Sunday, December 9, 2018

Portland Cafe Guide: Northwest

UPDATED 2018:


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. 

Neighborhoods:
SE
SW
NE
NW


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. 


Ovation
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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