Friday, July 15, 2011

People I Like: Broadway Coffeehouse, Salem

I was visiting Salem, OR just for a few days this month and a friend told me that they had the perfect coffee house for me as I was, according to her, a "geek" "nerd*." I am 90 percent sure that this was a loving observation but I actually suspect that the bona fide members of the Coffee Geek Brethren may take exception to my inclusion in their ranks. But, regardless of where I fall on the Coffee Enthusiast spectrum, she was absolutely correct, I loved love Broadway Coffeehouse. 

It is a bit of a departure from that typical coffee house feel in that it is very big, bright and open. It admittedly feels a bit more like a conference center or a library than a coffeehouse, but the vibe worked for me, personally. I walked in and, embarrassingly, squealed a bit, first when I saw "Stumptown" and again when I saw the pour over tray. Not to say the Stumptown is the litmus test for exceptional coffee houses, but it sure doesn't hurt. 

You could actually see my barista's eyes light up when I asked for one and he got even more excited as I asked him about weight of the coffee, the temperature of the water and what his opinion was on weighing water. If there is one essential quality of a good barista, it is a passion for making and drinking coffee. If you want one of these delightful concoctions, make sure you get there before they are busy (before 9). 

I'm NOT an expert on coffee, but I love learning and each barista I spoke to was excited to share what they knew and it was impressive. They even referred me to a couple of blogs and roasters.

I came in the next day and one of the baristas, again, lit up and made sure to tell the other to, "wait, make sure it's a good one, she knows coffee." True? Probably not. Shameless flattery? Perhaps. But they made my week by being kind, teaching me a bit, and brewing me 2 great cups of coffee (indonesian Gajah Aceh and Ethiopian Mordecofe). Not the best of my life, but the experience made all the difference.

My Stumptown Gajah Aceh
But perhaps my favorite part was that though there was not a blender in sight, there were still plenty of iced lattes crossing the counter. That is to say it was a nice compromise between a snobby "No, we will not serve you that!" and "Wait, wait... *just* espresso??" Too many excellent coffeehouses actually snub the people that they should be educating and Nick, Erica and the other awesome baristas at Broadway hit the right balance. Thanks!!

...and the Mordecofe!
Check out my review of Broadway Coffeehouse on Yelp!

*Since writing this my kind friend has clarified that she, in fact, called me a "nerd" not a "geek" which worries me a bit if this can be trusted...

But my geek nerd worries may be moot anyway.

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