Portland is filled with charming little cafés ripped from the pages of Kinfolk. They all serve amazing single-origin coffees, often as on-demand pour-overs. However, if you search online for cafés in Portland, it's not easy to discern the interesting ones from the random Styrofoam-cup-and-Green-Mountain operations. So I collect here my always-expanding list of worthwhile spots in this capital of excellent hipster coffee.
Water Avenue Coffee Company
1028 SE Water Ave #145
Purely in terms of the curation of the coffee itself, this is surely my favorite roaster in Portland. I often order whole bean bags to be shipped to me here in Cambridge from Water Avenue rather than get beans from our rather less inspired Massachusetts local roasters. I have particularly enjoyed their Oak-aged Sumatra and their various Ethiopian roasts.
The pastries here are also particularly excellent.
Coava Coffee Roasters
1300 SE Grand Ave.
This quirky venue roasts coffee that makes it frequently as a guest roaster at one of my favorite cafés in Cambridge (Crema). Apparently they share the space with some kind of surfboard atelier, which accounts for the unusual tables.
79 SE Taylor St
Purveyor of coffee-making implements, with a particular emphasis on home espresso and visual aesthetics. The owner Mark Hellweg is quite friendly and knowledgeable—definitely worth tracking him down for a chat if he's in the store while you're there.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters (at the Ace Hotel)
1026 SW Stark
This is one of the firms to have started the whole Third Wave Coffee movement, as it were. Stumptown is probably considered somewhat unfashionable now that it has become so mainstream, but don't let that stop you. The baristas here are also especially chatty and friendly, which was a pleasant surprise (I was expecting haughty pretense, which is closer to what I encountered at the one in Manhattan.) I love the design of the interior space—and the lobby it shares with the lovely Ace Hotel.
Coffeehouse Northwest (Sterling Coffee Roasters)
1951 W Burnside
This slightly more ramshackle café has top-notch roasts, and it makes for an excellent way point on the pilgrimage up to the numinous Portland Japanese Garden.
Barista - Pearl District
539 NW 13th Avenue
This small café with guest roasters and elite baristas has seating flowing into the common hallway of the building that hosts it. Be sure to stop by the enormous Asian curiosities store Cargo across the street after you have been appropriately caffeinated.
Barista - Downtown
529 SW 3rd Ave
This tiny shop has a lovely interior and super friendly baristas who know their stuff.
22 SW 3rd Avenue
Not per se a café, I'll concede, but a fine accompaniment to a cup of coffee. Be sure to try the blueberry cake variety. Cash only, open 24/7.
923 SW Oak
This place is just down the street from Powell's, but the farcical brevity of its hours has precluded me from ever visiting. Hopefully next time; I'll report back.
World Cup Roasters
1005 W Burnside
The coffee isn't particularly good or interesting, but it's in Powell's, which is a major compensation. (Note the comprehensive taxonomy of Star Trek fiction and scholarship.)
Be also sure to check out Powell's Building #2, which houses a stultifying array of technical and other nerd-centric texts.
1740 SE Hawthorne Blvd
This francophillic café endearingly calls its machiatti noisettes, which is the only time I've heard them called that outside of France. They also stock a wide array of hipster aesthete magazines.
Apparently, ice cream is also on offer.
2211 E Burnside
This is one of the swankier cafés in town. I love the way they ostentatiously serve their pour-overs in Chemeces (lulz).
Oh, and that mint-green custom powder-coated Marzocco!
2181 NW Nicolai
This tiny café is located in the entryway to the awesome Schoolhouse Electric factory. Being hot and sweaty after having to huff my way to their far-flung location by bike, I enjoyed an excellent cold brew here.