March 19th, 2008 HANNA NEUSCHWANDER | Special Section Stories
 

Coffee

     
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Extracto
IMAGE: jeff walls

Three dollars may seem like a lot for some hot liquid, but any Portlander will tell you that coffee in this town is more Orient Express than Amtrak. Crisp espresso, sinewy foam, knowledgeable baristas and the comfort of a warm cafe—that’s luxury, and at three or four bucks, it’s pretty affordable. These are the cafes that do it best.

Extracto


The most exciting cafe in Portland right now, thanks to the looming launch of Cherry, a new small-batch roastery that will operate out of the space beginning this summer. In the meantime, Extracto offers beans from California’s excellent Barefoot Coffee Roasters, making it a must-visit for coffee enthusiasts. 2921 NE Killingsworth Ave., 281-1764. Open daily.

Coffeehouse NW


This cafe, oozing warmth and a fierce devotion to the barista’s craft, serves the most lovingly prepared coffee in Portland. The recent addition of stunning pastries by Nuvrei makes the experience whole. 1951 W Burnside St., 248-2133. Open daily.

Fresh Pot


A staple in the city’s coffee scene, the Fresh Pot offers enlightened espresso with an attitude. Their motto speaks truth: Life is beautiful, when coffee is your life. 3729 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 232-8928. Open daily, late-night Monday-Saturday. 4001 N Mississippi Ave., 284-8928. Open daily.

Crema


One of few top-notch cafes that make their own pastries. Testament to the humble dignity of Crema’s rustic wares are the spongy chocolate espresso bread and countrified huckleberry scones. Their routinely excellent coffee is overseen by some of the best-trained and most professional baristas in town. 2728 SE Ankeny St., 234-0206. Open daily.

Ristretto Roasters


The only place in town roasting artisan coffees that rival Stumptown’s. If your highly trained palate is tired of ubiquitous Hairbender espresso, stop in for a sip of Ristretto’s Beaumont Blend and taste for yourself. A second location will open at North Williams Avenue and Failing Street in June. 3520 NE 42nd Ave., 284-6767. Open daily.Stumptown Annex Perhaps the pinnacle of brew in Portland, despite the fact that it offers only single cups of coffee (no espresso)—you choose from the roaster’s selection of some of the best beans in the world. To expand your horizons further, stop in for one of the free daily cuppings (11 am and 3 pm). Cynics may scoff at the similarities to wine snobbery, but the proof is in the cup. 3356 SE Belmont St., 467-4123. Open daily. See stumptowncoffee.com for other local Stumptown locations.

Albina Press


“The Press” is one of the tightest ships at sail on Portland’s ocean of coffee. Owner and barista Billy Wilson is the man behind the whipstaff. He’s loud, elaborately tattooed and an inspiration to many younger baristas. A new location at Southeast 50th Avenue and Hawthorne Boulevard will open this spring. 4637 N Albina Ave., 282-5214. Open daily.

Red & Black CAFE


Don’t go for the coffee. Do go for the emphasis on atmosphere with a conscience. The quiet

dedication of the staff to promoting a sense of community is apparent. It’s a cafe for reading, debating, watching and

reflecting, and it’s one block from the new vegan “mini-mall” at Southeast Stark Street and 12th Avenue. 400 SE 12th Ave., 231-3899. Open until 11 pm daily.

Sahagún Chocolate


OK, it’s not coffee. But Sahagún is a tiny oasis that offers exponentially increasing rewards. For $2.50, an “exploding caramel” will bring you bliss that will linger for hours, if not days. For $5 you can have the same experience in liquid form: The rotating menu of rich and slightly erotic drinking chocolates will leave you giddy. 10 NW 16th Ave., 274-7065. Open Wednesday-Saturday.

Bipartisan


The standout collection of political ephemera and housemade pies (try the pear-raspberry!) almost overshadow the perfect neighborliness of this former hardware store in Montavilla. What could be more American? Thankfully, the better-than-average coffee is served in ceramic, not Styrofoam. [i]7901 SE Stark St., 253-1051. Open daily.

 
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