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The Portland Trail Blazers and Coffee: A Match Made in Heaven

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Baxter Holmes of ESPN chronicles the love affair between the Blazers and their hometown’s most famous beverage.

Portland Trail Blazers v Sacramento Kings Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers have a secret weapon in their battle against the 82-game NBA regular season marathon: coffee. Today Baxter Holmes of ESPN penned an extensive article on the team’s love affair with java, and the pressure that comes with serving the coveted beverage to some of the most demanding clientele possible.

Holmes suggests that the Blazers need their fix because of the grueling schedule, if nothing else:

[O]ver the past 10 full seasons across the four major North American pro sports, no team has traveled as far as the Trail Blazers.

They’ve finished first or second in distance traveled in every NBA season since 2008-09. Over that span, not counting any seasons in any of the sports that were shortened by a lockout, Portland has clocked 542,383 miles, some 40,000 miles more than the second-place team, the Timberwolves, and enough to circle the globe 21 times.

He also shares an anecdote about Todd Forcier and Ben Kenyon, Portland’s “sports performance specialists”, getting the business end of former Blazers center Chris Kaman’s peculiarities:

IT WAS THE fall of 2014, prior to a preseason tilt, and Forcier and Kenyon were boiling water to make coffee, as they often did -- and the temperature on the electric kettle rose to 220 degrees.

The team’s new center, Chris Kaman, erupted. “No, 190!” Kaman boomed.

He was adamant: The water’s temperature needed to be precisely 190 degrees Fahrenheit -- not 189, not 191, but 190 on the dot. From then on, if Forcier ground the beans for one second longer than Kaman deemed necessary, or cut the grinder off a second too early, Kaman would notice. And the beans? They had to be fair-trade, organic. And the grinder? Had to be top-shelf.

Holmes peppers the piece with plenty of quotes from Damian Lillard, Moe Harkless, and Head Coach Terry Stotts on the benefits—and acquired taste—of drinking coffee straight up. Considering Portland’s place near the epicenter of the coffee revolution, the topic couldn’t be more appropriate.