Exploring a new city comes with a plethora of hiccups. You might have 99 problems, but in Portland, a cup of good coffee isn’t one of them.
Portland is often referred to as the Third Wave of coffee, and it’s true, the best Portland cafes take great pride in mastering the craft and the end result is a beautiful thing.
In Portland, good coffee is easily accessible on practically every street corner but with so many great Portland cafes to choose from, where to begin?
With a self-proclaimed caffeine addicted local, of course.
So without further ado, allow me to share the best coffee in Portland, Oregon (from firsthand experience)
Best Cafes in Portland Oregon
#1. Good Coffee
Perhaps my favorite newcomer to the Portland coffee scene, Good Coffee churns out some of the best coffee in Portland and the cafe is as charming as you can imagine.
An airy interior filled with healthy plants and cozy seating, the ambiance is dreamy and the hot cup of perfect coffee is only icing on the cake.
This comfortable cafe is a great spot to meet friends or get some work done on a laptop.
I love their americanos and usually order those. But every once in a while, I treat myself to a matcha latte with oat milk and feel like royalty. So if you need a pick-me-up, feel free to do that too.
Local’s Tip: For a GREAT (albeit expensive) souvenir, the handmade mugs here are the cutest I have ever seen.
Image courtesy Hop Culture
#2. Albina Press
Originally opened in 2004, Albina Press is often regarded as one of the original cafes in Portland.
Baristas at Albina Press are held to high standards, which is why many locals consider this the best coffee in Portland. In fact, two previous employees have branched off to open their own successful coffee shops in Portland, Barista and Coava.
The interior is welcoming, with well-worn large leather couches and warm-toned wood floors invite guests to stay a while. You’ll notice friends catching up, people glued to laptops and the occasional people-watcher (*raises hand) lingering in this cozy Portland cafe.
Albina Press recently started using Coava beans. Why not order a French press coffee and see what all the fuss is about?
#3. Keeper Coffee
Keeper Coffee opened its doors in 2020, it’s safe to say that this charming Portland cafe’s survival is attributed to their great knowledge of coffee and delectable home-made pastries that incite out-the-door lines on a daily basis.
The cafe is as endearing as can be, with classic wooden chairs, clean marble tables and a stark white interior. Serving Coava Coffee, the menu is well curated and lists delightful seasonal home-made syrups like elderberry and jasmine.
The homemade pastries only add to the relaxing and low-key experience at Keeper Coffee, those hand pies are so memorable — don’t miss out!
The cozy atmosphere partnered with delicious coffee served in real cups makes this is one of the best and cutest cafes in Portland.
Image courtesy Keeper Coffee
#4. Commissary Cafe
Located in the lovely NW neighborhood, Commissary Cafe is a true gem. This charming Portland cafe is on the smaller side but the exterior is bright and clean which creates the perfect environment for a relaxing weekend morning.
Actually, I may need to take that back. Commissary Cafe has a devote customer base, so lines are all but guaranteed but I assure you the wait is worth it.
What’s more, this Portland cafe has some of the best breakfast pastries in the city. The jammers (biscuits with jam) are my favorite! I never pass up an opportunity to order them (assuming they’re not sold out for the day).
Address: 915 NW 19th Ave Suite A, Portland, OR 97209
Image courtesy Commissary Cafe
#5. Spella Caffé
Originally started as a food cart before finding a more permanent home in a tiny hole-in-the-wall, Spella Cafe is one of the most charming cafes in Portland because it transports you to Italy. If you like old-school cafes with charming European, this is the spot for you.
Only 4 -6 people can fit inside and I’ve never seen more than two baristas behind the counter. Turns out you don’t need a spacious space of 10+ baristas to make really, really good coffee in Portland.
Spella Caffe has mastered the craft of perfect coffee drinks, especially cappuccinos and lattes. The foam is as airy and light as a cloud and I’ve never had a bitter taste from the properly-roasted beans.
Always smooth, always pleasant, this is the best cafe in Portland for true coffee enthusiasts.
Local’s Tip: Their affogato (ice cream with espresso) is the best I’ve had in Portland, order it during a hot summer day for a treat you won’t soon forget!
Address: 520 SW 5th Ave. Portland, Oregon 97204
Photo Credit: Spella Caffe
#6. Proud Mary
Proud Mary hails from Melbourne, Australia where it cultivated a cult following before deciding to expand to America by opening a small restaurant in Portland, Oregon.
The result? An epic Portland cafe and brunch spot that fills to the brim with eager locals and tourists alike every day of the week. Plus, the coffee is hard to beat.
The talented and cheery baristas at Proud Mary Cafe churn out some of the best coffee in Portland and we are all better for it.
I want to be transparent, the coffee at Proud Mary is on the pricier side but you’re paying for expertise. The baristas provide cards with every coffee ordered that explains the origins of beans and information on the farmers that harvested them.
You can’t go wrong regardless what you order (especially if you indulge in the creative brunch menu) but my favorite drink is the flat-white, they’ve definitely mastered it!
Address: 2012 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211
#7. Stumptown Coffee at the Ace Hotel
We can’t talk about the best coffee in Portland without mentioning the original, Stumptown Coffee. Still considered the most iconic coffee shop in Portland, this gem has spread to several locations but my favorite is found within the lobby of the Ace Hotel.
I’m partial to the lattes because I think they’ve perfected the art, but any brew you get here is bound to impress. Pick up a bag of whole beans for your home, Stumptown is our favorite coffee to start the day with — which probably tells you everything you need to know about the quality, especially considering there’s so much great coffee to choose from..
Address: Inside the cozy Ace Hotel lobby – 1023 SW Harvey Milk St
#8. Behind the Museum Cafe
Behind the Museum Cafe serves up the best matcha in Portland. I worked a mere five blocks from this quaint cafe and visited every chance I had.
I especially like the Japanese treats, like the fig cookie, when I’m in the mood for something sweet. If you’d like a more substantial snack, the delicious onigiri can’t be beat (especially the salmon!).
Apart from perfected matcha, you can expect to get serious espresso drinks. This cafe uses Extracto Roasters beans and the smooth flavor shines through.
Tip: If you’re visiting Behind the Museum Cafe during summer, get the ice cream, it’s so good!
Image courtesy Behind the Museum Cafe
#9. Caffé Umbria
Caffe Umbria is the quintessential Italian cafe that has been spreading like wildfire in Portland, and for good reason.
The coffee is consistently smooth and the baristas are always in a good mood. This is my go-to cafe in downtown Portland because it’s close to my office.
In fact, I visit several times a week with coworkers. I usually order and Americano unless I feel like treating myself, at which point the oat milk latte is hard to beat.
Image courtesy Cafe Umbria
#10. Coava Coffee Roasters
What I love best about Coava Coffee Roasters is that it can satisfy every single coffee aficionado I’ve taken here (even in a city like Portland, this is no easy feat).
Unlike the other Portland cafes listed here, Coava has an industrial feel perfect for a downtown setting. They roast their own beans, which are so well known that many Portland cafes choose to use them exclusively.
This Portland cafe specializes in pour-overs and espresso, rather than latte art. Don’t get me wrong, they know how to make delicious lattes, but folks come here for coffee that tastes like real coffee — hold the cream.
The baristas are some of the friendliest I’ve come across and take great pride in sharing their knowledge of the day’s beans. Ask them questions if it’s not too busy inside, you may learn some interesting facts about coffee!
#11. Never Coffee
A tiny but light-filled charming Portland cafe, Never Coffee has become Instagram-famous thanks to their colorful decor and great coffee.
Served in cheery and vibrant ceramic mugs, the flavored lattes at Never Coffee are the stars of the show. Perfectly executed, these creative concoctions feature seasonal flavors like yuzu, fennel and shishito peppers.
It’s hard to describe just how creative these drinks are, so here’s a quick list of descriptions from their website.
What I love most about Never Coffee is their creative menu of specialty drinks (descriptions from their website):
- Oregon | Cascade Hops • Dulce de Leche • Jacobsen Sea Salt
- The taste of Oregon. Familiar and inviting caramel brings you in and sea salt makes you stay. The addition of the local hops keeps it wild.
- Hunny | Flowering Jasmine • Dark Chocolate • Wildflower Honey
- A delicious celebration of a bee’s bounty. The flower’s nectar. Gathered pollen. The final honey. All the bee feels. Sting not included.
- Pop | Tart Cherries • Makrut Lime • Matcha
- This is cherry lime matcha. It’s like the sweet milk at the end of a bowl of Fruit Loops during Saturday morning cartoons. It’s what matcha wants to be when it grows up.
- Midnight Oil | Sweet Fennel Seed • Star Anise • Black Licorice
- The Scandinavian love of black licorice wrapped in a pillowy latte. It’s dark, moody, and scary delicious with a sweetness that haunts you, stalks you, and eventually devours you.
- Yuzu & Salt | Yuzu Fruit • Sansho Pepper • Burned Sugar & Coconut Cream
- Big beautiful flavor from a little ugly fruit. A smooth latte with mouth tingling bursts of Japanese pepper and Oregon salt. It’s right. It’s wrong. It’s perfect.
#12. Oui Presse
A cozy and beloved Southeast Portland coffee shop, you’ll walk in to the heavenly smell of fresh baked goods and the buzz of freshly ground coffee.
Churning out great coffee and equally great bites, Oui Presse is the place to go if you’d like spend an afternoon catching up with an old friend. In many ways, this is exactly what folks envision when they think of the perfect neighborhood cafe.
#13. Heart Coffee
Started by a married couple in 2009 who began by roasting beans out of their home, Heart Coffee has a cult following in Portland thanks to their delicious high-quality coffee and Instagram-worthy interiors.
You’ll find folks ardently consumed by laptop screens, coworkers discussing deadlines and excited out-of-towners with cell phones in hand. One thing is guaranteed, everyone will leave happy because even the simplest drink is bound to impress at this great Portland cafe.
Make no mistake, Portland is blessed with some of the best coffee in the nation. Choosing the best of the best is a fool’s errand and I often find myself reflecting on some of the pioneering cafes in Portland.
It’s a dog-eat-dog world and yet some of these cafes have withstood the test of time and new competition. The secret? Sticking to the basics and being damn good at it.
Case-in-point, Barista — one of the best cafes in Portland. Pouring consistently high-quality drinks, this gem has been around since 2009, when they opened the first location in the Pearl.
The flagship store is still my favorite, there’s something about a tiny cafe that speaks to me. Accommodating a maximum of 5 guests, the tiny bar is my favorite spot to be early Saturday morning.
#15. Water Avenue Coffee
Originally founded in 2009, Water Avenue Coffee is a cafe for the people. Most of my coworkers were overly-excited when the downtown location opened up in 2016.
Quickly we learned that everyone was waiting for this incredible cafe to expand because the lines are always long, albeit warranted.
I was first introduced to Water Avenue Coffee at my favorite brunch spot (Tasty n Alder) and needless to say, I’ve been hooked ever since. Think smooth pours are too easy to drink, even if you consider yourself a cream drinker, you may forgo it.
Worth noting, their breakfast treats are very tasty. They serve BAKESHOP pastries, which are the best baked goods in Portland, in my opinion. I also like the breakfast bowls and highly recommend them if you need a bite before a big meeting.
Best Portland Coffee (Post Overview)
In sum, these are the best cafes in Portland
- Good Coffee
- Albina Press
- Keeper Coffee
- Commissary Cafe
- Spella Cafe
- Proud Mary
- Behind the Museum Cafe
- Oui Presse
- Caffe Umbria
- Coava Coffee
- Never Coffee
- Heart Coffee
- Water Avenue Coffee
Map of the best cafes in Portland
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- 10 Adventurous Day Trips from Portland
- 30 Weird, Free & Cheap Things to Do in Portland
- Let’s Talk: Portland, Oregon Vs. Portland, Maine
With how quickly new coffee shops pop up in Portland, I’m sure this post will need to be updated on a quarterly basis. But hey, we can only work with what we have!
I hope you enjoyed this local’s guide to the best coffee in Portland.
Until next time,