Shortly after I arrived here in Portland, Ore., for the current run of Ben Franklin: Unplugged at Portland Center Stage (through Nov. 22), I wandered off during a break in search of coffee-making equipment. (I hadn’t brought my Melitta stuff from Berkeley.) At the popular Stumptown Coffee Roasters I became entranced with the idea of trying to make coffee with a “French press” — which had always seemed like a cool way to make a very strong brew. (I imagined burly, caffeine-addicted French people — or maybe even French Canadians — applying enormous amounts of pressure to create super-intense cups, then writing muscular poetry about societal injustices.)
Wanting to get the French-pressing process just right, I asked the young woman who was helping me — Carrie — if she would mind my video-ing her while she made an exemplary brew. Kindly, she said yes. The result is one of those gritty, hard-hitting documentaries that blow the lid off of outmoded stereotypes of coffee preparation; needless to say, it is not for the faint of heart — watch at your own risk!
So far, a couple of weeks into this eight-week gig, both the coffee and the audiences have been hearty and complex, with a gratifying finish. Once my family gets here, next week, I will be completely grooving on the whole Portland experience.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some serious pressing to do. …