Maine’s caffeine scene perks up

After a week in soggy Ireland slurping tepid coffee and so-so tea, it’s great to be back in the land of the bean. Especially this spring in Maine, when so much is shaking. First, there is the Bard Coffee makeover revealed Monday. Portland’s first thridwave shop in the heart of the city now “reflects the quality of the product we are producing,” said Bob Garver, commander in chief.

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Bard’s new updated interior

New floors, clean layout and a wrap-around bar for those of us who like to stand and sip our nitro cold brew (pouring from three taps) invites lingering. The free-flowing space works with the Tao to showcase the rich coffee sourced and served here. “In some ways this is a big change,” said Garver, who has wanted to update Bard since his partner bowed out a few years back. “I am proud of the heart and soul of this business.”

Coffee geeks will delight when Bard’s new espresso machine, dubbed the Black Eagle, comes in the third week of June. Here’s a peek at the beauty, the first of its kind in New England (at press time).

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The Black Eagle swoops into Portland in June

Garver considers the upgrade “a love note” to loyal customers and “a better workplace for our employees.” Now the atmosphere is on par with their fashionable brews. No excuse to nip across the street to Starbucks. With the new seating you should feel sheepish doing this BUX fans.

On to Port Clyde … Squid Ink Coffee plans to open Memorial Day on the docks of this tiny fishing village. Apparently there is something in this area that Linda Bean does not own. The free standing space on the water will be run by summer resident Jan Lipson and serve Madcap Coffee from Michigan. A surefire pickup before you hit the rock at Monhegan for an artistic getaway.

When in Stonington, make sure you visit 44 North’s new cafe opening June 1 on Main Street. All fall and winter small-batch wizards Melissa and Megan have worked with a team of craftsmen and potters to customize the antique storefront into a cafe that this tip of stunning Deer Isle sorely needs. With lobster boats zipping across the bay out to Isle Au Haut, this is the perfect spot to catch up on your shipping news. Bend an ear to hear tales from the docks while savoring perfect lattes.

We plan to head out for a visit soon and report back from Maine’s growing coffee trail. What did we miss? Until then, keep your cups hot and coffee flowing.

Kathleen Pierce

About Kathleen Pierce

A lifelong journalist with a deep curiosity for what's next. Interested in food, culture, trends and the thrill of a good scoop. BDN features reporter based in Portland since 2013.