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Saturday, May 27, 2017

My Portland Coffee Tour - Part 3

My coffee tour continues this month. We've had some really nice days at the beginning of the month, making it nice coffee weather, because I could sit outside if I wanted, and walking to one shop from another is fun and not miserable. I love that sort of weather. Actual Spring weather where it's sunny and warm enough to not wear a coat, but not so warm that you're sweating from walking three blocks.

This month I found some winners that were based on Instagram, Swarm friend suggestions and good old fashioned map Googling. I was pretty lucky with my visits too. You'd think that'd be easy with a coffee loving city like Portland, but not every coffee shop is created equal, which I have found out fairly quickly with this blog series. Anyway, let's get to the brews:

Peaks Coffee PDX

It's amazing what sort of connections you can make on Instagram. I found Peaks by following other coffee shops in the city. It's pretty much brand new and took over a tiny space in SE. They sucked me in with their minimalist design and their delicious coffee pics, including their new Mt. Tabor, which I decided I needed to try when I went in.

There were a couple really nice days in Portland, so everyone was getting excited about iced coffee, but it was back to dreary when I visited, so I ordered the Mt. Tabor hot and then a Mt. Hood bagel sandwich. The Mt. Tabor is a latte made with fresh mint. The hot version isn't that minty, though my breath was extra fresh for an hour after. It also has the added challenge of having floating leaves in the cup, which would probably easier to drink if it were cold and you had a straw. It was good though. It had a pretty good flavor that wasn't too bitter or too sweet, but I'd probably try something else next time.

The sandwich was awesome though. The Mt. Hood is a sandwich with cream cheese and thinly sliced cucumbers and tomatoes. I got salt and pepper on it and it was one of the most delicious bagels I've ever had and it would be on the top of my list if I returned.

Peaks is small and only has bar stools for seating, so you're not going to go there and work on your novel or chat with your friends for an hour. You're going to go, chat with the barista while they make your drink and then sip it while watching people walk along the street, or you take your drink with you and become one of those people. Their prices are pretty consistent with the other coffee places in town, with a latte costing $4.75 and a bagel sandwich just $4. I'd say less than $9 for breakfast is a pretty decent deal.

Deadstock Coffee

This tiny little coffee joint is like walking into a little bit of an old school hip hop video. They have sneakers and sports memorabilia and a fun piece of art that features a boom box. They have a few stools to sit at, but when I was there they were full, including someone doing homework on a laptop, so they obviously are pretty social in their small space. You won't find food here, or a menu, but they claim they'll make any coffee you want, or you can ask for their specials. They didn't have any when I visited, but I asked them to just make me something cold and the barista suggested the Zero Chill (also seconded and applauded by a customer, or possibly another worker on break). 

It is a cold brew coffee mixed with ice tea. Those are my two favorite things to drink! He was nice enough to pour it into an espresso cup first so I could taste it before I committed to a full size, but I was in. It only cost $4, which I thought was a decent deal, considering how good and refreshing it was. If homeless people bother you, maybe just park across the street in the paid lot instead of finding street parking. I'm used to it and no one bothered me, even after I took my drink to go and drank it on my way to my next coffee adventure.

Courier Coffee Roasters

This little European style cafe is in a fun shaped building that's also home to several other eateries, including Portland landmark Sizzle Pie. They don't really serve food here either, but they have places to sit and their coffees are affordable. I asked for their most popular drink and they told me it was probably their lattes and also that the espresso was "especially good" that day, so I ordered that and a canelé (what I'm told is a baked custard pastry). The two cost just $6 - $4 for my latte and $2 for my pastry. 

The coffee had a lovely rich flavor with a little bit of sweetness that eliminated the need for any sugar at all, plus it was pretty to look at! The pastry was amazing. I'd never had a canelé before and I look forward to having another one. It was crispy on the outside and like a super moist cake on the inside. I loved it. I'll definitely be back next time I'm downtown, and maybe I'll head around the corner to one of the three places to eat as well. I was very impressed, and I'd have to say this is in a much more approachable part of Portland, right across the street from the North Park Blocks and a few blocks from Downtown proper with a ton of food cart pods nearby.


This was another shop that was my second visit of the morning. If you didn't know where Heart was, you'd probably not even notice it. It blends in with the buildings on the block and their monochromatic color scheme. The sign is small, but once you get there, you wonder how you missed it.

I found the prices of this minimalist coffee place a bit high. The prices seemed a $1 more for coffees and $1.50+ more for pastries. I had already had one coffee when I visited, so I opted for a small Americano and a blackberry blueberry scone. With a dash of sugar, the coffee was perfect. They use a mix of beans to get a lovely bold roast that is very satisfying. My scone had a nice crisp on the outside and was fluffy on the inside with that burst of fresh fruit. The two cost me a total of $7.50 ($3.50 for an 8oz $4 for my scone). 

For the price, you get the added convenience of a Downtown location, but unless you're visiting on a weekday morning, you probably are going to end up paying for parking as well. Although, if you're already downtown, it's easy to walk to and close to the mall, Target, Powell's Books, and Pioneer Square. There is plenty of inside and outside seating and the space is airy and bright. It's a friendly place to pop into for a to-go cup or to sit and relax for a bit. Don't expect any substantial food though, as I think I picked the heaviest thing on offer.    

There you have it. Four coffee shops that you may not have heard of and may be interested in grabbing a cuppa on your next visit to Portland. 

What's your favorite coffee shop from home or your travels?

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