Portola Coffee Lab is located in the OC Mart Mix, a new retail building in Costa Mesa, CA. While many of the retailers in this building are setting up shop, Portola is up and running and claims it has the best fresh roasted coffee in the world. We shall see. Portola’s pride and joy is the pricey brew machine named the Slayer. The Slayer is a sleek machine that costs Eighteen Grand and it gives the barista a chance to adjust the water pressure while a shot of espresso is being pulled. It enables the barista to control the process and enable the coffee to brew slower, letting the flavors of the coffee fully emerge and provide a burst of flavor in your gob! The Slayer in action below as the barista starts the process on my cappuccino.
The espresso going into my cappuccino was aptly named “Show No Mercy” after Slayer (the American thrash metal band’s debut album).
My brew was executed perfectly and very reminiscent of my favorite espresso from Blue Bottle Coffee named Hayes Valley. The taste was chocolaty with tones of caramel and a definite punch in the mouth. I loved it!
Beyond the Slayer, The Portola Lab has a great roaster titled the Revelation Roaster that I understand uses less energy and pollutants than standard roasters (a third less!).
The space has an industrial chic to it and a bit sterile, but with the passion they exhibit towards the art of making coffee, who cares?
The store has the usual accessories you need to brew your own at home (no not the Slayer) but the other simpler method ones …
A special thanks to Nick Brewer at Portola. We had a good chat about mutual coffee stores across the US that we enjoy and he patiently explained to us the origins of the store, the equipment, the coffees that they carry and what to expect in the future. He was also a good sport about the ribbing we gave him on the geeky “Lab Coats” that the employees wear. Are you kidding me? With espresso names tied to Slayer … replace those drabs with more stylish gear. The Classic Gentleman is ready to assist!
So what would Kerry King, the lead singer of Slayer would say? See below …