The best coffee in Maine is found served up at a sporting camp in the great, deep woods.
With a group of guys traveling from many different states on a yearly pilgrimage up to Maine. The recreational camp in T4 R3 or whatever unorganized township and range number where property taxes go directly to Augusta Maine. No pressurized water, the woods retreat serviced by an outhouse with very outdated reading material. The damp, musty smelling sparse camp interior used by mice most of the year is stocked with plenty of bunk beds, a center pot belly wood stove just a crackling, sputtering as it cranks out the heat.
The coffee server making his rounds like a private after the day’s hard fought battle to catch some type of wildlife with the Choke full o’ Nuts, Eight O’clock, Wally World Classic Roast coffee beverage.
Served up inside the hand peeled cedar or pine log Maine woods camp. Using a pot holder, gripping a very old smoke charred metal pot tipped slowly to spill where intended its precious brewed contents.
The blackened coffee pot like the cowboys used out under the stars, on the open range leaning against their circle of western saddles gazing into camp fires. Collecting positive ions as a summer breeze circulates around the idle conversations.
Back at woods camp, the metal coffee cups gripped by their handles by the partridge, deer, black bear or moose slayers. Transported out onto the open porch after a gut busting supper of fresh game, local veggies, out of state dessert pies their better half packed in coolers for the trip north days earlier.
Fresh coffee to start the day tastes mighty fine, extra special at a Maine lake cottage or ocean front property too.
With Grampy cooking a breakfast of eggs, sausage, bacon, ham, baked beans, home fries, pancakes, homemade biscuits and jam. The chef telling his three grandsons to shake a leg. “We’re wasting daylight lads, the fish are waiting, I can hear them calling your name.” A glance at his Timex shows the cook and chief bottle washer it’s a whisker before five AM.
The excited boys, a trio of cousins under the gun to finish their breakfast eggs, flap jacks, whatever remains. Mopping up their plates using the last biscuit what was served up from iron frying pan atop the antique wood cook stove. The heater/kitchen cook center of making the hash passed down family heirloom surviving two World Wars and the Great Depression.
The eggs, Maine blueberry pancake stacks and the charge of so much else just dined on, all cooked just the way each young boy liked them best. While now their grandfather cleans up, turns to drain one more cup of early morning coffee. He gave up the cancer sticks, the nails for the coffin three decades earlier that would have died up one coffee drinking hand in the pair.
Filling a thermos with the excess brew to nurse on later to remain percolated chipper, to stay IV slow drip caffeinated out on the open chop, the swell and roll, fishing troll along Maine water front.
As a day of fishing and stories with a grandfather out in the sea worthy boat unfolds for the memory making. The competition for the biggest fish bragging rights about to launch from the boat tied to the dock out front the Maine lake cottage or rock bound coastal vacation venue.
The best coffee in Maine, you can find it in quaint small town, a few city venues all established that stand out brightest. But the map from the hand picked beanery dispensers touted online seems to stop in Bangor heading north. It forgets the coffee served daily at the corner stores, local Northern Maine diners, restaurants and cafes. The church, grange, service and snowmobile, sporting clubs. Morning coffee tastes best in anything but a Styrofoam cup and spiked with the conversation. The catch up on grapevine local-state-national news with the other fresh ground bean worshipers public opinion that makes the eye opening coffee time almost a religious ritual.
Just try to skip that morning coffee and the rest of the day seems to back peddle and you feel big time out of joint.
Maine like it’s barley pop beer micro breweries has lots of coffee bean roasters. Clever names attached to the coffee to tie in with the Maine regions it is from and all of them pushing hard on the branding levers to stand out as the best bean to start, maintain or end your day. What’s the slogan of the double DD brand of coffee? Oh yeah, the World runs on Dunkin’ (coffee).
My World rocks on Tim Horten’s and with my boys playing hockey in Canada for years I noticed there is a Timmy Ho Ho’s on every corner eh? My addiction grows for the place with the pull up the rim to win, and fruit explosion muffins that make me a coffee Ninja. (Hi yahhh chop drop kick move.) Hey, hold it while over home in Canada… Back it up in Hartland New Brunswick where the World’s longest wooded covered bridge spans the St John River. Let’s pull in to Dixie Lee for some of their wicked decent chicken, fish, a couple tubs of that oh oh so so fine, the sweet fine chopped coleslaw would you Sport?
Forget the brand of java bean you like best, how do you enhance it to your liking with the aftermarket fixings?
If straight up, Darth Vader black is not your color or choice for coffee enjoyment then roll in the condiments tray. Add the cream and sugar, or slew of substitutes for sweetness or flavoring infusion options. A shot of Jack, Jim, Jose, Crown whiskey or hit me. Like a little splash of raspberry Chamboard, orange Grand Marnier, Bailey’s Irish Cream, B&B liqueur? No thanks. Keep the stopper in the Jeanie in the bottle like gold strip wrapped decanter. But please do. Latte this, double shot of turbo that, triple triple espresso over here as you make the coffee pouring rounds. To have it your way in the cup of Joe held with clasped hands. To heat the palms of your paws as you reflect. All the enhancement additives leaves little room for center stage coffee among pump up the volume foamy lather.
And how much coffee is too much? Hold it to a limit of 28 cups per week some preach.
What are the heath benefits coffee, of this oxidant rich elixir of the God’s besides extra energy, clear thinking, burning fat? Well decreasing heart and diabetes disease is one reason to keep it up. The chug a lug makes you a regular percolator. Who started the coffee break, the coffee cluck reach for filter brewed squeezin’s of the big bad bean? More on the history of coffee. Sometimes it is less is more in the good to the last drop with little demitasse, half the cup size coffee squirt. But talk about horsepower and an eye opener from the coffee shot between the eyes. Iced coffee anyone? Cool off on a hot day, shift to the hot stuff when the mercury sits lower in the glass temperature tube. Or fire up the single serving Keurig unit for some like it this way, some another or when drinking alone.
Remember, it’s not the coffee all by its lonesome but the people and Maine setting that improve the overall taste experience. Coffee moments, ahhhhh. Got time for coffee?
Oh sure, sometimes it’s just you and the coffee in the holder with drive time tunes or the news on the morning commute. But the sense of community among coffee drinkers after their morning fix is strong. Truck drivers guiding the 18 or more wheels with the jake brake through all kinds of Maine weather and winding roads. The guy or gal with the chain drive wallet, the high watt squawk box linear “got your ears on” CB needs the road juice. Not a flashlight full of bennies under the bunk mattress. To stay extra alert, to avoid flattening texting teenagers with new licenses and plenty of other distractions. That’s a big 10-4 to skip the 10-55 that leads to the meat wagon or hearse call.
What’s that, you are a tea toteler?
Being this close to the merry old dominion of Canada which learned the love of a spot of tea at three in the afternoon from across the pond, Mainers are no strangers to the power of the tea leaves. Don’t have clouds in their coffee and reach for Red Rose, Sleepy Bear, Earle Grey, Lipton or whatever their favorite blend of tea in the bag to heat, steep and pour. Some hot items for tea drinkers if it is no no to the cup of Joe.
The best coffee bean grinder on the market today to own because some argue fresh ground of any variety that trips your trigger is the single most important ingredient. Or what about French pressed coffee? It ain’t rocket science as this coffee camp blog post sputters.
Anything but those Folger’s coffee crystals for me please. Like warm water with a brown crayon dipped in it. Yikes. And what about cowboy coffee that is only the beans, the water, the pot? True two wheel hog riders don’t mind the bugs in their teeth but the grounds from really bad cowboy coffee can stick with your gritty smile and spoil the day.
I think the water is right up there with what’s most important to pay attention to making the morning coffee.
Don’t spoil the coffee with chlorine and fluoride municipal H2O IMHO. Tap a spring, draw from a private well of pure water. And push back, run away from those burnt over-roasted beans that taste like Moxie, roots, bark and bug parts mixed with dirt. I know folks line up in droves, beat a pathway to the door of Starbucks. And I’m a some like it fine just midnight black, straight up no thank you to anything extra slid into my coffee cup. To wrestle with the taste, to interfere with the clear, crisp liquid buzz. But just don’t feel the love for Starbucks. Sorry and hope you do support the establishment if one is handy and on your haunt circle.
What you park the coffee in for a vessel for the road ride or just standing around hearing about how the Red Sox, Celtics, Boston Bruins or local sports team did last night.
With the shuffle stop and go at the Piggly Wiggly corner pit stop.
Where talk about the brown trout biting out on Secret Pond or the river with the first settler’s name, Meduxnekeag that means “Rocks at its mouth”.
Here’s one fine coffee tested container for road or camping trips where you need more than one 8 ounce fix and the thermos is as precious as the green tank with the air cord is to folks short on breath.
The coffee cup better not be Dixie brand or hydrocarbon styrofoam. That’s right up there with drinking water out of a garden hose on a warm day experience when you are a kid. And your peers say “he’s just a young sprout, don’t know no better”. (Speaking as an aside of the dialect expressions in Maine check out this wicked decent video story about the trusty, crusty clammer with his hoe, boots, on the mud flats in search of the friggin’ purple clam that removed his finger. He could have used a squirt of French Vanilla coffee to his sweeten his sour mood.)
Here are some local Maine bean roasters and distributors.
Wicked Joe’s pushes not just a better coffee bean but fair trade with the Juan Valdez farmer on the other end of the trade. Carrabassett Coffee Company is headquartered in Kingfield, Maine near Sugarloaf USA ski area. Here’s a Maine map with more coffee roaster locations to located the ones nearest you. Will double back and add more from the list as we delve into who they are, where they are in Maine for your coffee hounds.
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