Portland is a great place for a weekend getaway. We chose Portland because we enjoy a walkable city. The weather was comfortable with warm temps and sunny clear skies just perfect for walking.
We always make it a point when visiting a city to check if there’s a Free Walking Tour. Portland does have a free walking tour and we highly recommend it. This tour is worth the 2 hours. Eric was our guide and we thoroughly enjoyed his humor and knowledge about all things Portland. He also recommended a few of his favorite restaurants and coffee shops. After our lunch at the Adler St. Food Cart Pod, we decided to check out the coffee shop he recommended.
He prefers coffee and I prefer tea
Spellas Caffee is a tiny cafe that could easily be missed if you didn’t know it was there. There are 2 cafe tables outside and a pretty small retail space inside. There’s only space enough for 2 -3 people inside. But don’t let the size deter you. The aroma of freshly ground coffee beans permeated the cafe. I loved the beautiful chandelier creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. I felt I was in an Italian cafe. My husband is the coffee drinker in the family. He ordered his usual cafe mocha while I quickly noticed the gelato case. I decided to pass on the coffee and order a scoop of gelato. The barista suggested I order an affogato. Oh. Ok, but I went with it. I am so glad I took her suggestion. The strong espresso combined with a scoop of gelato was a delicious combination. Instead of adding milk or cream to my coffee I had a scoop of luscious creamy vanilla gelato. From now on it will be hard to drink coffee any other way.
affogato: an Italian dessert of vanilla ice cream over which espresso has been poured. The affogato can be sipped slowly or eaten with a spoon and is a great way to enjoy dessert, coffee, and an after-dinner drink all in one. wikipedia
Spella Caffe owner, Mr. Spella has crafted the art of preparing espresso. He has spent his life acquiring techniques in bringing the best cup of espresso to his customers. The next time you’re in downtown Portland get the tastiest espresso and treat yourself to an affogato.
Sometimes the location isn’t everything
Yelp is a great app to search for anything I’m looking for. We searched for a tea shop and I was surprised there were several choices for tea shops. We decided on a tea shop just outside the downtown area. We were lead to an obscure industrial area. I was a little skeptical until we drove by and saw the outside of the shop. Don’t judge a shop by its location. I immediately loved the way the exterior looked with its brick walls and all the greenery surrounding it. It looked very English. I walked in and knew I was going to have a great cup of tea.
Steven Smith’s Teamaker is a small and quaint tea shop. The decor was simple with shelves neatly lined with a wide choice of teas. There were a few tables where people were enjoying a pot of tea and reading the newspaper. We sat down at the counter and looked over the menu to select our tea. Green, Black, Oolong in every variety you could imagine. All the teas blends have numbers and a name. I selected an imported tea, #47 called Bungalow. It’s a Darjeeling tea. The black full leaf tea is grown in the Himalayan mountains. The teamaker prepared my pot of tea and served it in a simple teapot with a large porcelain cup and a tea biscuit. It was a soothing and flavorful tea. I imagined I was in England somewhere having afternoon tea.
This tea shop has more than meets the eye
The building is a 100-year-old blacksmith shop. The founder, Steven Smith, was a native of Portland and a leading tea entrepreneur. They have a second location where they hold tours, classes, and events surrounding tea. I love that this shop sees tea as more than a beverage. It’s a culture.
My favorite part of traveling is finding local shops such as these in seemingly hidden places.
What obscure shop or place did you find on your travels?