On August 26th I attended the grand opening of the Cartlandia food cart pod on SE 82nd. This pod is destined to be a “super pod” and a destination in its own right with room for 35 carts, on-site parking, brick-and-mortar restrooms, and space for a full pub. So far the count is only 11 carts, including Serendipity Espresso. The blue and white cart is run by Jordan and Rebecca who, with over 8 years coffee experience between them, decided it was time to stop working for others and start their own shop.
Already attracting regulars from the surrounding neighborhoods after just two months, Serendipity is on track to be a key member of the Cartlandia pod. To help avoid the issues many carts have with sporadic hours, they currently plan to be open from 6:00 AM until 3:00 PM every day of the week. As the rains return later this year, they plan to offer a drive-up service of a sort, letting customers flash their headlights and order from the car.
Supplying their coffee is the Portland based BJ’s Coffee Roasters, who have been in business for over 20 years. Believing that a great product, and even better customer service, would be the right way to go they have built a very loyal following of wholesale customers. To help celebrate the grand opening of one of their newest clients, Tim Kooistra and Chris were on site at Cartlandia roasting on their 1lb San Franciscan. Tim use to work on the green coffee side of the industry, and now heads up BJ’s as the president, but still makes the time to build relationships with each new client.
All the batches roasted during the celebration were handed out as samples from Serendipity, a great opportunity for potential new regulars to get a feel for the coffee. The espresso Rebecca pulled for me was warm feeling, well rounded, with very little bitterness. Of course Tim wouldn’t divulge the origins within the blend, but it was very well balanced. Clearly BJ’s does a darker roast than is popular around Portland these days, but walk the fine line between appealing to the general public’s preference for dark roasts and the lighter specialty roasts. It is a tricky task, but one they seem to skillfully accomplish.
It was clear to me that the Serendipity and BJ’s Coffee team are a fantastic pairing, both putting all they have into creating the best product they possibly can.