Last Thursday, we lucky Portlanders had a beautiful late spring afternoon descend upon us. Temperatures rose as the sun stretched across the western sky, and I was thankful to be headed to Portland Roasting for a perfectly timed cold drink showcase and some educational seminars. With samples of blended drinks, iced teas, lemonades, chais, and more, and reps from Numi Tea, Monin, and Dr. Smoothie, it was a little like a miniature trade show but without the crowds and more one-on-one interaction. I tried a number of excellent cold drinks, and one of the most interesting parts was sampling an iced tea with a couple of Monin syrups added while trying to guess what flavors were included. Lavandar/ginger iced tea was an unexpected winner for me.
And though I do love a good iced tea, my favorite part was the return of another icon of summer: the toddy! (Barista Magazine’s office toddy is just out of hibernation too.) A few samples of the toddy and I couldn’t wait to get back to the office and start brewing on ours. Honestly, I think BMag’s whole bean coffee consumption goes through the roof in the summer just because of the toddy (and the pound of coffee it takes each time we make a fresh batch), and I wonder if we can’t get an increase across the board in whole bean summertime sales by sending home a toddy brewer with every customer.
Meanwhile upstairs, Portland Roasting was offering seminars for retailers on sustainability in coffee production and incorporating cold beverages into a summer menu, and a number of local coffee shop owners, managers and baristas were using the event to network with each other and meet face-to-face to discuss some of their common issues and challenges, but more importantly to build connections across their community.