The Best Coffee in Portland

Whether you’re searching for a caffeine boost to kick off a day in Portland or you’re on the hunt for a perfect place to perch for some people watching, the city’s cafe scene offers plenty of options. From drip coffee to espresso drinks at third wave coffee roasters to donut spots and bakeries that also serve up good java, your time in Portland is about to get turbocharged. Don’t forget to pick up some to-go beans from local coffee roasters. You’ll want to brew up some of Portland’s coffee scene long after your visit.

1300 Southeast Grand Avenue (a), Portland, OR 97214, USA
One of the many excellent coffee roasters in Portland, Coava occupies an industrial-chic space in the Central Eastside that’s more than a spot to duck in for an espresso. The airy 13,000-square-foot operation includes training facilities, an enormous coffee silo in which beans are stored, and, of course, a retail coffee bar from which visitors can watch much of the coffee-roasting process unfold. Though Coava’s beans are proudly served at some of Portland’s best coffee shops, many of the pour-overs at its “brew bar” are available in limited quantities and not served anywhere else.
923 SW Oak St, Portland, OR 97205, USA
Right around the corner from Powell’s Bookstore and Sizzle Pie, the vibe here is fantastic. The walls are kind of spartan, there’s a record player in the corner, and you can roam on free Internet to your heart’s content. These guys definitely know the food scene here and have great tips. My iced chai latte? Served in a mason jar. Yum and Yum. And those caneles, pictured? They were featured in Portland Monthly. I believe Courier is following the ice cube trend with one big block of ice in either a square or rectangle. I also love the everyday musings on their blog.
1155 SW Morrison St #102, Portland, OR 97205, USA
Doughnuts are to Portland what coffee is to David Lynch, both essential fuel and calling card. While there are many pretenders to the title of the city’s best doughnuts—Voodoo Doughnuts certainly sells the most Instagrammable food products—Blue Star, from ubiquitous local restaurateur Micah Camden, is the most consistent. Flavors range from powdered sugar to maple bacon to passion fruit cocoa nibs, sold fresh daily until no more remain. The downtown location gets crowded early on weekends, so plan ahead. In a pinch, grab them at Blue Star’s airport location—which makes asking a friend to pick you up at the airport a sweet request indeed.
2335 NW Thurman St, Portland, OR 97210, USA
Finding fine French bakery goods beyond the borders of France would seem unlikely in this NW corner of the United States. St. Honoré has transformed a little shop in NW Portland into a cultural escapade you’d normally have to get on a plane to experience. This bakery has been a mainstay for the French community in PDX for years and now has a fanatic following that has forged two other locations. The original is a cozy cafe with French influences that make it impossible to drive by when the fresh bread aromas drift out onto Thurman Street. The space is open and inviting with a staff that loves to share their expertise about the whole St Honoré process. This was one of the only places open early for live Tour de France coverage accompanied with fine coffee and pastries. Rolling up in the dark on my bike back in the days of Lance (c’est dommage) to find the place already packed was Franco-fantastic. The restaurant is designed to get patrons to be part of the scene. With the baking close and the big banquet vibe, you instantly feel part of the Honoré table. The menu goes beyond pastries and desserts. Lunch or dinner at Honoré is a trip to Paris or Provence for under $20. Try the panini or manager’s special to light things up. Hang around for sweets with a tart or gateau, and wash it down with a cafe au lait. Don’t forget something for the home front—a baguette at the very least. C’est somptueux!
603 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97205, USA
While in Portland I encourage you to make a point to try out a few of the local coffee shops. One shop of note was Public Domain. They roast what they brew, in town. It only took one sip and it to became crystal clear that crafters knew what they were doing. I had the pleasure of a perfectly roasted and prepared Ethiopia Yirgacheffe varietal whose blueberry and cherry notes left me unable to stop grinning until well after the last sip.
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