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Coffee Culture; Seinfeld Memories At Soup For You

Speckled Ax in Portland
Speckled Ax in Portland
Photo: Ted Axelrod

Maine's (primarily Portland's) burgeoning coffee scene and Soup For You Cafe in Farmington are featured in the January issue of DownEast, now online. Will Bleakley takes a comprehensive look at "the Third Wave of Coffee (as it's been coined) ... artisan roasters in sleek city coffee shops and small town general stores, are insisting that the humble cup of Joe be taken seriously." Along with Portland's "traditional" wi-fi-equipped coffee shops/defacto living rooms Bard, Crema, Coffee By Design and the tech-y Speckled Ax, as well as 44 North in Deer Isle, Bleakley spotlights the city's newest coffee outlet, Tandem.

There are no tables, zero laptops, and not a single newspaper to leaf through. There are no distractions from the one true goal: to roast, brew, serve, and enjoy the perfect cup. We purposefully didn't even put in WiFi, says Will Pratt, who co-owns the business with his wife and friend. We wanted this to be a space where people have a daytime cocktail party focused on coffee.

Soup For You "is an odd eruption of hip in downtown Farmington," writes professor and author Michael Burke, its name, of course a reference to the infamous "Soup Nazi" story line on "Seinfeld." Sandwiches — there are 35 of them — include the "Elaine (spinach wrap, smoked tofu, black-eyed pea salad, garlic hummus, etc.)"

It is as though you've returned to your grandmother's kitchen, only this grandmother wears dreadlocks, hemp, and bandanas, and crafts such unlikely creations as Italian white bean and potato chowder (eight-ounce bowl, $3.39), or red lentil garam masala.

· A Better Brew [DE]
· Soup For You! Cafe [DE]

Speckled Ax

567 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101 207-660-3333 Visit Website