Sunday, December 9, 2018

Portland Cafe Guide: Northwest


As soon as I started typing up my first post on Portland’s many wonderful cafes, I knew it wouldn’t be my last. It took me over a year to visit all the cafes on that first post, and I knew I had barely scratched the surface. Most of the additional cafes on this list have actually only opened in the time between my last post and now, so I’ve had a lot of catching up to do. I realize this is still not a complete list of all Portland cafes, so I will have to provide a disclaimer again that these are just the ones I find worth mentioning. Onward…

As a recap: 

I compiled this list based on a few factors: 
1) lattes
2) seating
3) atmosphere
4) decor. 

I am also dividing these posts into 4, because there are almost 90 cafes I am documenting and that’s too much for any one post. To break it down, I am focusing on one quadrant of the city at a time. I used to post them in order of favorites, but my tastes are fickle and new cafes are always popping up, so they are in alphabetical order instead. 


Northwest Portland

The Northwest Portland covers exclusively Chinatown, the Pearl district, and the Alphabet district. This is a small area of land with a high concentration of new development. Of all the quadrants of the city, this is the one where I still have the most cafes left unexplored. Ironically, I used to live in NW until about three years ago. But in that short amount of time at least a dozen or so cafes have popped up and I haven't gotten to go back often ever since. 

Barista on NW 23rd

A popular shot for meeting due to the deep booths and bar counters. Not a place to work on your laptop, but still a great Barista location. 

Barista in the Pearl
The original Barista location is a small stand with a few seats adjacent to a furniture store. The coffee is still amazing if you are lucky enough to snag a table. 

Coffeehouse Northwest
Owned by the same people as Sterling, this case also boasts their incredible caramel latte, but with more seating. I frequent come here to write or to have meetings. 

Good Coffee - NW

The same great cafe I love in SE finally opened a branch in the NW alphabet district and it is impressive. The largest of the three branches is located in a newly developed retail-office-apartment complex with stylish interior. It was as busy as every when I went in on a Tuesday morning. 

La Perlita
A tiny coffee stand in the lobby of the Ecotrust building does have something unique to offer to this neighborhood. I enjoyed the "Real Mexican Mocha" which was fragrant and bold in flavor. I recommend their original offerings if you stop by.

Local Roasting
A decent café off NW 23rd Ave with a grungy atmosphere.  

Nossa Familia
The original location is more of a coffee stand amidst its huge factory. Come for the Mocha with whip, which is the classic drink here. 

Modern café in the Pearl district with a signature Moroccan latte.

Society Cafe
A fantastic café in the lobby of the Society Hotel in Chinatown, a welcome addition to a neighborhood with few café options

Sterling Coffee Roasters (closed 2017)
The first place I fell in love with in Portland still holds the top rank in my heart. When I first met Sterling it was a small stand wedged between a flower shop and Trader Joes. And that is where I had the best caramel latte in the world. Even now that it has outgrown its humble beginnings and now has a small storefront, the staff and the lattes are still the best ever. 

Sterling Coffee Roasters (2018-)
Sterling finally outgrew it's shared space with the wine bar and moved into a home of its own. The new location is spacious and filled with natural light, but the tiny round tables make it not ideal for working, and I miss the cozy intimate atmosphere of the original location. 

The Commissary 
Chic little café with specialty biscuit sandwiches. 

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