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Nothing beats a warm cup in your hands while navigating through Portland rain and traffic. But to avoid another burnt latte or bland cuppa joe, you’re going to want to try out the coffee shop that cares. And lucky for us, in Portland, that’s a lot of places. PDX is home to great coffee, so below are just a few of the best shops you’ll find downtown.
The coffee shop that has their name scattered on t-shirts and tagged in social media posts throughout Portland — we welcome you to Barista. Here, the coffee is great, not good. The service is fast and genuine. The vibe is hip and fresh. And the interior of each shop is rustic and unique. When you order a cappuccino or latte, expect to see an artistic design within your foam. They have multiple locations in Portland, so whenever you’re in need of a caffeine fix, you won’t have to travel far.
If you love coffee and haven’t been to Spella Caffé yet, consider adding them to today’s to-do list. Their espresso is perfect. The shop in NW is warm and friendly, with an owner who sets the tone with a personable vibe. FYI: be prepared to wait in a bit of a line if you’re stopping by in the morning, as a growing group of Portlanders love to start their day with this at the top of their to-do list, too.
At the Dragonfly Coffee House, you’re going to feel at home in 60 seconds or less. Not only is the coffee warm, but the is staff, too. This Northwest shop prides themselves on getting to know their customers’ orders, learning about their day, and bonding over Portland weirdness. They’re also known for their weekly events, ranging from evenings of poetry to music by local bands. Sub out your nightly Netflix for a trip to the Dragonfly, we think you’ll be considered a regular in no time.
Starbucks has their “Zombie Frappucino”, “Unicorn Food”, and the extra basic PSL, but Coava Coffee represents everything opposite of these drinks (thank goodness). Coava Coffee Roasters focuses on the beauty of simplicity of coffee, and have mastered great quality in a cup. Stop by for an impeccable cappuccino, cortado, or smooth nitro brew. The open seating and modern, Portland decor at all four of their locations are great for a friend date
This cafe has multiple locations within Portland for this reason: they are home to one of the best coffee menus in Portland. And if you’re trying to find a spot that works with dietary needs, Stumptown is a prime place to check out. They offer sugar-free syrups and milk alternatives — without your drink losing any taste. There’s also a selection of amazing teas and cold brew from tap. Fitt tip: hit up their outpost on South Waterfront, where you can people-watch and boat-watch from within their shop’s bar seating.
If you’ve walked along SE Morrison, you’ve most likely seen the mustard-yellow Floyd’s sign. And if you haven’t yet ventured inside for a hot chocolate and panini, you’re missing out. Floyd’s offers standard coffee drinks, but we like to head here when we’re feeling a little more adventurous (i.e. Vanilla Steamer vibes). The interior is festive — think Grease mixed with Prohibition Era decore. The Mexican Hot Chocolate alone is worth the sugar coma. And the local art scattered throughout the cafe will remind you why you adore the artists of Portland. Check them out in Old Town as well.
Does discussing anything more than your coffee order with your local barista stress you out? Makes you want to head to your Keurig instead? If so, Heart Roasters is the spot for you. The baristas at their multiple PDX spots make an incredible cup of coffee light and delicate. However, the baristas here are also known for being a bit reserved with their customers (aka this Scandinavian cafe respects their customers’ “me-time”). They also regularly host local DJs, and will have you coming back when a delicious, light, Central American roast is needed.
When you want to just be Portland for a day, head to Sterling in NW. Home of heavy moustaches, suspenders, top hats, and bright red lipstick. Chipper. Tasty. Friendly. This is a taste of Portland blended with a delicious roast. The menu offers the coffee classics as well as fruity tastes, like an apple or lemon blend. If you’re just visiting Portland, we suggest taking the time to grab an espresso so you can experience what it’s like to be a true PDX local.
Water Avenue in SW and SE has great service, great coffee, and great food. If you appreciate an impressive cup of black coffee, look no further. No sip is too bitter, too dark, or too light. The delightfulness of their coffee’s taste is parallel to their service — baristas at Water Avenue can answer any coffee-related question you can come up with. And don’t look past other menu options, where the favorite saying within this cafe is something along the lines of: “Come for a coffee, stay for a beer”. Cheers.
Did you ever think your salt shaker really give your coffee that extra dose of flavor you’re looking for? No? Not us, either. Until we tried the drinks at Case Study. They add sea salt to their cappuccinos. They add hazelnut puree to their Americanos. Really, Case Study knows exactly what to add to each and every cuppa joe to make plenty of chills occur (in the best way), and to keep us coming back. They have three locations in Portland, so you can experience the goosebumps no matter what quad you’re in.
Cathedral Coffee is a fun and quirky cafe near St. John’s with a great menu. And they offer amazing coffee and weekend brunch, solidifying their spot on this list. Whether you’re waking up from a great sleep or trying to rid yourself of a pounding hangover, choose to start your day with their waffles and a latte.
Albina Press is the perfect place to grab a coffee and get some work done. On Albina Ave. in North Portland and SE Hawthorne, the shop is large enough for your book club to knock out a discussion, or to enjoy a coffee and brownie alone in your own brilliant thoughts. Plus, the syrups here are made in-house, so splurge on the butterscotch or lavender flavors.
Do bright colors, ad campaigns, and creative coffee drinks spark your interest? Check out SE’s Never Coffee Lab. If a design agency could have a baby with a cafe, this would be it — aka Never is cool. They almost have better one-liners than us at Fitt (almost). And they not only supply a fun aesthetic, but creative drinks that you won’t find anywhere else. The Midnight Oil, a signature drink, is best described as “The Scandinavian love of black licorice wrapped in a pillowy latte.” But besides the name, the taste itself is otherworldly and the atmosphere is just as good.
Attention! To those who don’t always crave a stiff coffee drink and have no shame asking for the extra pump(s) of caramel in their latte, head to the little blue hut we locals like to call Dutch. Dutch offers drive-thru service, a sweet tooth fix, and laid-back employees. If you want a yummy mocha, try the Cocomo (off the secret Dutch menu). There are multiple huts scattered across Oregon, and more than a few throughout the Portland quadrants.
Portlanders know that nothing within Hawthorne is mainstream, expected, or boring. So, it should come as no surprise that one of our favorite coffee spots here is inside a double-decker bus. Tōv Coffee is innovation at its finest, with a delicious Egyptian coffee menu that you’re not going to find at any other coffee shop. Want some wine in your latte? Haven’t heard of that one yet? Time to head to Tōv. Their menu is filled with surprises as well as traditional coffee options, and a uniqueness that can only be found in Portland.
We’ve all had those crap days when the caffeine is necessary — when the gloominess of Portland has hit us a little extra hard, or the accident on the Morrison Bridge kept us from our Netflix binge. These are the days when we suggest Saint Simon Coffee; their menu offers the extra caffeine in their wide selection of delicious cold brews. Their cafe is simple, along with their drinks, but the taste is unbelievable. Stop by their location on NE Broadway when you’re having one of those days.
A little taste of down under in PDX. It’s no surprise this much-loved cafe from Melbourne, Australia decided to open their first US location in this coffee crazed city. Offering amazing brews and brunch, Proud Mary in Alberta has already garnered quite a following. While the laid-back vibe is Aussie, the ethos is uber-Portland, working directly with farmers to ensure everything is fresh, healthy, sustainable, and ethically and locally sourced. Fitt Tip: if you want to sound like a real Australian, try ordering a flat white and vegemite toast.
This North Williams cafe oozes Portland swag — from the decor to the eclectic menu to the cool kids behind the counter. Of course, they have all the usual caffeine filled favorites but they also mix it up with fun options like coffee-based mocktails and espresso flights. And this is definitely not your average cafe — when the sun goes down Either/Or turns into a swanky cocktail bar complete with a DJ spinning decks in the corner.
So, you’re a vegan and don’t want to deal with the barista’s side-eye when asking for a list of the cafe’s milk alternatives. We get it — we don’t want to deal with the judgement, either. Nectar Cafe, which is meat- and dairy-free, offers an unbelievable menu to help you out. Whether you’re a vegan or not, their Vegan Sausage Bagel Sandwich will be a new favorite. Their NE and SE locations offer a full menu of coffee drinks and juices as well, always flavorful and dairy-free. Really, it doesn’t get much better.