10 October 2013
A NE Portland mini coffee tour
Man, I am really falling down on the foodblog front this week! But I guess that's what happens when you're essentially learning a new city, working full-time, suddenly increasing your biking from near-zero to 10+ miles per day (with HILLS), hanging out with multiple groups of friends, celebrating multiple birthdays (I am now a power of six! A really small power, but still) and living in a house with two kids under the age of seven. And did I mention I fell down the stairs yesterday? I'm fine, but it's just another thing to tackle--not to mention another dimension to my already existent biking soreness.
So why don't I start by talking about all the coffee I've drunk over the past week or so?
I generally start off my workdays with a trip to the coffeeshop, a regular coffee with milk or cream, and a lot of laptop work. Portland, if you were unaware, has all the coffee everywhere, so I have been having an excellent time trying out all and sundry coffees in the land.
Barista, 1725 NE Alberta
This is the only shop on the list that I've been to before, and the only one at which I ordered anything besides just plain coffee. Although I suppose an Americano could be considered plain coffee...but regardless, it was delicious. My favorite thing about this place is the bar that curves around the back of the barista stations: beautiful wood with plenty of stools for all your coffee-and-work needs.
It can be a little tough to get a seat in the crowded front of the shop, but isn't that the case at all the best coffeeshops? Frequently, yes.
Half Pint Cafe, 537 SE Ash #108
We've been working in the same space as our friends Danny and Bethany, the founders of Beeminder, and this little coffeeshop is just up the street from their office.
We had a marginally hard time finding it because both their site and Maps list them as "Mudd Works Roastery," but everything worked out perfectly once we went inside. There is indeed Mudd Works coffee available approximately one step from the front door, in a totally charming, narrow space. We got our coffees to go, so I can't comment on the working-there situation, but the tasty caffeine experience was all it should be.
Case Study Coffee, 5347 NE Sandy
I really like working here because of the long library table that runs down the room. The smaller tables are copper-topped, which is super appealing as well. The excellent coffee doesn't hurt either.
This is the only place I've gone back to more than once so far, which definitely says something about what a great space it is for work. There's just something about a big library table.
Heart Roasters, 2211 E Burnside
I picked this shop to visit because it's at a good location to take a break on the bike ride to or from the office. Coffee: delicious. Their roaster is right out in the middle of the shop, looming with the delightful promise of more coffee, more, MORE. My shop of choice at home has their roaster out in the shop as well, so this made me feel extra at-home.
This was the most crowded shop I've been to, but it was still totally possible to grab a seat and get some quality work-doing and coffee-drinking done. Hooray!
These shops have a couple things in common.
1. Good coffee. I mean, I am not a connossieur by any means--I will totally mix different blends of self-serve to make a half-caf in my normal shop at home--but I still know what tastes good. These coffees definitely taste good.
2. Communal tables. I'm not sure about the Half Pint, since I didn't go back to the actual seating area, but every single other shop has some kind of communal seating arrangement. This makes it a bit easier to find a seat while also giving you the chance to easily meet people if you so desire. However, nobody was pushy, either, so it's a win-win situation all around.
Obviously we've mostly been in one quadrant of Portland so far, but never fear--there will be more exploring in the future!
Next up: food. Or bars. Maybe both? We'll see.