Bill heads outside of Portland to Mt. Hood and finds a coffee gem along the way.
By Bill Walsh
Despite all of my experience in searching out great gems of coffee glory, sometimes it comes down to fortuitous circumstances in stumbling across a great coffeehouse.
Case in point, when I was driving recently from Portland to Mount Hood, I had left in such a frenzy to get into the radiant wilderness of the mountain that I had not even planned a worthy coffee stop. Not one to lose hope, I pulled over due east of the city in lovely Gresham to grab some gas, and thanks to a quick area search I stumbled upon a place that seemed to sport some promise, a coffeehouse in a strip mall called Silk Espresso.
As I pulled into the parking lot, I observed a typical shopping center, sporting nothing remarkable in terms of aesthetics or features. And since Silk’s extensive front facade of windows was mostly reflecting the surrounding parking lot, I can’t say the front of the shop made all that much of a killer impression. But much like crystal agate, the inside of the shop was where the real beauty waited.
The layout is wide, with long counters stretching the gait of the space, flanked by a beautifully-scribed chalkboard wall. Various heights and styles of tables dot the rest of the room, with warm lighting and lots of sunlight pouring over amply. A couch sits in the corner.
The coffee comes from none other than Stumptown, with various espresso and coffee options for thirsty patrons. I decided upon an espresso of the Guatemala Finca El Injerto and a Mexico La Sierra Mixteca via pourover. The espresso, pulled short/medium with brown crema, held notes of potent vanilla, nutmeg, chocolate chip cookie, lime/rhubarb and a little sassafras, making for a sassy and luscious infusion. The pourover rocketed out grapefruit, oranges, blue corn, a little simple syrup, a touch of bran and a smidgen of syrupy balsamic vinegar (the good kind), proving to be a sweet, subtle and pleasantly piquant coffee. Also I don’t often note food specifically, but Silk served a Rip van Wafels with the pourover, a delightful facet to the experience as they go swimmingly with coffee.
For a last-minute trip and a on-the-fly coffee pick, Silk Espresso turned out to be a delightful discovery. If you’re headed to Mt Hood or heading east of Portland, make sure to roll into Gresham to check out Silk.