An experimental lab for everything emergent in coffee science is percolating in East Bayside. When Coffee By Design’s new Portland cafe opens March 4th (mark it down coffee pilgrims) the 20 year-old company will finally live up to its name.
“Every coffee that we roast will be calibrated to the perfect extraction for a Sumatra that’s done to peak roast level for example,” says Mary Allen Lindemann, on an impromptu tour of her coffee playground this week.
Inside the javatorium an avalanche of arabica beans “roasted to our standards will now be brewed to our standards.”
And those standards have improved. Advancements in brewing, evidenced by a pair of Trifectas that infuse ground beans with water and turbulence, ring the horseshoe bar. Up to a dozen different methods — from drip to the sleek Modbar pour-over to espresso pulled manually — await your deepest, geekiest fantasies. Crave a harvest reserve from Central Costa Rica done via Chemex? A single espresso shot of Zimbabwe? They’ve got that.
“What is the best method? It depends on what you think is the best method,” said Lindemann, who will return to her barista roots, popping behind the bar occasionally to play with her shiny, new toys.
The company that started in a cramped space on Congress Street moved roasting operations to its massive new headquarters a few months back. When the killer coffee bar opens in two weeks, the experience will be akin to visiting a brewery. You can go on a tour, take a class and repair to the tasting room to knock back a few cups. Is a coffee bus in the works?
New inventions like single-origin syrups sourced with vanilla from Madagascar will give flavored lattes a new lease on life too.
As Mary Allen and her partner Alan Spear explore advancements in coffee culture and continue to travel the globe to saturate Maine with quality joe, this lab will become THE central place in Maine to get a degree in beanology.
But before you say these two have gone all Starbucky on us, the warm, handcrafted cafe says otherwise.
“As we grow make we want to make sure people don’t think we are a large corporation,” says Lindemann. “We are a Maine company and we’ve used reclaimed Maine wood, everything in here is by the best Maine artisans.”
Look for a giant red, rotating coffee cup on the roof soon. Until then, put 1 Diamond Street in your GPS.