Ethiopia is the birthplace of all coffee. There, drinking coffee and meeting friends are synonymous. "Buna dabo naw," the saying goes: Coffee is our bread. The drink is not a luxury, it's true sustenance for the spirit. It goes deep.
In Portland, too, a cup of coffee goes deep.
Our city has become the home of American coffee culture. Since the early days of Stumptown in the '90s, the idea of a good cup of coffee means more here than in any other city in the U.S. In a 100-city survey last year, we had not only the most roasters per capita, we also had the most cafes. We think a lot about which coffee shop to go to—Portlanders Googled "coffee" more than anyone last year.
(With a slightly different rubric, Seattle edged us this year—but in the spirit of our times we declare fake news.)
Every year, we celebrate the nation's best coffee city, diving deep into Portland's wide-ranging coffee culture. We talked to the founder of the world's first drive-thru coffeehouse, here in Portland 27 years ago, and held an epic blind taste test of all the cold-brew bottles we could find in grocery stores (page 26).
Our coffee industry has become so dense we have a de facto "roaster's row" of eight roasters within mere blocks of each other, and our cafes are so popular you may need to seek out a little hidey-hole to enjoy your heavenly coffee in peace.
And yet, there's always more to discover: Our new crop of 10 favorite cafes in Portland includes a Latin-style coffee kiosk with amazing espresso-drenched ahogado and a vegan-anarchist coffee shop founded by the drummer from Fall Out Boy.
Hell, we think so much about coffee it's easy to forget we're also a hotbed of American tea culture, with Stash, Tazo and Steven Smith. Our new crop of tea spots includes a hilltop vigil in the Japanese garden, next-level boba and holiday Russian tea service.
With the coffee and tea so good here, we're dedicated to the entire experience of drinking—after all, if we're going to be there all day, we might as well make sure the sound is dialed. And so we brought an audio expert to Portland cafes to see whether all those vinyl records and vintage amps are being put to good use.
Really, the only thing we're missing is a way to bring Portland's great cultures of coffee and beer together. But we're getting that too: Portland will soon have a combination beer brewery and coffee roastery.
Every time you think we've pulled the deepest cups in Portland coffee culture, there's always something else to try. Here's where to start right now.
Deep Cups: Portland Coffee Issue 2017