Normally, when one of a person's best friends plans a wedding clear across the country, one's mind doesn't entertain notions of doing work-related travel during the trip to the ceremony. But when one's a coffee person and the wedding is in the Portland area--where one's never been!--you know what's going to happen.

Breakfast at Stumptown Ace
Croissant and Americano at Stumptown in the Ace Hotel

Actually, I have to admit that my better half and I didn't make it to all that many coffee places during this trip, partially because we were on a tight time budget, and partially because come on, you gotta work with it when your husband is more interested in finding high-waisted 1940s trousers than analysing the aroma and mouthfeel of a masterfully crafted coffee. Not that he can't appreciate a masterfully crafted coffee, but marriage is a compromise!

(And I really had to compromise when I found like four stunning vintage dresses, a great cookbook and a 1960s airline carry-on bag during our shopping trips. Woe is me.)

Vac pot heating up
Billy Wilson makes a vac pot of 49th Parallel's Wondo Worka for us at Barista

The best part of the coffee leg of our Portland trip was the chance to meet a whole new set of professionals in a whole new environment. It's not that I'm tired of the New York coffee scene, because I love the Big Apple and I love its Big Coffee Geeks. I love walking into any great cafe in town and running into no fewer than three industry colleagues there, just ready to catch up over a macchiato. But I love new people and new perspectives. I love new perspectives.

I always feel tremendously nervous walking into a coffee shop I've never been in before. Always. I'm a pretty naturally nervous person as it is (obviously), and I get even more nervous when I'm able to put myself in the shoes of whomever I'm dealing with. Having dealt with the occasional frustrating customer myself (I mean, let's call a spade a spade here), I have a totally irrepressible fear of becoming that person when I go someplace for a coffee. And then because I'm so nervous, I inevitably do something stupid or order something wrong or act so polite as to almost be unnervingly cloying. This compounded by the fact that the chances are pretty good that I know the barista I'm dealing with in New York City and would be mortified to do something ridiculous in front of them makes me even worse. EVEN WORSE!

In Portland, though, I knew almost nobody. I could go into a coffee shop and act stupid and nobody would even know the difference. G-d, that is so refreshing for the nervous! Add that to the fact that the coffee was great and man, you've got yourself a real treat, Meister.

So we had a great time in a great city. The vintage shopping was exceptional, the food was awesome, and the coffee we've already discussed. The drive up the coast to the ceremony location was winding and rocky and lush green, on long quiet roads bordered by roadside fruit stands.

But all that considered, I still have to say that the best part of the trip was seeing these two amazing people hold each other's hands and say "I do."

First dance
The perfect first dance