Editor’s note: This is the first of an occasional feature in which we describe one bite or one sip savored somewhere in Maine that swept us away.

I attended a wedding out of state last spring where a young musician who turned out to live in Portland talked to me ardently, knowledgeably and at length about every coffee shop in Portland, mostly about where each went wrong. I do not want to wade into those waters. I like coffee, and I drink it every day. But I am not a fanatic. I sip casually, I enjoy, I am grateful for the jolt. That said, a cup of coffee I bought recently at Speckled Ax on Congress Street deeply registered and brought that musician to mind. It was perfect in every way. First, the sweet young bearded man who made it for me, languidly and precisely. I had a fleeting moment of irritation with his pace – “Hurry, hurry, hurry,” thrummed through my head. “I’m on deadline.” Then I willed myself to relax, to savor a quiet moment, to look around. Watching him pour the coffee oh so slowly through a cream-colored china cone into a glass pitcher was like watching an intricate dance, and the process looked both artisanal and laboratory-geeky at once. Graceful, too, was the craftsy, understated to-go cup stamped with its black-and-white ax and a fish. The sugar bowl on the counter was the very one my parents used to own, giving me a shiver of pleasure that the kitchsy stuff I grew up with is now vintage and hip. (Am I hip by extension?) The tasting notes at Speckled Ax described my Costa Rican cup as “macadamia, milk chocolate, rose”; I’d probably buy dog poop if somebody described it that way. Milk chocolate definitely, macadamia I think. I’m not sure I got any rose, but altogether deep, balanced, smooth and creamy, as dreamy a cup as I’ve ever had the good fortune to swallow.