I kid you not, that’s the name of the coffee shop. Seriously “Simple Local Coffee” – that’s it. I usually try and turn the name of the coffee shop I’m reviewing into some sort of joke, but for this I just marvel at the use of obvious language. Why not start a coffee shop called “Coffee Shop Located in Close Proximity to Other Businesses” or “We Serve Beverages”? I guess, to be fair, Simple Local Coffee has a vastly superior adjective-to-noun ratio in their name. So future rival coffee shop owners take heed: name you place “Complex Multinational Coffee”. Also because I can’t resist: Simple Local Coffee forms the acronym SLC, which looks like the word Slick – we’ll roll with that as our theme for the remainder of this review.
BG (Background): Slick opened up sometime late 2014 on SW Ash. In fact I hadn’t even seen them until early 2015, so maybe they’ve been hiding for years. SLC is run by the hottest coffee owner duo in Portland: Dave and Lauren (DL). Dave looks like the sexy beardista who has a cute dog and hikes around the Gorge on the weekends just to “get a little me time”. Meanwhile Lauren looks like the hot new German teacher in high school; tough, organized, yet curiously flirty with her students. Seriously, they’re just good looking people – they’re the type of coffee owners you hope are into swinging with their patrons. That’s all I’m going to say… (email me if either of you read this and we’ll talk).
In any event, they brought in Sterling beans, put up a lot of pictures of boats and other random nautical shit, and have since been pulling some pretty damn good shots and whipping up tasty pastries. Hopefully this proves that hot people can do things too.
TG (The Gear): A couple of cute little Mazzer’s – pretty sure a Mini and an SJ. On top of that they have a La Marzocco GB5 – off the cuff I guessed it was an EE (the semi-auto version), but I was too distracted by the fact that no one has a GB5 sans Ristretto to really investigate. Either way, the GB5 is a “Slick” operator. The shots that the big gal can pull are consistent (temp on the GB5 has a variability of +/- 0.36 F – which is awesome), and the machine is just a tank capable of pulling a lot of shots in rapid succession.
TB (The Beans): I’m actually not going to get too involved with the beans or give a rigorous critique of the espresso because SLC isn’t a roaster – as mentioned they use Sterling beans. With that actually comes a lot of baggage, in no small part because they use the Blendo Stupendo which – spoiler – is a blend. What that means is that whatever you’re doing with Blendo can taste and smell different at varying times throughout the year depending on what beans Sterling is tossing in aforementioned blend. I should note: I’m a huge fan of Sterling, but for the purposes of this review it’s a tad difficult to talk about SLC and their beans.
TS (The Shots): I will talk about shot quality because lets get something straight: Sterling beans are top-notch and if you mess them up because you were too busy hanging pictures of boats on every fucking wall then you should be summarily punished for it. Now as it turns out SLC is
actually petty good – the shots were rich and creamy, had some nice Amaretto notes with the typical Blendo chocolate cake tones. They smelled wonderful too, like a little dark chocolate covered almond. On top of all that, the shots were well timed and the crema (both in coloration and texture) was on point. So hey SLC – you hang all the weird nautical shit you want if you keep pulling shots that good.
SLCn (Simple Local Conclusion): They’re good. How much more simple can I get? Seriously impressed with the shots, hot owners, and tasty pastries.
I’ll be kinda bold here and say that Simple Local Coffee is probably one of the best coffeeshops in there area. The only other quality coffee joint nearby is Deadstock. Granted, if you want to walk a bit further places like Coco Doughnuts, Barista, and Spella are close enough. Still, SLC is worth the visit (certainly more than the damn Voodoo doughnuts or Stumptown around the corner) – check them out if you’re in that part of town.