Coffee Shop Saturdays: Port City Java, Greenville, SC
Going with a hometown, Greenville, SC favorite this week.
Port City Java (affectionately known as PCJ or "the Port").
To be clear: Greenville doesn't have a port.
I take that back.
Greenville has an inland port. But this was in the original thinking. Pretty sure.
Port City Java began in Wilmington, NC. Greenville is the only South Carolina store (as of this post). The roaster is also located at the actual port.
PCJ has been my go-to shop ever since moving to Greenville three years ago. Here's why:
Even though PCJ beans aren't technically "locally roasted" - it's still local enough for me. PCJ small-batch roasts, and their coffee has a roast date. Everything at the shop must be sold within 30 days of roast date. Coffee is light to medium roast. The exception is French roast option, which we won't discuss here because it's gross (in my opinion).
Try the Guatemala Huehuetenango. It's a cup of light, milk-chocolatey noted, free-trade, organic goodness. I make it at home as a pour over daily.
For in-shop consumption, I recommend the French Press. PCJ doesn't have a lot of fancy delivery systems. Drip, espresso, and French press are about it. No pour over, Chemex, etc. But a French press made with the Black Mountain blend, is quite nice.
For something a little sweeter, the "Carmello leche" is also a tasty treat. It's like a sweetened cappuccino, with a generous Ghiradelli caramel drizzle on top.
I've not had an iced coffee better than Port City's. It's brewed with a strong dose of coffee directly over ice and placed immediately in the fridge. It doesn't have any of the wonky flavors which sometimes comes with a cold-brew. When set out at room temperature for too long, a lot of cold brews get distinct dirty dish-water notes. Not the case with PCJ's iced coffee.
Delicious and smooth - all the way down.
Here's why I love this shop. It's comfortable, laid back, and without pretense. PCJ isn't a "third-wave" shop, ascetically speaking. The mid-90's harvest color scheme doesn't keep up with white, tile, and chrome of the Jones' up the street.
But I don't care.
The people at PCJ are friendly, hospitable, and down-to-earth. There's no judgment if you use cream and sugar.
My favorite pass-time: Rise early, grab a laptop, a book, or a journal (sometimes all three), get a French press, sit outside at Port City and watch downtown Greenville wake up. If I could, I'd live close to downtown for the convenience of walking to PCJ and making this my morning ritual.
It is, indeed, a place where everybody knows your name - and I find that refreshing.
If you're in downtown Greenville (or Wilmington, NC) and craving a solid cup of joe - I recommend going to the Port. Sure, there are fancier places with fancier coffee. But you won't find a better location, with better people - or better coffee.
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