Portland's World Forestry Center Discovery Museum examines the history
It's not your imagination that coffee is big in these parts. The 10 U.S. cities with the most coffee shops per capita are all in the Northwest, four of them in Oregon. Find out just where all that java comes from in Coffee: The World in Your Cup at the World Forestry Center Discovery Museum in Portland.
Follow the drink through history from its supposed invention by an Ethiopian goatherd 1,000 years ago to its blossoming as a gourmet obsession in recent decades. Then witness how bright red coffee cherries end up as swirling black liquid, admire the live plant's shiny leaves, review the pharmacology of caffeine, watch videos on coffee cultivation, and sip some hot shots, of course, during weekend tastings with local roasters.
Because forest stewardship is the center's focus, you'll also see how growers create sustainable groves where monkeys and ocelots roam among rare orchids in the shade of well-tended coffee plants. As for those four javaloving Oregon cities? In order of cafés per capita, they are Bend, Medford–Klamath Falls, Portland, and Eugene. The exhibit runs October 17 through January 10, 2010. (503) 228-1367, worldforestry.org .
Photography courtesy World Forestry Center
This article was first published in November 2009. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.