Jumptown jitters

One of the first experiences I had when I moved to the city of Portland years ago was that of a cup of Stumptown coffee.

One of the first experiences I had when I moved to the city of Portland years ago was that of a cup of Stumptown coffee. But while Portland seems to boast of this brew from the deepest depths of the Willamette Valley, two other local coffee companies have also succeeded in serving some impressive black gold.

These unsung heroes of java provide the most excellent brews, the most remarkable zest and some of the best cups of joe in town.

World Cup Coffee

Inside Powell’s books

Northwest 18th and Glisan

“You know, the coffee shop inside Powell’s books,” is usually what I tell people before they go, “Oh yeah, that place.”

Maybe it’s because I usually experience their coffee while touring through Powell’s, but World Cup just goes well with a stroll. Which is good, because it will put a kick in your step. Many coffees that put forth a strong flavor can come across overwhelming and a bit muddy. World Cup, however, achieves a strong impactful taste that won’t cause you to squint your face—at least with the cups I pick up. This potent taste is done right—not in-your-face, but pleasant. French roast is definitely one to try, as well as the Sumatran.

World Cup began in 1993, and has since continued its dedication to organic and shade-grown coffee—and it pays off. They also boast a close rapport with their suppliers, even so much as visiting the sites in Central and South America where it is grown.

K&F Coffee

2706 SE 26th Ave.

I remember my first taste of K&F coffee. Having breakfast at a Portland diner, I pressed that cup up to my lips, tipped it back and immediately was overcome with the most unique sensation. It was as if I was reunited with something I had never known was missing from my life. Like an empty cavern within my soul had been filled with the coffee’s superlative essence and I was made whole. That cup was a spiritual awakening. I know it sounds horrifyingly cheesy and cliché, but I promise you it happened, and I promise you I was sober��_ish.

The range of coffees they offer is broad and diverse, from their own blends to seasonal varieties. Trying to go through them all is a challenge. But so far I have yet to find one that doesn’t succeed in taste or quality.  What always strikes me about many K&F coffees is how smooth they are, whereas most coffee companies, particularly that chain we are all thinking of, taste overly acidic and almost caustic. But K&F has a laid-back personality—it knows it tastes great, but it’s going to let that taste speak for itself.

I recommend the breakfast blend for starters. But keep an eye out for the Viennese blend too.

K&F has been offering its own blends of coffee since 1983. Its owner Don Dominguez is known for his amazing ability of “cupping,” a process in which one smells and tastes different coffee, understanding its distinct traits and ensuring quality.