Where to Find the Best Specialty Coffee in Portland: A Complete Guide

Looking for a guide to the best coffee in Portland, Oregon? You’re in the right place! I, Matt, the resident coffee nerd in this corner of the internet, live in Portland and spend as much time as I can sipping espresso and chatting about coffee with everyone that will listen. And I’m here to help you find some great coffee experiences while you’re in Portland (and there are tons of them!).

\Portland has played a huge role in my (Matt here!) coffee journey from Keurig to home espresso. I live in Portland and consume WAY too much caffeine, and I’m here to be your guide to help you find a great cup of coffee in Portland, whether you’re looking to spend too much on a Panamanian gesha, or are looking for cool, inventive specialty lattes.

My coffee journey – at least the interesting part – began in Portland.

In college, I was introduced to the euphoria that accompanies that first sip of coffee in the morning. At that point, I was using a shoddy batch brewer that I probably found on the street or something. After college (and, more importantly, once I was employed), I graduated to a Keurig machine. 

Then I went to Portland for the first time. Specifically, to Coava Coffee, where I had an Ethiopian coffee – Kilenso – that I still remember to this day. It was bright, juicy, berry-y, and was so incredibly different from any other cup of coffee I had ever had in my life. 

From that moment onwards, I was all aboard the discovery train when it comes to coffee. Some (read: Alysha) would say I was all aboard the train to becoming a coffee snob.

Fast forward to present day, and I spend fifteen minutes crafting the perfect pour over every single morning (usually multiple times a morning, if we’re being honest).

I’ll happily travel far and wide to try different origins, brewing methods, coffee cocktails, and more. Alysha isn’t a coffee drinker – she’s never had a cup of it in her life – so this guide is all Matt’s perspective. 

Before we get into talking about where to find Portland’s best coffee, we should acknowledge that there’s a nearly unlimited amount of great coffee to be had in Portland.

Just about every coffee shop that has stayed in business here has cleared a pretty high bar for coffee already. At this point, you can essentially walk down any street in Portland and get a solid cup.

In this guide to the specialty coffee shops in Portland, I’m going to take you through the coffee shops that stand out to me for one reason or another – usually because of an experience that you won’t find elsewhere or a unique approach to coffee – and explain why I think they deserve a place on my list. 

By the end, I’m hoping you’ll have discovered at least one or two new spots to add to your list, and that you’ll visit those places and have a mind-blowing cup of coffee and a pleasant experience chatting with the barista.

Now, it’s very important to note that the list below reflects one person’s opinion, and that my experience at a coffee shop might differ from yours based on the time at which I visited, the barista on duty, or the specific drink you order.

For example, I visited one of the shops below on a Wednesday morning at opening and a Saturday morning at 10am, and it was a VASTLY different experience. 

I generally do my best to visit at times that are less busy so that I can have those personal interactions with the barista that make the difference between an okay experience and an amazing one. 

Consider this guide to be a starting point for where to find the best coffee in Montreal from the perspective of someone who really, really likes coffee, and loves to nerd out on specifics like the origin of the beans, the brew method, the ratio used for espresso (something I’ve been getting into at home over the course of the past year or so), and more. 

It’s worth noting that I have Celiac Disease and can’t eat even a crumb of gluten without being sick for days. For that reason, I’m not really considering other aspects of each of these spots, like who has the best avocado toast. 

It’s all about the coffee, both for me and in this guide. 

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post, like hotel and vacation rental links, are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you we make a little bit of money if you click through and book. That being said, we would absolutely never recommend something to you that we don’t stand behind 100%.

The Best Coffee in Portland: Where to Find Excellent Specialty Coffee

It’s worth repeating that my “best” coffee shop is going to look different from your “best” coffee shop, because that moniker is incredibly subjective (just like coffee). You might like your espresso dark and roasty, while I like mine bright and fruity. 

Or maybe you can’t do coffee without milk, while I’m all about the black filter coffee. 

However, I think there’s some value in giving you a list of the Portland coffee shops that stand out to me for one reason or another – either because they have a unique approach to coffee, they have some cool different ways to drink coffee, or I was just blown away by the coffee they served me. Or, they offer a coffee experience that you can’t replicate on your own. 

I’m not a coffee expert by any means – I’m a full on amateur home brewer who gets made fun of for being a little snobby when it comes to coffee (I like fruity, juicy coffee rather than the stuff that’s been roasted within an inch of its life, sue me) and has a morning ritual that involves about ten minutes of meticulously brewing a cup of coffee with a V60. 

So, as you read my long monologues on why such and such coffee shop stood out to me, just remember that this list is not the end-all, be-all, but is just one nerd’s opinion on where to find some fun and interesting coffee in Portland. 

And now, with all of that context and those caveats out of the way, onto the specific recommendations (which is what you’re here for, I know, but context is important)!

Like I mentioned above, there are a nearly unlimited number of places to get great coffee here in Portland. Because of that, I want to talk about the (completely subjective) way I’m organizing these. It’s unscientific. 

I’m including places that I think offer something a little different from the crowd – innovative specialty lattes, or a unique selection of single origin beans, for example – and I’m ordering them by starting with my favorite spots.

Though, it should be noted that the top 10 or so are all amazing, and it comes down to what kind of experience you’re looking for. We frequent all of them regularly, and you really can’t go wrong.

I generally won’t include a place on this list that I’ve only been to once, so I’ll be adding to it over time as I have the chance to dive deeper into Portland’s coffee scene. 

Sound good to you? Let’s get into it!

Proud Mary Coffee

When I want a special cup of coffee, I go to the Proud Mary cafe on Alberta. It’s the place I recommend to all the coffee lovers in my life who are coming to Portland.

In fact, as I’m writing this, I have just gotten back from Proud Mary where I had a cup of Yemeni coffee from their “Deluxe” tier that was very nice. 

Proud Mary is based in Melbourne, Australia, and before we get into what their Portland cafe is like, I want to briefly touch on how my trip to Melbourne way back when impacted my coffee journey. 

Australian cafe culture is world-famous. Chocolate-dusted cappuccino (which is the best kind of cappuccino, really), avocado toast (believe it or not, our trip to Australia is where we first discovered avocado toast… now we eat it so often that we can’t afford a house, thanks Australia!), and leafy patios are found all across Australia’s major cities. 

But Melbourne is on a whole different level. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Melbourne is the best coffee city in the world, and that is where Proud Mary hails from. 

After Australia, I quickly descended into the rabbit hole that is coffee, and went from making my morning cup with a Keurig (which, looking back, is a horrible decision because of all the waste they produce) to owning a temperature-controlled kettle and all the pour over contraptions. 

Their only location in the US is their coffee shop in Portland on Alberta Street. And it’s my favorite place to go in Portland for coffee that I’m not making myself (though I also regularly buy their coffee for my morning coffee ritual at home). 

I’m focused on the coffee here, so I’m not going to touch on their brunch / food menu. Their coffee menu is split into at least three parts. 

First, there are the espresso-based drinks – your cappuccinos, lattes, and macchiatos (PS order the Magic, which is a slightly different take on a cappuccino or macchiato that is basically only found in Melbourne). Don’t be surprised when your cappuccino comes dusted with chocolate, which is how they do it in Australia (and other parts of the world). 

They also have a selection of single origin coffees that can be prepared as espresso or Americano. 

Next there are the filter coffees. They have a rotating selection of batch-brew coffees – and they have multiple to choose from, which I appreciate – along with a selection of a few coffees that can be done as a pour over.

When I was there, they had a coffee from Papua New Guinea processed three different ways (anaerobic washed, anaerobic natural, and anaerobic honey), and you could get a flight to try all three, which is a fun way to experience the breadth of flavors coffee can bring. 

Last, but certainly not least, are the deluxe pour over options. These are going to run you $10-15 a cup, but they are coffees that you basically can’t get anywhere else. If you’re into coffee and want to try something unique and exclusive, it’s a fun experience.

I tried the Yemeni coffee, which was recommended by the barista, and enjoyed it. Is paying $15 for a cup of coffee an everyday thing? Definitely not. Is it worth doing once? Sure!

Website: https://proudmarycoffee.com

Insta: @proudmaryUSA

Address: 2012 NE Alberta Street, Portland (Alberta Arts)

Less and More Coffee

The old bus shelter turned coffee shop on SW 5th Ave

If you’re walking down SW 5th Avenue in Portland towards Pioneer Courthouse Square, you might notice a line forming outside of what appears to be an old school abandoned bus shelter on the west side of the street. 

I had walked by this location several times before curiosity got the best of me. Even Alysha, who knows how much I enjoy a new coffee shop experience, pointed it out to me multiple times before I ever got around to stopping in. 

And now, Less and More has catapulted to somewhere near the top of my list of favorite coffee shops in the city (as evidenced by its placement here at number two). 

At a very, very high level, there are two archetypes of coffee shops – those that lean into specialty coffee, with fancy pour over options and single origin espresso, and those that lean more into the specialty latte side of things. 

In my experience, it’s rare to find both of those things done really, really well in one place. 

I would argue that Less and More, started by Ryan Jie Jiang who came to Portland from L.A. in search of a place where he could actually afford to start his own shop, is top tier in both of those aspects. 

I have had the pleasure of chatting with Ryan over morning coffee a couple of times now, nerding out about coffee and sharing favorite coffee shops around the country. 

He asked me where to go in Seattle, and my immediate answer was Sound and Fog in West Seattle, which tops my list of the the best coffee shops in Seattle.

I asked him about L.A.’s coffee scene, and he pointed me to a few new places that I had never heard of, along with Dayglow and Kumquat/Loquat, two of my favorites. 

In a city (world, really) where it’s getting harder and harder to find single cup pour over brews (which totally makes sense given the time and skill/training it takes to do them well in a busy cafe setting), it’s refreshing to see a list of 4-5 single origin pour over coffee options. 

The second location, which is a storefront just off of Pioneer Courthouse Square, only opened up in the past year, is the place to go for their pour over options (they don’t serve them out of the original bus shelter location). 

Less and More opened a second location earlier this year, where they hero their more coffee-forward options, including pour over

They use an April Brewer – a flat bottom brewer that comes from Copenhagen and is my favorite of the many flat bottom options out there on the market today – and this is the first time I’ve seen one used in North America. The simplicity of the pour structure used with the April probably contributes to their ability to pull it off. 

Over three visits to the shop, I tried three different single origin coffees. I started with a funky anaerobic coffee from Yunnan in China, which is an origin that I rarely see in Portland, a gesha from Finca la Bastilla in Nicaragua, and an incredible Acevedo Pink Bourbon that was, as the barista put it, like fruit punch.

The specialty drinks are the other standout here. They include a few more standard drinks, like a tiramisu or Spanish latte, but the highlights are absolutely the more eclectic concoctions inspired by aspects of Ryan’s background and experience with Korean and Chinese cultures. 

The custard cream latte, while rich and basically dessert in a cup, is a fantastic blend of flavors and textures (even Alysha, a coffee hater, enjoyed it), and bringing in ingredients that you don’t often see in specialty lattes, like soybean powder or mugwort. 

For what it’s worth, this is one of the places I brought my older brother when he was in town.

He is, of course, the elder coffee geek, and I brought him here specifically for the pink bourbon that tastes like fruit punch, and the Enjoyme Latte, which combines soybean powder and their house made custard cream (which, as I said above, is a delight). 

Given the convenient location downtown, I would absolutely recommend a stop here if you’re into coffee and want to try something new and fresh. 

Insta: @lessandmorecoffee

Address: 1003 SW 5th Ave (bus shelter downtown), 811 SW 6th Ave (storefront near Pioneer Courthouse Square)

PDX Coffee Club

Did you know there’s a food hall in Portland down near the riverfront, right next to Luc Lac? Neither did I until I went searching for PDX Coffee Club, which is essentially a 4 foot wide coffee cart on the second floor of said food hall. 

It certainly doesn’t look like much… yet. But Joe, the owner and operator here, has big plans to expand into the beautiful space behind the blue-green tiled counter next to the cart where the pastries and bags of coffee currently live. 

You might have noticed that I like to categorize things into neat and tidy groups, and PDX Coffee Club, which is fast approaching its one year anniversary, is a unique approach that I don’t think I’ve ever encountered in my travels in the US or abroad.

I’m a sucker for a multi-roaster (I like to call them “coffee curators” as opposed to roasters), and the approach here is fairly unique as multi-roaster cafes go. Usually, they’re bringing in beans from around the world (you tend to see a lot of nordic roasters).

However, here, they’re keeping it more local.

Joe, who has tons and tons of experience in coffee running cafes for Blue Bottle and Proud Mary (among others), is passionate about introducing people to all of the amazing roasters right here in Portland.

All of the beans used to make coffee here are from Portland, and Joe has a borderline encyclopedic knowledge of Portland coffee roasters. 

He even introduced Matt, a huge coffee nerd who loves discovering new roasters, to a new roaster in town! It was Mae, if you’re curious. 

In the past few months, you might find Proud Mary, Heart, Elevator, and more. 

This is another place I bring all of my friends and family who are into coffee, and the main reason for that is Joe.

Joe is everything you could possibly want in a barista – friendly, incredibly knowledgeable (hard to find someone more nerdy about coffee than Matt – and I mean that in a good way), and an all-in-all good hang. 

On our first visit to the shop, we sat and chatted with Joe for nearly an hour, covering everything from the optimal mineral content for brewing coffee to what milks are the best for frothing to the ins and outs of managing a cafe, which is the side of coffee that I am decidedly less knowledgeable about, but very interested in learning about. 

So, in summary, the two reasons to come here are to try coffees from Portland’s best roasters prepared by a true expert, and to experience some of the most friendly, open service in Portland. 

One important thing to know about PDX Coffee Club – they only do espresso-based drinks and tea here due to space limitations. If you’re looking for filter coffee, you’ll have to head elsewhere (I’d suggest either Courier or Less and More, which are both nearby). 

Website: https://www.pdxcoffeeclub.com/

Insta: @pdx.coffee.club

Address: 827 SW 2nd Ave (Downtown)

Adapt Cafe

In basically every city I’ve ever been to, there’s always one coffee shop that stands out from the rest and instantly becomes a favorite of mine. 

In Portland, that place is undoubtedly Adapt Cafe, a new shop (they opened four months ago at the time of writing) on Milwaukie Avenue just south of Powell. 

Here’s why I fell in love. 

As you read through this guide, you’ll quickly start to see that Portland is an excellent coffee city. On just about every block in the core of the city, you’ll be able to find a really, really solid cup of coffee. It’s ridiculous. 

However, the downside is that a lot of the coffee shops here are essentially the same. To explain why I say that, let me take a second to cover how I think about different kinds of coffee shops. 

There are essentially three kinds of coffee shops in my mind. 

First, there are the roasters, who roast their own coffee and serve it in their cafes. 

Then there are the “monogamists” that work with one roaster, and use their coffee in their cafes (in Portland, you see this a lot, and they’re usually working with Coava or Heart). 

The last type, and one that I’ve struggled to find in Portland, is the curators. They bring in beans from different roasters (bonus points if it’s from roasters around the world!) and serve different coffees than you find at most of the normal coffee shops in any given city. 

As soon as I walked into Adapt and saw Manhattan Coffee Roasters from Rotterdam on the shelf, I knew I was in for a treat.

Nick, the owner/operator was behind the bar, and introduced me to their options. I went with a drip coffee (Colombian beans roasted by Manhattan), and sat in the corner as Nick talked shop with another coffee professional. 

Aside from Nick’s passion for trying new coffees and roasters and bringing them in for locals to try something new, there are a couple of other things I like about Adapt.

  1. Nick is the owner, operator, barista, finance guy, partnerships manager, and plenty of other titles that I’m probably missing. His passion for trying something a little different is the energy behind the shop, and in my ten minutes or so of chatting with him, I loved his approach and enthusiasm. 

  2. They work with different local artists and vendors, some of which they sell in the shop, some they host popups for. You’ll find beautiful ceramics (from Storied Objects), lovely flower arrangements (from Ruysch), and more. Nick also mentioned that he has plans to expand this part of the offering as time goes on. 

Anyway, if you want the chance to try a roaster you’ve never seen before, Adapt is the place to go in Portland. 

Insta: @adaptcafe

Address: 4280 SE Milwaukie Avenue (Southeast Portland)

Heart Coffee

Heart Coffee is another one of the OG’s of Portland’s coffee scene, and I distinctly remember visiting their location downtown (now closed, sadly) on every trip to Portland in the 2010’s. 

Today, they’re a fairly prolific wholesale roaster – I’ve seen their beans in coffee shops all over the country – with two cafes in Portland. Their flagship is on E Burnside, and they also have a cozy cafe down south on Woodstock. 

If I’m being completely honest, I sort of fell out of love with Heart for a while during my coffee journey. 

Here’s the thing about Heart – they roast somewhere in the light/medium range (which I realize is kind of nebulous) and they focus on very clean, washed coffees with fruit-forward profiles

You aren’t going to find coffees on their menu that lean into the newer processing methods that have since taken the specialty coffee scene by storm. 

Over the course of the past few years, I fell in love with those heavily processed coffees and then fell back out of love with them. At a certain point, some of those coffees all start to taste the same, regardless of origin or varietal. It’s fun, but I much prefer washed coffees these days. 

As you might imagine, that means I found my way back to Heart. And they’re my favorite coffee roaster in Portland at the moment. 

Usually, I’m hesitant to order drip coffee that has been sitting in a carafe for hours and hours, but at Heart they have it really dialed in and they turn it over fairly often. Pro tip: If you buy a bag of beans, you get a cup of drip coffee for free!

They generally have a couple of options in terms of beans for espresso, including a single origin option that is more fruity and wild. 

The other thing to know about Heart is that they’re very much focused on the coffee – you aren’t going to find a super robust menu of seasonal specialty drinks (though they do have some nice lattes – namely cardamom and hazelnut), along with staples like chai and matcha. 

Website: www.heartroasters.com


Address: 2111 E Burnside St (Central Eastside), 5181 SE Woodstock Blvd (Southeast)

Never Coffee Lab

The thing I love about Never Coffee Lab is their inventive signature lattes. Sure, their regular espresso-based drinks are great too, but if we’re talking about things that stand out, it’s 100% their signature drinks. 

Oh, and their design aesthetic. They have two shops – one on Belmont towards Tabor, and one in the heart of Downtown Portland, and both are immaculately designed. From the colorblocked coffee bags to the minimalist-but-colorful menu and mugs. It’s fantastic. 

They also roast their own beans, and have a bunch of blends in colorful bags, and single origin offerings in the white bags. 

I’ve been to both of their cafes multiple times each, and it’s the place I take people who like coffee, but not the super nerdy and intense single-origin-talk-about-anaerobic-science kind.

I’m not usually one to go for sweet, flavored lattes, but when in Rome, right? I asked the (very friendly) barista what they recommended between the Midnight Oil (fennel seed, star anise, black licorice) and the Hunny (jasmine, dark chocolate, wildflower honey) and landed on the Midnight Oil because it feels more unique. 

I can confirm that their lattes are, in fact, delicious. 

Here are the different flavors they have available at the time of writing:

  • Pop: Matcha, tart cherry, Market lime
  • Hunny: Flowering jasmine, dark chocolate, wildflower honey
  • Yuzu & Salt: Yuzu, sansho pepper, burned sugar, coconut cream
  • Midnight Oil: Sweet fennel seed, star anise, black licorice
  • Oregon: Cascade hops, dulce de leche, Jacobsen Sea salt

Alysha (a coffee hater) also tried the Pop (tart cherry, matcha, lime) and it was okay (most of the cherry flavor ended up at the bottom we realized after drinking 90% of the drink). 

Overall, highly recommend Never Coffee if you’re looking for something a little different, and skew more towards ordering flavored lattes. 

Website: https://nevercoffeelab.com/

Insta: @neverlab

Address: 4243 SE Belmont Street, Unit 200 (Tabor / Belmont), 537 SW 12th Avenue (Downtown)

Electrica Coffee and Tea

Located in the same airy, industrial-chic building as the Schoolhouse Electric showroom, Electrica Coffee and Tea is a new offering from the people behind La Perlita. It opened in December 2022, and quickly climbed the list of our favorite coffee shops. 

Why do we like it? Because it’s a place where both coffee lovers and tea lovers – which essentially describes Alysha and I – can both walk away satisfied.

In many cases, the tea offerings at a coffee shop are somewhere between lackluster and average. Which totally makes sense, because the baristas, owners, and everyone involved are usually focused on providing the best coffee they can. The reverse is true at dedicated tea shops, like Smith Tea in Portland. 

At Electrica, the two owners – Angel Medina and Seiji Nanbu – have brought their expertise in coffee and tea together to create a place where both coffee lovers and tea lovers can find a cup of joy. 

The menu is split between coffee offerings, which are similar to the menu at La Perlita, minus the True Mexican Mocha, and tea offerings. 

I got a “con leche” (essentially a late) with their excellent café de olla syrup (which I discovered at La Perlita), and Alysha got a cold brewed sencha (which is a green tea).

We chatted with one of the owners about that cold brew tea, and he explained that the cold brew process takes away some of the less pleasant “grassy” notes, and leaves you with a cup full of the more delicate flavors you’ll find in sencha.

I have to admit, as someone that doesn’t really enjoy green tea that much, I was into it. So was Alysha, who went back for seconds and tried the Hojicha latte too. 

All around, a great experience if you’re into both coffee and tea, and want to try a little of both. 

Insta: @electricapdx

Address: 2181 NW Nicolai St. (Northwest)

Prince Coffee

The thing I like about Prince is their evolution over the past few years from – and I mean this in the best way possible – “just another good cafe in Portland” to a destination for coffee lovers 

looking for some of the best coffee in the city using beans both from near and far. 

And I’d like to take a second to focus on the “far” part of that statement, because it’s something that I think is lacking in Portland (for a variety of reasons that are a little too complex to get into here). 

Look, I’m a big sucker for a “coffee curator” – a shop that doesn’t roast their own beans, but brings in beans from roasters on a rotating basis – which is why I like PDX Coffee Club so much! 

The reason I go out for coffee is to try something new – either a new, exciting coffee, or a fun take on a specialty latte, etc. 

The one thing that I think is missing in Portland’s coffee scene is a cafe that curates light roast beans from around the world, which is something that the other major cities on the west coast – Vancouver (Revolver and Oidé), Seattle (Sound and Fog), San Francisco (the Coffee Movement), and L.A. (multiple) all have covered. 

Prince is in a little bit of a middle ground here. They usually have either Heart or Proud Mary (or both) on offer, along with a rotating third roaster that skews international. 

For example, Prince has been the only place I’ve ever seen Kawa Coffee – one of my favorite roasters in Paris – in Portland. 

Aside from being a place to discover new coffees from around the world, Prince has three other things going for it that I like. 

First, their specialty lattes are always on point thanks to their homemade syrups (which is different than a lot of cafes that will use premade syrups). Their stroop latte is incredible, and I only ordered it because the barista was gushing about how much they loved it on one of my recent visits (I also really enjoy their Anijsmelk latte, which features star anise). 

Second, their spaces are beautiful! It is truly a pleasure to spend an hour working in their cafes. 

Third, they have an impressive array of coffee brewing, serving, and various other equipment to purchase. 

Prince has two locations in Portland these days. Their original location is in Northeast Portland up on NE Fremont St, and they have a newer cafe down in Northwest Portland (across the street from my dentist). 

Website: https://www.princecoffeepdx.com/

Insta: @princecoffeepdx

Address: 4523 NE Fremont Street (Beaumont), 915 NW 19th Ave Suite A (Northwest)

La Perlita

La Perlita was probably my favorite find during our entire time in Portland before we moved here permanently. We originally discovered them when they were in the Pearl District, and now they’ve migrated into Northeast Portland, which is far more convenient for our house. 

If it tells you anything about our love for this place, we basically bring all of our out-of-town friends here because the offerings are so unique. 

I love it for three reasons. 

One, they’re doing something different – the menu here looks very different from the menu at basically all of the other shops on this list. Instead of the standard cappuccino, cortado, latte lineup, they have a “cortadito” and “con leche.” 

Two, the café de olla, which is a delicious combination of sweetness and spices like cinnamon and cloves. In this case, it’s a syrup you can add to your drink. 

Last, but certainly not least, is the True Mexican Mocha, a mocha made with spices and hibiscus sprinkled on top. It’s magical. 

In January 2020, we went to Mexico City for the second time, and I did a coffee masterclass with a local coffee shop owner and barista where I learned more about Mexican coffee, including why I didn’t see more of it in specialty coffee in the US.

What I learned is that it’s complicated, but it’s mostly that in the mid-2010’s, the Mexican coffee industry suffered from a fungal disease called “coffee rust” that decimated coffee production, and the industry is just beginning to return to pre-rust levels. You can learn more about that story here

During that class, I got to taste a bunch of phenomenal Mexican coffees, including a natural process coffee from Oaxaca that I ended up buying multiple bags of to bring home and share with family and friends.

My older brother, the elder coffee snob, claims it is among the best coffees he has ever tried.

La Perlita is owned by Angel Medina (of República fame, among an impressive array of other ventures), a Mexican-American who also owns Reforma Roasters (the coffee they serve), and works to highlight a selection of primarily Mexican coffees that come from a variety of different regions and have a wide range of flavor profiles. 

He started roasting coffee in his apartment in 2017, selling it and donating the proceeds to benefit DACA recipients, then moved into operating coffee shops. 

In 2019, he took a break to dive deeper into coffee, taking some time to visit coffee farms across Mexico before returning to Portland in March of 2020, which as you might recall was not a great time to be operating a coffee shop. 

Still, he persisted, and a year later it is a hub not only for coffee lovers, but also for BIPOC-owned small food and drink businesses around Portland who host pop-ups in the same space.

If you’ve never tried coffee from Mexico before, this is the place to do it (aside from in Mexico, of course).

They roast each coffee to highlight its specific flavor profile and bring out what makes it special – I laughed at their description of their dark roasts: “though we retain complex notes of chocolate in our dark roasts instead of notes of ash and sadness like most.”

But you should get the “True Mexican Mocha.” You won’t regret it. A close second is a cortadito with café de olla. 

Website: www.reformaroasters.com

Insta: @laperlitapdx

Address: 5620 N Interstate Ave (Northwest)

Roseline Coffee

Roseline Coffee is another good coffee roaster in Portland, and they’ve significantly expanded their cafe footprint in Portland over the past several years, taking over spaces that used to be Barista locations in Downtown Portland and on NE Alberta, along with adding a flagship roastery in the Central Eastside (which is BEAUTIFUL). 

The location I know best is their Goat Blocks (in the Central Eastside), which I have been to many times to sample their coffee offerings. 

Generally speaking, I really like their coffee, and they’re another one of my favorite roasters in Portland. 

Most of their single origin offerings – which rotate seasonally – are roasted in the light/medium range, and they really do a good job of letting the coffee do the talking (as opposed to the processing or roasting). Which I, for one, really appreciate. 

They also have a couple of blends that are on the medium/dark end of the spectrum, if that’s more your style. 

On my last trip to one of their cafes – their roastery, a few days after opening – I had a truly wild Colombian coffee as espresso that was equal parts fruity (legitimately reminiscent of a jolly rancher) and juicy while somehow retaining that syrupy body. 

It was a mindblowing shot of espresso (and probably the best shot I’ve ever had in Portland?). 

The other thing that Roseline does really well is their seasonal specialty drinks, which rotate with the season and are always on point. At the moment, they have a really nice Honey Cacao Latte and an Almond Biscotti Latte. 

I also like their name (and the meaning behind it, according to them). “The Roseline defines our standard. It’s what separates good coffee from great coffee.” 

Haven Coffee Co. 

I was turned onto Haven Coffee Co. for two reasons. First, I saw Seiji (from Electrica) post about them, and in that post he mentioned that they had Prodigal Coffee (a great roaster in Boulder, CO) on espresso. 

At the time (winter of 2024), I had really been enjoying Prodigal’s beans at home, so literally the next morning I got myself over to their location in Northwest Portland (their original cafe is in Cedar Mill, a suburb of Portland to the west). 

They have a few different coffee options at any given time. First, they have a Portland roaster (in this case, Proud Mary), then they have a guest roaster that changes every month or two (which is how Prodigal ended up here). 

They also have a good selection of specialty drinks – coffee and non-coffee – if you prefer your caffeine with flavor and/or milk. 

After a couple more visits, I’m sold. Everything I have ordered – from a shot of espresso with Prodigal to their Cardamom Sea Salt Latte – has been fantastic, and I’m excited to keep an eye on their Instagram to see what roaster comes next. 

Portland Cà Phê

Cà Phê is another great example of a different take on what coffee means, which is an exciting trend that I’ve been seeing all over the world over the past few years.

Considering my favorite thing about coffee is exploration and trying new things – whether it’s beans, processing, or specialty lattes – I, for one, welcome this trend in specialty coffee with open arms. 

As you might have guessed by the name, Cà Phê is exclusively focused on Vietnamese coffee. 

In this context, that means two things. 

They do serve what is colloquially known as Vietnamese coffee – Cà Phê Sữa Đá – the tantalizing combination of drip coffee (made with a phin filter) and condensed milk. 

But what I think is more unique is the fact that all the coffee they serve is grown in Vietnam, and they have a couple of different bean offerings (including a robusta, which is a variety of coffee that you don’t see all that often in specialty coffee here in the US). 

Vietnam is a HUGE producer of coffee, and they’re the second biggest producing country by volume. But you’d never, ever know that if you were going by the countries that you see on most specialty coffee bags around the world. 

If they happen to have the robusta on drip or espresso, it’s worth trying because it’s a unique opportunity to try a coffee varietal that thrives in Vietnam, and is likely going to be a bigger and bigger part of the specialty coffee industry as the climate continues to change and make producing coffee more difficult.

But that’s a conversation for a different day. 

The point is that their focus on Vietnamese coffee is very unique, and is absolutely worth trying. 

If they happen to have the robusta on drip or espresso, it’s worth ordering to try something that you don’t really see everyday, and when you do see it, it’s usually not roasted with the care and quality that you’ll find here. 

It’s worth watching this video on their website about their origins and mission. 

However, the standout here (I think) is the inventive specialty menu and their rotating seasonal menu. The specialty menu, which is always available, includes things like the aforementioned Cà Phê Sữa and an Ube Latte. 

The seasonal menu is where the magic happens. Each quarter, they release a new menu of seasonal specials that are always a highlight of our visits. You can usually find them on Instagram (they post a beautiful watercolor rendering of them on the feed). 

All of the focus on coffee from Vietnam is tied together by the massive map of Vietnam that greets you as you walk in the door of their cafes. Currently, they have a location in Southeast (on SE Holgate) and in Northeast on MLK Blvd.

Guilder Cafe (and Junior’s Coffee Roasting)

Guilder is a spot that I have had recommended to me by multiple people, but for the longest time I erroneously thought it was a motorcycle themed coffee shop, and decided that wasn’t my vibe. Little did I know how wrong I was. 

It’s not motorcycle themed (and I’m still not sure where I got that idea from). It’s Princess Bride themed! 

Now, at the time of writing this blurb, I’ve been to both Guilder locations in the past week, and I’m very, very sad that I’ve missed out until now. 

Guilder has two coffee shops – “east” (their flagship on NE Fremont and 24th) and “west” (inside Powell’s Books) – and both are lovely spots to grab coffee. 

The reason that Junior’s is included in this blurb is that the two companies are inextricably linked. In fact, when I walked into their flagship for the first time, Mike – the co-owner – was cupping coffees next to the coffee roaster a few feet to my right. 

I find Mike’s story compelling, and it’s worth taking a few sentences to explain why. 

Mike has 20 years of experience in coffee, and I found it particularly interesting that he did research on climate change’s impact on coffee (specifically around coffee leaf rust), which is a topic I’ve been personally thinking a lot about over the past few years as I’ve had the opportunity to have conversations with more people in the coffee industry with more knowledge than me on the subject. 

Spoiler alert: it’s not great! 

Anyway, back to Guilder. The reason I think Guilder deserves to be on this list is their specialty latte – the Miracle Pill (an overt reference to the Princess Bride). It’s a latte made with a spicy syrup featuring cinnamon, clove, and everything nice (and a panela cold brew syrup). 

I happened to be with my mom, who likes her coffee drinks on the sweeter end of the spectrum (while I’m very much on the other end of the spectrum), and we both really liked this drink. It has enough sweetness to really make the spices pop, but it’s not so sweet that it’s basically a dessert in a cup. 

Alysha also got the Patinkin Punch – a bright and zippy mashup of jasmine green tea, strawberry, and citrus – and that might be the best iced green tea drink I’ve had this year. And, yes, Patinkin is another Princess Bride reference, referring to the actor who played Inigo Montoya in the now-famous film. 

Junior’s Coffee also has a newer location on NE Prescott that I have yet to visit, but it’s on my list.

Courier Coffee Roasters

Courier Coffee Roasters is one of my favorite coffee shops in Downtown Portland, right near Powell’s Books. The reason? They unapologetically chart their own path. 

While there is certainly no shortage of great coffee shops in Downtown Portland, Courier is a community staple that has been operating in Portland for more than a decade. The name comes from the fact that they used to hand-deliver coffee to Portlanders via bicycle. 

It’s not as high-tech and hip as many of the other spots in the city, but the coffee itself is right up there with the best of them. And it’s a unique approach to focus on the coffee and the experience.

There’s a record player running (now that they allow indoor seating), the staff are friendly and chatty, and it’s just generally a very warm, inviting, inclusive atmosphere.

They roast their own beans, and have a rotating filter coffee available each day, along with the usual range of espresso drinks and cold brew. 

One thing I love is that the owner and small team have done a lot of the work on the shop themselves. 

My first experience here was during winter of 2021, when it was a weird time to be in Downtown Portland because it was eerily quiet, and I got to meet the owner and chat about what he was doing as he was in the process of putting plastic up to create a to-go window.

Since then, I’ve been back several times and it seems like there’s always something new being built or installed. Which I think is cool. 

The owner is also an avid baker, so they also have great pastries (caneles!) and host popups with various local vendors. Currently, Soen – a Japanese food and art brand – is operating out of the same space (Saturday to Monday, 11:00 am to 3:00 pm). Go right at 11:00 am if you want to try their kakigōri! 

Insta: @couriercoffeeroasters

Address: 923 SW Oak Street (Downtown)

Push X Pull Coffee

If you’re looking for a coffee roaster in Portland that is pushing the envelope a little bit with the coffee they’re bringing to the table, this is probably your best bet. They focus on coffees that are processed in unique ways – think anaerobic, natural 72 hour fermentation, and other things of that nature.

For a coffee nerd, this is a great stop in Portland to try some new and interesting styles of coffee. 

When you walk into the shop in the industrial Central Eastside, you’re immediately going to notice that they’ve really leaned into the industrial-chic vibe of the surrounding neighborhood (although the “chic” part is an addition when compared to the surroundings).

Exposed pipes on the ceiling, a deconstructed espresso machine with lots of stainless steel, concrete walls.

It’s basically the dictionary definition of “industrial chic.” 

Off to the right, you’ll see the roaster they use to create their coffees, and if you’re lucky, the owner might actually be there roasting!

The staff are super friendly and warm – I was standing in front of the wall of coffee trying to figure out exactly which beans I wanted to take home, and a man came over to help answer any questions I might have had. 

I later found out that it was the owner, Christopher, and I appreciated his willingness to engage with people about the coffee!

Oh, and in case it wasn’t clear already, I think that the coffee is great. I go here fairly often.

The milk in the cappuccino I had on my last visit was about as perfect as I’ve had recently, and they always have a rotating selection of both seasonal drinks (love their espresso tonic in the summer!) and coffees available as pour over. 

Website: https://pushxpullcoffee.com/

Insta: @pushxpullcoffee

Address: 821 SE Stark St (Central Eastside)

Coava Coffee Roasters

Like Australia, Coava Coffee also played a pivotal role in my coffee journey. It was around the same time as that Australia trip that I first made it to Portland as an adult.

At the time, the coffee scene in Portland was great, though not nearly as good as it is today, and Coava was the cream of the crop. 

I had a natural process Ethiopian coffee at Coava (the coffee is called “Kilenso”) that was an absolute fruit bomb, and completely changed the way I thought about coffee. Until that point, I was in the “the darker the better” camp.

After that, I was all aboard the “the lighter the roast, the better” express!

Coava has a few locations in Portland, but my favorite is the flagship. It opened in 2010 in the Central Eastside, and the interior of the shop reflects the industrial exteriors in the neighborhood.

Think high-ceilings and concrete, with rustic wood accents throughout. They also share the space with a woodworking company, I think?

The menu here is simple – there’s a very limited selection of specialty drinks, led by their local honey latte – but what it lacks in creativity it makes up for with perfectly brewed espresso and filter coffee in its purest form. 

When you walk up to the counter to order, you’ll notice that you have a few different coffee options to choose from – usually two espresso options, and two filter options.

All filter coffees at the flagship location are prepared to order using what is basically a Chemex with a metal filter (to cut down on paper waste).  

Website: https://coavacoffee.com

Insta: @coavacoffee

Address: 1300 SE Grand Avenue A (Southeast / Central Eastside)

Upper Left Roasters

Upper Left can be found at the northwest corner of the Ladd’s Addition neighborhood, which is one of our favorite places to wander on Portland’s Eastside. As I was standing there, I realized you can watch them roast coffee as you wait – the roaster is on the left side of the shop. 

The space is minimalist – with plain white walls and huge windows that bring in tons of natural light.

One of the things I appreciate here is that have plenty of options for all sorts of preferences, from single origin pour overs, to lattes, and a selection of teas for the non-coffee drinkers. 

Their pour over and drip coffee options rotate throughout the year, and they always have a couple of espresso options on the bar if you’re looking for something a little more wild than their espresso blend. 

They also have some cool signature drinks – like the sparkling iced matcha, which is something I’ve never seen before. The iced matcha is made with strawberry syrup, Topo Chico, and mint, and I’m about five minutes away from going back and trying it just to see what it tastes like.

Website: upperleftroasters.com


Address: 1204 SE Clay Street (Ladd’s Addition, Southeast)

Our Favorite Portland Coffee Shops, Mapped

To help you visualize where all of these shops are located, we’ve put together this handy map with all of our favorites!

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