Mudd Works Roastery
6922 NE Glisan St., 503-236-2326, muddworks.com. 8 am-4:30 pm Wednesday-Saturday.
My expectations were low when I saw that this coffee shop and roastery shared a parking lot and common wall with a Domino’s. That changed promptly on entering the small, square space on a less-traveled section of Northeast Glisan. The diminutive store is idiosyncratic as hell; fully half of it is occupied by a 10-kilo Sasa Samiac roaster, a manually controlled French machine built in the 1960s or 1970s—the equipment manufacturer opened in 1919—and a scattered assortment of packaging and miscellaneous equipment. The remaining portion of the room boasts exactly one large communal table with a few chairs and a short, cluttered counter, which owner-barista Marco Johnson oversees. He has been in the coffee game since the 1980s, he told me, and we happily engaged in coffee nerd banter for the next 20 minutes or so. As we chatted, he produced a perfectly balanced cortado with his medium-roast Heavy Number blend, comprising five bean varieties from around the globe. As a teaser for a future visit, Johnson offered a whiff of a natural-process, aged Sumatran coffee. The intertwined aromas of fresh-roasted beans and fermentation were a joy to behold, ensuring a return down the road, though I’m not quite sure where I will sit.