Portland’s best coffee

It shouldn’t be hard to get a great cup of coffee in a caffeine-loving town like Portland. Yet surprisingly, it is.

It shouldn’t be hard to get a great cup of coffee in a caffeine-loving town like Portland. Yet surprisingly, it is.

Some baristas pull their shots of espresso too long, and the results can be bitter or watery. Others don’t clean their machines thoroughly or frequently, and rancid oils spoil the quality of good beans. Some don’t adjust the coarseness of the coffee grounds, wasting an opportunity for a perfect pull.

There are a few Portland coffeehouses where perfect shots of espresso are the ultimate goal. Rich, creamy, sweet and full, perfectly pulled shots are just the beginning.

If you are looking for a great sip every time, go to one of these locations where making stellar cups is a matter of pride.


Even though this roasting company has grown like an amoeba over the last 10 years, its coffeehouses still serve up some of the most reliable lattés and cappuccinos in town. Stumptown’s employees take the art of espresso very seriously, though at times they take themselves a little too seriously as well. The hip, spare coffeehouses downtown and in Southeast Portland offer wide-open spaces and capable, though distant, baristas. Try the house coffee—at Stumptown it is all made with a French press, and the resulting brew is strong, rich and easier on your tummy.

4525 S.E. Division St.

3356 S.E. Belmont St.

128 S.W. Third Ave.

1026 S.W. Stark St.

Half and Half
923 S.W. Oak St.

539 N.W. 13th Ave.

Acorn and Half and Half are run by the same owner and spotlight coffee from local micro-roaster Courier Coffee, which is delivered every three days by bike. The small eating area is always strewn with newspapers and local zines, hosting many customers who are in the know. While food consistency has gone downhill with a recent management shift, the espresso here is still fantastic—made with care and precision, no matter how busy it is.

Ristretto Roasters
3520 N.E. 42nd St.

This Beaumont spot is just a bit different, roasting its own beans to a lighter shade. Ristretto means restrained, and in this case it refers to the beans, rather than how much water is forced through espresso grounds. House coffee is $1.25 with a single refill, and the baristas are friendly.

Java Vivace
2287 N.W. Pettygrove St.

Also serving Stumptown Coffee, Java Vivace is well known for its velvety foam atop lattés and cappuccinos. The space is a perfect break from shopping or errands on Northwest 23rd Avenue, cluttered with cozy antique furniture.

The Albina Press
4637 N. Albina Ave.

With one-dollar cups, French-pressed brew (including one refill) and award-winning baristas, these guys know how to treat Stumptown’s worthy beans. An early November opening is expected for its new location on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard and 50th Avenue.