4243 SE Belmont St., 541-223-3580, nevercoffeelab.com. 6 am-7 pm daily.
Part branding project, part coffee shop, this cozy spot came into existence when an ad agency had to figure out what to do with the storefront of its new digs on Belmont. Assuming that "partnering with our clients to create brave ideas" would involve lots of coffee, management decided to create the sort of highly Instagrammable nook you'd expect to see in an episode of High Maintenance. This both fulfilled the firm's need for a blank canvas and offered unmitigated access to high-grade caffeine.
Zach Harrison, formerly of Albina Press, touched up a menu of lattes infused with housemade syrups—served in 12-ounce pours at $6 each—that act as the colorful centerpiece.
Try the Phuket, which features a sweet-hot Thai chili spice with cinnamon, or the Oregon, an in-house favorite featuring Jacobsen sea salt caramel rounded out with Oregon hops. PETE COTTELL.
408 NW Couch St., 971-506-5903, deadstockcoffee.com. 7:30 am-4 pm Monday-Friday, 11 am-6 pm Saturday.
When you enter Deadstock Coffee's storefront, you may not notice its mantra, "Squad Goals: To make the coffee snob and the sneaker nerd become friends over the love of all things premium." Old Town's Deadstock is, to our knowledge, the only cafe in the world dedicated entirely to sneaker culture—run by a former janitor-turned-Nike shoe designer named Ian Williams.
Lined with one-of-a-kind sneakers and vintage B-ball posters, Deadstock is a place where you can get your rare kicks professionally cleaned while enjoying a LeBronald Palmer—a singular take on the Arnold Palmer, the iced tea-and-lemonade refresher favored by the late legendary golfer. The LeBronald tastes something like a liquid Tootsie Roll, or maybe a craft Brisk iced tea.
On a given afternoon, you might find yourself drinking one alongside St. Johns rapper Mic Capes, four tourists from Vancouver, the Air Jordan-wearing crew that hangs out at nearby sneaker boutique IndexPDX, a senior Portland city employee, and venture capitalist Stephen Green. WALKER MACMURDO.
Lloyd Dutch Bros. Cafe
430 NE Lloyd Blvd., 541-955-4700, dutchbros.com. Open always and (God willing) forever.
Who among us is sufficiently stoked to enter the new walk-in location of the cult of Dutch Bros.?
You can hear the house music blasting from a block away, beckoning you to the Home Goods-style generic spray-paint art of DJs spinning records and holding up peace signs. You can enjoy both while lounging on a black pleather couch with someone who's most likely homeless. Or you can sit at a tall, steel table with a pristinely dressed young transplant in the party-lit room, which is about the size of a Wendy's.
This Bros. has the normal complement of Double Torture®, Kicker® and Annihilator®, along with Blue Rebel, the signature house Red Bull energy concoction that will give you an amphetaminelike head buzz.
Straw lore says that the color of drinking straw you get indicates what the employee thought of you. Pink means you're cute, blue means you're cool, orange means you're fun and green means you're ugly. Still, there's nowhere in the world I feel more welcome—unless you're ordering a regular coffee, which I made the mistake of doing once. The barista, who like all Bros. baristas channels Alpha Phi sorority sister, declared it "Boring!!!" She was right. Why get a coffee when I could get the six-shot 911®?! That's certainly what the employees are jacked up on—which is proved more than ever at the walk-in location, which has a plasma screen that plays a video loop of employees laughing, doing handstands and going to EDM shows, donating to charity and extreme mountain biking. SOPHIA JUNE.
Elevator Cafe & Commons
1033 SE Main St., 503-956-9072, elevatorpdx.com. 8 am-6 pm Monday-Friday, 8 am-1 pm Saturday.
Situated at the core of the former Boyd's coffee-roasting facility, Elevator functions as a cafeteria for the startups housed in the building (Caviar and Energy350, to name a couple) that also happens to be open to the public. The trio of communal tables offer laptop power, while Adirondack chairs offer a place to sip your cup of Coava or Roseline ($3) with a view of the crane forest that's sprouted up from the onetime Belmont "goat block."
A free-play arcade machine loaded with Chopper I is a great distraction from actual work, as are the breakfast options, like a housemade sweet potato biscuit ($3) or a breakfast sandwich with two poached eggs, herb aioli, white cheddar and bacon served inside the aforementioned biscuit ($8.50). Throw in three taps for beer and cider ($5) and you've got a coffice-in-an-office experience that makes you think the management might actually want you using their many resources to run your chicken-sexing app startup. PETE COTTELL.
3290 N Vancouver Ave., compasscoffeeroasting.com. 6 am-6 pm Monday-Friday, 7 am-7 pm Saturday-Sunday.
The barista is busy telling me the legend of Mike McGinnis. "Literally only one man has ever touched the roaster," says the barista, gesturing to a wall of Compass Coffee bags. There are 15 roasts here, from almost as many farms all over the world, whether in Malawi or Colombia or Kenya. "Every bean is touched only by him," the barista says. "He's kind of a badass."
Compass has been roasting for nine years just north of the Columbia River in Vancouver—and it has expanded to New Portland ground zero, North Williams Avenue, with Dutch-modern globe lights, a massive horseshoe coffee bar, Bee Local hot honey and Topo Chico mineral water available to go with your ham croissant, plus a series of vacuum brewers that look like the injection tubes to release the core of a nuclear bomb. When I ask the barista about the benefits of using the vacuum tubes, he offers five minutes of enthusiastic and sincere response, and a lot of excitement about all the other drinks and extracts Compass is going to push through those retro-futurist tubes.
Spend enough time at this new coffee shop, and you end up convinced that in 10 years, Compass will own Stumptown. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
2030 N Willis Blvd., princecoffeepdx.com. 7 am-4 pm daily.
When Kenton's Prince Coffee quietly opened this April in the front of a vintage upholstery shop, it immediately became the third-waviest coffee spot ever to touch down in deep North Portland.
White and wood-grained walls, an analog stereo system, a few viney houseplants, and the occasional set of mounted antlers washed in natural light from the big front windows make for a Scandinavian-minimalist aesthetic that also translates to the menu.
Prince is also one of the few local places to offer made-daily stroopwafels, a Dutch treat that sandwiches cinnamon-caramel sauce between two wafflelike cookie wafers. For protein, there's also a tray of hard-boiled eggs next to the register. You might want to get them to go, as the aromatic punch of a peeled ovum seems weirdly conspicuous in such a clean, well-lit place. ZACH MIDDLETON.
Moto Coffee Cart
6126 SE Milwaukie Ave. 8 am-5pm Tuesday-Saturday, 9 am-6 pm Sunday.
Precious few places offer quality dark-roast coffee in this city. So few, in fact, that the people behind Caffe Umbria recruited AJ Akram, a 15-year veteran of the local coffee industry, to serve its Italian-style long-baked beans at his cart in Sellwood. Well, it works. Moto makes a mean latte on its humble Nuova Simonelli espresso machine—just the right amount of fluff over a deep, roasty coffee that's heavy on cocoa notes. Pair it with Akram's own creation, the falafel waffle. It is—well, it's a waffle, but made of falafel. Two months ago, Akram and a buddy had the idea of making a chickpea batter that would cook in a Belgian waffle iron. It works surprisingly well—especially when topped with hummus, cucumbers, sliced cherry tomatoes and a sprinkle of sumac. As far as I'm concerned, this is pretty much the perfect brunch. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Old School Coffee
8101 SE Division St., 503-841-6906, oldschoolcoffeepdx.com. 7 am-8 pm Monday-Friday, 8 am-4 pm Saturday-Sunday.
The "old" in Old School Coffee's name is somewhat of a misnomer. It's a brand-spanking-new cafe attached to Portland Community College's library, and it's excellent when held to the standards most students have long ago taken for granted. A lengthy communal table adorned with succulents serves as the focal point of the bright and open space, while the barista counter runs almost the entire length of the shop. The usual college offerings of blended coffee drinks and Bowery bagels are also present, while a pretty decent tuna melt or turkey swiss sandwich (each $6.95) pair well with a fresh cup courtesy of Caffe Umbria. Now that Southeast 82nd Avenue and Division Street is a hot corner for coffee, Old School Coffee is worth a look before you hit the books. PETE COTTELL.
Water Avenue Coffee Downtown
811 SW 6th Ave., wateravenuecoffee.com. 7 am-3 pm Monday-Friday.
The gleamingly new downtown Water Avenue is the wood-cased iPhone 7 Slim of coffee shops. The blond-on-white store—so blank it feels less painted than erased—is so dialed into the twee-minimalist hive mind that its coffee counter seems to have spontaneously tiled itself into honeycombs. Water Avenue has always been so broadly experimental—think pinot-aged wine, mixology-ready cold-brew extracts—and so Portland-ubiquitous it sorta seems impossible that this tiny downtown cube is merely its second cafe.
If it weren't for the vaguely World War II-patriotic WAC logo facing the door, you'd hardly know that this sleekly Kinfolk-ian adjunct—open only since Nov. 2—belongs to the same people responsible for the Rube Goldbergian vent systems, Dadaist neon and mismatched wood grain at the original open-roastered cafe, toastery, roastery and coffee school in the Central Eastside. The chalkboard menu contains 10 options and 10 options only, from mocha to espresso to drip. But luckily, your only real decision here is whether you're adding any water to your espresso: Even the standard-issue El Toro remains both fruity and deep, like those chocolate-covered cherries you used to steal from your mom. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
Five Points Coffee Roasters (John's Landing)
614 SW Dakota St., 503-473-3530, fivepointscoffeeroasters.com. 6:30 am-5 pm Monday-Friday, 7:30 am-2:30 pm Saturday-Sunday.
Well, holy shit. This is very good coffee. Five Points has been flying deep under the radar despite roasting since 2010—hiding behind the Coffee Division moniker out in the heart of the heart of New Portland. Five Points has since rebranded its first cafe after its roastery—but hell, it might have always been the best coffee in the neighborhood. Five Points is sourcing directly with the producers of most coffee it roasts, and judging from the delicacy of those chocolate and vanilla notes in the Peruvian La Flor del Sapote, it's doing something very, very right. The second location in John's Landing is tiny and bare bones, but there's a certain charisma to the mismatched-wood-slat wall and the old images of local loggers, not to mention the case full of Bakeshop cookies and pastries. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
6633 NE Sandy Blvd., kainoscoffeepdx.com. 7 am-midnight Sunday-Thursday, 7 am-6 pm Friday-Saturday.
The coffee roaster at Northeast Sandy's brand-new Kainos looks like a bicycle strapped to a furnace. In part, that's because that's what it is. Kainos' roasting process, which it claims to be completely carbon-neutral, involves both wood flames and a specially built 8-kilogram steel drum turned "by a hipster on a fixed-speed bicycle." Meanwhile, at the cafe it's just opened inside a former dry cleaner, 21 percent of the profits from each purchase will be donated to an orphanage in the Philippines.
A Kainos coffee cart is parked out front and doubles as exterior signage. The Honduran, Guatemalan and Ethiopian house coffee blend is a little bit wood-smoky and a lot chocolaty; it tastes like what might happen if Italian coffee went camping, and comes in bespoke mugs by Portland ceramicist Mary Carroll, and is accompanied on the menu by artisanal pop tarts from local bakeshop VilleVelo. Consider the cafe a sort of factory for feel-good vibes. Sure, the briskly pastel-painted interior doesn't exactly feel cozy, but apparently the warmth is meant to come from within. JAY HORTON.