Trace amounts of E. coli have been found in Portland, Oregon water samples and a boil water alert has been issued for the most of the city, resulting in the emergency closures of several parts of the city’s critical cafe infrastructure. We have contacted several establishments to find out what’s what and figure out how cafes are addressing people’s coffee needs safely.
As of about noon today, Stumptown Coffee Roasters had closed all of its four Portland cafes. Jason Overby, who oversees retail for the company, had this to say:
“The reality of it from our standpoint is we just want to play it as safe as possible. This has happened in the past; we’ve had to do this twice before. We don’t in any way want to run the risk of putting our customers in danger.
“From what it looks like, the city is probably going to say that we’re okay by tomorrow, so most likely we will open tomorrow, but we just want to be safe, and, because the filtration that our machines use and our water filters use are not rated for E. coli, I would be wary of the espresso boilers. Our service department feels like there is at least a slight potential that it wouldn’t be safe.”
Overby added, “We’re fortunate in that our filtration for cold brew is okay–we don’t have to throw out all the batches of cold brew we made in the last two days. We have UV filtration on the cold brew that is rated for E .coli so we’re safe on that.”
As of 1:30pm, Coava Coffee Roasters on Hawthorne was powering down its machines early for the day, while their cafe on Grand remained open for a limited time with suspended espresso service, boiling water for brewed coffee and iced coffee beverages, and ultimately shutting down for the day.
All four BARISTA locations are closed.
Sorry to say folks, we are closed until the boil notice lifts. Hurts.
— Billy Wilson (@baristapdx) May 23, 2014
Starbucks Coffee continues to operate its Portland-area locations, serving only hot coffee.
Water Avenue Coffee Roasters remains open. “We are not going to be serving anything with ice or anything that was made with water yesterday, so we don’t have any cold brew, but hot coffee’s good to go.”
Sprudge.com Portland-Area Cafe Hot Tips
PWB has warned that anything made with the city’s water in the last two days should be thrown out. This includes all cold brew coffee and ice in your ice machines (unless the water has been treated with UV-filtration, natch.)
As for water dishes for dogs and cats that live outside cafes, the Portland Water Bureau says they’re totally safe: