1. Cathedral Coffee
Cathedral Coffee just might be my favorite. Sipping my go-to drink, a plain latte, I find a smooth, rich coffee flavor that blends excellently with the sweet creaminess of milk and leaves a pleasing aftertaste. As their website says “Cathedral is a neighborhood coffee shop serving extraordinary coffee, local teas and artisanal food in a friendly and inspiring space”. While partnering with a quality local roaster like Tanager really helps, it’s the excellence of their baristas and bakers combined with a funky yet relaxing vibe that I really love. I love the reclaimed wooden tables and the reading nook lined with bookshelves. Teas, baked goods and homemade syrups give a visitor plenty of delicious options. Sadly, I rarely make it up to Cathedral since it is on the opposite end of town from where I live. Sunday brunch looks amazing there and I must get back there soon!
Favorite drink: plain, hot latte
2. Water Avenue Coffee
Water Avenue gives me the flavor and vibe of the best of Portland shops without me having to go downtown! This cafe focuses just on coffee and they sure do an excellent job! Their beans have lighter notes than some others, but don’t lack in flavor. The cafe doesn’t have a ton of seating, but maintains a fun reclaimed industrial vibe along with a full-size canoe suspended from the ceiling in honor of their name. Water Avenue is my first choice cafe to take out of town friends because it is close(er) to my house and we can take our cups and stroll down to the Eastbank Esplanade for a great view of the Willamette River and downtown Portland.
Favorite drink: iced latte
3. Cup and Bar
If you can’t decide between coffee and chocolate, then Cup and Bar is the place to go because here you will find a mastery of both. Cup and Bar is cafe that features Trailhead Coffee and Ranger chocolate, both of which are made on site. They have a lovely, airy space within walking distance of the Portland Convention Center and a stone’s throw from I84. A limited sandwich and snack menu is available and delicious. Prices are not cheap here, especially for Ranger Chocolate! My tip? Order a mocha and they will give you a sample of chocolate on the side.
Favorite drink: Ranger chocolate mocha
4. Case Study Coffee
I always go to Case Study after I have visited my dentist. I hope I’m not ruining my newly cleaned teeth, but I can’t pass up a great coffee cafe right in my path. They have a great, central location across the street from the Multnomah County library and reasonably close to Pioneer Square and the Park Blocks. (Case Study also has locations in Sandy and the Alberta district). They have a lot of seating available and a busy, fast-paced vibe around the main counter, while students and professionals work quietly around the perimeter. I think Case Study particularly excels in the house-made syrup department.
Favorite drink: Fleur de sel caramel latte