drink more similar to the drip coffee they drank at home. Here’s how we imagine it went down (reference this scene from Inglorious Basterds for inspiration):
- Barista: “Your café, señor.”
- American: “What the sh*t is this?! I ordered a goddamn coffee!”
- Barista: “An espresso, sir, made from the finest beans roasted in the genuine Italian style.”
- American: “Well f*ck a duck. Fetch me some hot water then, I’m a make me some real American-style coffee.”
- Barista: (under his breath) “Americanos…”
Okay down to business…
The coffeeshop: Stumptown Coffee Roasters on Division Street in Portland, OR
The coffee: Hair Bender Espresso Blend, the multi-region blend that Stumptown features most prominently in their espresso drinks
What Chris thought…
A solid Americano to be sure! I appreciated that the barista poured the hot water into the cup first, let it cool slightly, then added the espresso after. My only reservation was getting the coffee to-go because the cardboard cup absorbs some of the flavor as compared to drinking coffee from a ceramic mug. Ultimately, however, I really enjoyed the notes of chocolate and fruit in this blend.
And Erik’s take…
This is my first time drinking an Americano. And wouldn’t you know, it’s also my last time drinking an Americano. The Americano gets negative points for tasting exactly like your average cuppa joe and compounds the problem by taking as long to drink as your typical mugga java. At least espresso has the decency to cram itself into a Prince-Toddy’s-First-Tea-Party-style vessel.
Drinking the Hair Bender blend brought to mind Avatar: The Last Airbender; not because of the rhyme shared by the beans and the film, but because I imagine the Hair Bender is what might result if M. Night Shyamalan devoted his energies to creating a coffee. To give you some idea, my first sip tasted like a burnt Totino’s pizza roll (ah! youth), and ensuing draughts brought diminishing returns.
In summary, I would rewrite the la-di-da description of the Hair Bender as follows: “This
complex sweet and savory coffee blend yields flavors of milk chocolate, caramel, jasmine, Meyer lemon, apricot, and pineapple coffee.”