Joe Johnston, a partner at Liberty Market in Gilbert, writes in to share how they recently made the switch to Stumptown Coffee at their E-61 bar. Annually, at Liberty Market we do a blind tasting of espresso from local and national roasters to determine which espresso we want to feature in our E61 Bar. This year we selected Portland roaster Stumptown Coffee to be our purveyor. As far as we know, Liberty Market has the only espresso bar in town using Stumptown. The blend we selected was Stumptown’s “Hair Bender”. The selection team included Chef Traina, our two lead baristas, and myself. The coffees (9 this year) were tasted in a completely blind competition with each person evaluating the overall character of the coffee both as straight espresso and with steamed milk added. Each person’s scores and opinions were kept private. When all of the scoring was completed, the results were tallied. We then took the top three and did the testing all over again. These scores were used to determine the winning coffee. As of March 1, we introduced Stumptown’s “Hair Bender” as our espresso used for straight espresso, macchiatos, and cappuccinos. Drinks which contain more steamed milk or are of Cuban origin use a somewhat darker roast roasted by Mr. Espresso of Oakland, California. We do offer the option of “Hair Bender” in any drink. Shortly, we will also be offering seasonal Stumptown coffees prepared using a french press. All of the coffees we serve are also sold at Liberty Market in retail bags. The E61 Bar is unlike any espresso bar in the Valley. It is centered around our vintage 1965 Faema E-61 espresso machine which is positioned on the back bar allowing patrons to watch exactly how their drinks are made. The focus is on classic Italian preparations augmented with some Cuban coffee influences, such as the signature Cortadito and Cortado. Patrons are seated at a handcrafted zinc bar where they can interact with the baristas and learn more about coffee and the art of preparation. We also have a liquor license which allows us to produce authentic Irish Coffee (patterned after the original from the Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco) and Caffe Corretto, a staple of espresso bars throughout Italy. If you have never been to Liberty Market, I suggest a visit! It’s located in the heart of Gilbert, AZ and feels warm and inviting inside. Plus, the coffee bar is superb! Read my little review and see photos, here. Or, watch a video about Liberty Market.