Published Date Written by David CarkhuffWaterville-based coffee roasting entrepreneur Matt Bolinder has drawn inspiration from Benjamin Franklin in the launch of Portland's newest coffeeshop.
The operator of the organic, environmentally conscious wholesaler, Matt's Coffee, moved into the former Susan Maasch art gallery at 567 Congress St. and on Monday quietly opened his first retail operation. It's called The Speckled Ax, and the name carries philosophical meaning, Bolinder noted.
"It's from Ben Franklin's autobiography about shooting for perfection, moral perfection but also perfection in general, and inevitably falling short," he said Tuesday while serving coffee to customers.
Matt's Coffee specializes in wood-roasted organic coffee. Rosemont Market, Lois' Natural Marketplace in Scarborough, Local Sprouts and Whole Foods in Portland and Scratch Baking in South Portland all carry the wholesale Matt's Coffee.
In an interview earlier this year, Bolinder said he hoped to add a choice to the city's myriad coffeeshops.
"The quality of the coffee in town is getting better and better," Bolinder said at the time, but said his shop would feature "more specialty and high-end stuff, single-cup brewing with a focus on espresso. It's more of a coffee as food as much as it is just a caffeine intake system."
On Tuesday, Bolinder said reception to the coffeeshop, which opened Monday without a sign on the outside of the door, has been positive, with customers appreciating the coffee and the space.
"It's been slow in the morning, I think this is a later-rising community, but we wanted to get open, be open, slow is kind of good initially to make sure we're not completely overwhelmed," he said.
Hours, according to a sign on the door, are 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. except Saturdays, when the shop opens at 8 a.m. The coffeeshop is closed on Sundays.