Hunting Down The Best Coffee Shop In Portland: A Top 10

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Written By John @ The Portlandist

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Some people will tell you that they won’t function properly without their morning cup of coffee, others will tell you that is a self-induced myth. If you’re feeling brave, try to withhold that pot of coffee from your caffeine-fiend friend and see what happens. Odds are, you will not want to repeat this experiment. But why is this the common story? Why isn’t this true about orange juice or other morning beverages? The culture of coffee is far more important that the beverage itself.

The drink serves as a social touch-stone where we can take a break and converse with one another. Sipping coffee among co-workers or even among strangers in a cafe is one of those rituals that becomes more than the sum of its parts. So much so that even when we are alone, with no audience to witness us, we will consume that coffee to begin our day.

We here in Portland are well-aware of our famous neighbor to the north and the juggernaut that is Starbucks, or even the East Coast driven Dunkin’ Donuts. We’re not going to tell you that you can’t get a good cup of coffee at either of these chains, but what Bucky’s and Dunkie’s doesn’t have is that little touch of unique style that you can only find in the best coffee shops in Portland.

As of any particular time in reporting, you’ll find more than thirty active coffee roasters here in Portland, all of which are creating coffee by the gallons, enough to let each of us get our fix whether you take your black, latte, or even espresso and other specialties.

An up and comer in the world of coffee culture, Portland boasts some of the most unique and intimate coffee shops in the nation. Here you can find quiet clean shops, loud boisterous communal coffee bars, and a few unique spots that will all meet your approval.

The Best Coffee Shop in Portland Oregon

Below are our picks for the top 10 best Coffee Shop in Portland Oregon. To snap directly to a specific location, please click the corresponding link in the list below.

  1. Albina Press
  2. Guilder
  3. Snow Bunny Coffee
  4. Barista
  5. Stumptown Coffee
  6. Behind the Museum Cafe
  7. Rimsky-Korsakoffee House
  8. Oui Presse
  9. Coava Coffee Roasters
  10. Heart Coffee

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10. Albina Press

portland coffee shop albina press

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Coffee shops may come and go faster than they can pop p and brew a cup, but Albina Press has been a part of the Portland coffee scene since the start and offers the finest in what they are calling “coffee artistry”. At the corner of Blandena Street and Albina Avenue, this quirky corner market is not only one of the originals, but also one of the best coffee shops in Portland as well.

The baristas at Albina Press take their coffee serious and they know how to serve up the finest coffee possible. From the beans to the brew to the artistic touches along the way, once you warm your hands on the mug they hand you, the experience is so much more than a simple “black with two sugars” or anything so pedestrian. Your coffee was prepared for you, and you alone. Nearly an intimate experience, more than coffee, Albina Press staff are serving up coffee culture in a cup.

This is one of the common spawning points from which Portland baristas begin, they perfect their coffee craft here before venturing on to spread the love of coffee throughout the city. Start where you are guaranteed to receive a perfect order, start at Albina Press where it all began.

Email | Instagram | Web | (503)-282-5214
4637 N Albina Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97217


9. Guilder

coffee roasters Guilder jpg

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The bane and boon of selecting ten of any list, particularly something so rich in targets such as hunting down the best coffee shops in Portland is that you have so many great shops to choose from that it becomes difficult to pick just ten. In this case, the name caught our eye and the menu secured its place in our list.

Once the taste of the coffee was perfected and the atmosphere was determined to make the grade, a great theme is a fantastic way to stand out from the crowd. Guilder is of course the sworn enemy of Florin and the entire coffee shop is themed after the beloved story, “The Princess Bride”.

Their west location is located inside Powell’s Books, making the connection even more appropriate. We could go on and on about the menu’s theming names but the coffee at Guilder really speaks for itself and stands on its own without the clever names.

 The Portland lifestyle is alive and well in Guilder, there is no surcharge for milk alternatives and there is a bevy of vegan options on the food menu too. Guilder’s dedication to smaller independent farms and businesses is at the core of their business model. Come in because of the fun theme, stick around because Guilder is one of the best coffee shops in Portland.

Email | Instagram | Web | (503)-841-6042
2393 NE Fremont Street Suite B, Portland, Oregon 97212


8.Snow Bunny Coffee

portland coffee shop snow bunny coffee

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Right along the north end of the Pearl District you’ll find one of the best coffee shops in Portland, marked with simple lettering as “Coffee & Tea”, the Snow Bunny Coffee shop is simple and elegant, the perfect place to grab your favorite drink while out and about town. Some patrons hang around a while as the proximity to the beauty of Portland against the aging industrial buildings in the distance makes for a great photo opportunity, and the large acreage dog park across the street means there is nearly always four legged traffic looking for some refreshment.

The menu is full of treats from the standard drip to the trendy matcha, or the standby favorite of the latte or espresso. If you really want a treat, try the bingsu, a Korean milk shaved ice sorbet which can be served with fruity toppings for a sweet taste or a savory red bean traditional which soothes so much more than your taste buds.

You can grab a bite to eat with a quick sandwich, but the apple waffle is made in-house and has the finest apple jam spread. Even if you aren’t ordering food, the scent of fresh waffles being made is a treat in and of itself.

Email | Instagram | Web | (503)-270-1711
1415 NW 11th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97209


7. Barista

portland coffee shop barista

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Multiple locations are available for Barista coffee house. The Nob Hill location is situated in a busy shopping district, the Barista in downtown Portland was designed to fit in with the decor of the historic Hamilton Building. The Alberta spot has a large deep walnut bar for a more lively atmosphere.

Each of these additional kept the friendly and fun Barista culture in mind when they expanded from their first simple storefront in the Pearl district.Serving coffee that is worthy of international note, this humble roastery began with a love for specialty coffees and swiftly grew into one of the best coffee houses in Portland and all of the Pacific Northwest.

The menu is simple and consists of a plethora of fine coffee choices from simple and plain black “coffee” to “shrub” a cold-brew vinegar soda concoction, to the dessert-like “Oatmeal Cookie Latte” or “Honey Marzipan Latte”. Tea from herbal, green, black and beyond are available but you must try the “Vairhona Mocha”, an espresso and bittersweet chocolate blend that will have you shunning all other forms of mocha after you tickle your taste buds with this drink.

Barista was opened to share the love of coffee and the success of which all their locations are enjoying, the people of Portland agree.

Email | Instagram | Web | (503)-807-0338
529 SW 3rd Avenue Unit 110 Portland, Oregon 97204


6.Stumptown Coffee

portland coffee shop stumptown coffee

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The good news about being one of the best coffee shops in Portland is that good news spreads and soon you become one of the best coffee shops in multiple areas. You can get delicious Stumptown Coffee in several Portland locations including a grand presence in the Ace Hotel, on a trip down to Los Angeles, or as far away as Brooklyn, New York. Great coffee knows no boundaries.

The winter holidays brings in the Eggnog Latte and Peppermint Mocha, the summer months have more expressive teas and lighter drinks, but the traditional brown bean magic is always in season at Stumptown Coffee. If you want that strong punch, grab a mug of “Hair Bender” and if you want a more blended and refined coffee, they have a multitude of options to choose from.

Small pastries and sandwiches are available at most locations with a partnership with Sparrow Bakery making Stumptown a great stop for a coffee and a bite, a a to-go order if you’re ion the run. You can get their beans whole so you can brew their signature flavors at home, just be careful with that Hair Bender, it is every bit as strong as they say it is.

Email | Instagram | Web | (503)-295-6144
128 SW 3rd Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97204


5.Behind the Museum Cafe

portland coffee shop behind the museum cafe

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The premier indicator of a city’s culture is how prevalent their museums are. Here in Portland, we not only have the fantastic Portland Art Museum in Downtown, but the exemplary and art-worthy coffee shop Behind the Museum Cafe. Don’t get us wrong, you can get a great cup of coffee at the Museums Grounds Cafe, but cross the street for an enlightening experience served up with your beverage.

The theme is a balanced comfort between modern and traditional Japanese, and all about hospitality. The cafe serves Portland roasted Extracto coffee beans in any of the ways you’d like your coffee. Americano, Au Lait, Mocha, or even a good old fashioned drip. And while the coffee is great, you came here to simmer in the beauty of a cafe that has embraced the idea that coffee goes beyond a drink and should be experienced.

Japanese tart desserts, exotic teas, Miso soup and Onigiri are always available as well as a regular bagel or baguette sandwiches. Kirin beer or a strong sip of sake are there for the afternoons, and the Matcha or Hojicha brownies will have you talking all night long. As more of a destination than casual cafe, Behind the Museum Cafe is one of the best coffee shops in Portland.

Email | Instagram | Web | (503)-477-6625
1229 SW 10th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97205


4. Rimsky-Korsakoffee House

portland coffee shop rimsky-korsakoffee house

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When you think of a coffee shop, you most likely think of an early morning spot. Grab a cup of coffee and possibly a pastry before heading in to the office, but you also have to consider the old-world idea that coffee is an after-dinner drink where you relax and enjoy conversations with guests, a way of thinking that is slowly disappearing in our fast-paced world.

Enter; Rimsky-Korsakoffee House, one of the most unusual and by far one of the most “Portland Life” coffee shops out there but well deserving of being on a “best of” list. Beyond the theme, they serve great coffee and desserts. Reportedly haunted, open only in the evening, and catering to the funky underground feel that is Portland, Rimsky-Korsakoffee in the Buckman area doesn’t advertise or even have a sign out front, people just know where it is and flock to their favorite coffee house where tables rotate and levitate, but only after they’ve enjoyed the best coffee in Portland.

For dessert, try the Rasputin’s Vice, but before you do, make sure you get a taste of the Cafe Borgia, a Mocha with strong traces of orange. What ever you order, you’ll never forget the experience of coffee at this place.

Email | Instagram | Web | (503)-232-2640
707 SE 12th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97214


3. Oui Presse

portland coffee shop oui presse

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Oui Presse is the coffee house that proves you don’t have to be a large and imposing presence to attract a following. This smaller and seemingly simple coffee shop is one of those that you might pass by without noticing, but that would be a grand mistake as Oui Presse is certainly one of the best coffee shops in Portland.

This is the place to go when you want that excellent cup of coffee and a deliciously clean and tidy place to enjoy it. Choose from a wide assortment of magazine titles and newspapers to peruse or bring along your laptop or pick up a new notebook in the shops’ store to get some writing done. Investigate those fuzzy “bunnies” in the small rabbit hutch to find out that they also hand make adorable bunny slippers for sale!

Small breakfast or lunch plates are a delight and the beverages are made with no small amount of love and care, you can taste how much Oui Presse loves their coffee in every drop. If you love their baked goods as much as we think you will, you can order an entire cake for your next event, or even hire them out as baking caterers. What could be better than a coffee and cake event catered by one of the best coffee shops in Portland!

Email | Instagram | Web | (503)-384-2160
1740 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, Oregon 97214


2. Coava Coffee Roasters

portland coffee shop coava coffee roasters

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What is the dream? It’s to become so enamored with your passion that once you perfect it, you strike out on your own to begin your own journey to bring your individuality to the masses. And that is just what they did with Coava Coffee Roasters.

Once the owner of Coava reached the pinnacle of their career in specialty coffee, the idea of their own coffee house sprang forth and through study, dedication, and plenty of hard work, you and I can enjoy the best coffee in Portland knowing and trusting the diligence that is put into sourcing the green coffee beans far surpasses most roasters and goes the extra mile (or two!) to ensure the farms they support are sustainable, ethical, and that the beans are single-source.

Why go that extra step for a simple cup of coffee? Because Coava knows you can get “a simple cup” anywhere in Portland, but is also keenly aware that the responsibility to source our favorite caffeine drink properly falls upon all of us. The shop where you enjoy the drink is clean and warm, but only because the work began in the fields where honesty and integrity are the most important tools to growing the best coffee.

Email | Instagram | Web | (503)-894-8134
1015 SE Main Street, Portland, Oregon 97214


1. Heart Coffee

coffee roasters Heart Coffee jpg

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Burnside Portland needs more places like Heart Coffee, not because the neighborhood is lacking in coffee shops, but because Heart Coffee is a warm and inviting part of the block, a friendly place to stop in and enjoy some coffee, small treats, and plenty of conversations with your neighbors. The dark building and the small black awning hides one of the favorite haunts of the locals, one of the best coffee shops in Portland and one of the best places to meet and greet your friends.

Open air floor design with a dramatic focus on the bean roaster mixing and blending the scent of fine coffee beans wafting through the air, you can sip your mug while the pleasant smells are free. There is a daily special board that documents the particular drip currently on tap as well as any seasonal favorites ready to go.

The small wall menu is easily misinterpreted as being simple since Heart Coffee offers the best coffee in Portland, they don’t need to entice you with much more beyond that. Three locations dot the Portland area, Westside and Woodstock are every bit as delicious as the Burnside location but offer to-go orders only at the moment.

Email | Instagram | Web | (503)-235-8276
2211 E Burnside Portland, Oregon 97205


Our Final Thoughts: The Best Coffee Shop in Portland Oregon

Coffee is more than a drink. It is the beacon that forces us to rise from our bed in the morning, the social lubricant that gets deals made at work breaks, allows friends to share stories, or end the evening with a conversation. Coffee is more than hot water poured over ground beans, it is more than a simple caffeine jolt, coffee began as a drink to share among company and has expanded to become our go-to drink to begin, sustain, and end the day.

Portland has some of the best coffee shops you’ll find anywhere, with more of that “Portland” grit as part of the appeal. Any plain and sanitized national chain can serve you a perfectly good cup of coffee, but it takes the local Portland flavor that seeps into our local coffee shops before you truly get a great cup of coffee.

Take in the unique coffee shops here in Portland and you’ll find those national chains lacking in what only Portland can offer. When you need a quick cup of coffee, any truck stop will do, but when you want to enjoy every sip and relax in the intimate surroundings where finer coffee is served, you have to come to some of the best coffee shops in Portland.

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