In the drizzly Pacific Northwest, coffee is as essential for getting through the day as a thoroughly waterproofed rain jacket. Portland, in particular, has java running through its veins. Award-winning baristas pull out all the stops, using beans that are carefully sourced from around the world and roasted in small batches by skilled pros.
In a city with a café on virtually every corner, here are your best bets for a good cup ‘o Joe in Portland.
Heart Coffee Roasters
Stylish Heart Roasters sits on Portland’s popular East Burnside Street, sourcing green beans from Central America, South America, and Africa. Roasted in-house, Scandinavian style, get your coffee brewed via the Aeropress, a new trend in nerd gadgetry that claims to use the ideal water temperature and a gentle air pressure to create the perfect brew with lower acidity and less bitterness. It’s a delicate cup of coffee that’s truly a work of art – just ask Heart’s legions of followers.
With three locations and a fourth on the way, Barista pays homage to the artists behind the counter. The menus at each location change frequently to include beans from multiple roasters, including local companies Intelligentsia and Stumptown. Check out the Alberta café, with its wood paneling, taxidermy, and perfect patio for wasting away the day.
Coava Roastery and Coffee Bar
With perhaps the most unique café set up, Coava is located inside a bamboo flooring showroom on Portland’s Southeast Grand Avenue because you never know where you’ll need a fix. And the locale’s history is as interesting as the coffee, started by Matt Higgins, who repaired motorcycles to keep the company afloat. You’ll find Coava-roasted small batch, single origin beans here, best prepared using the Chemex pour-over method.
With two locations, the original is just off the trendy shopping district of Mississippi Avenue and another near Mount Tabor. Both serve the acclaimed local Stumptown Coffee, one of Portland’s top roasters. The Mount Tabor location is more laid-back, while Albina has excellent people-watching.
Ristretto specializes in a medium roast, aiming to create that perfect balance. The single-origin menu at the roaster’s three locations rotates to showcase the season’s best beans. Check out the third location on Northeast Couch Street, located inside the Sunset Electric building. The much-hyped spot is a warehouse showroom for vintage fixtures and furniture, and the café sports the city’s first Alpha Dominche Steampunk, a futuristic glass-and-metal coffee-making contraption that can make a perfect cup in about 75 seconds.