The Pacific Northwest is famous for its love affair with coffee. People take it seriously, and there are some serious top-tier roasters and micro-roasters in Portland. While I’m much more of a hot chocolate/chai tea kind of gal, Jeff loves a strong, black cup of joe. Jeff and I constantly pull Starbucks working sessions, but we haven’t truly experienced the local Portland coffee scene. Until a couple Saturdays ago.
I knew I wanted to hit the Portland Bazaar – which had the fabulous Design*Sponge Grace Bonney as an organizer – so we made it more of an all-morning activity. We coffee crawled our way to the Portland Bazaar.
First stop: Stumptown Coffee Roasters, which is probably the best-known and most-loved coffee brand in Portland. Friendly, bearded hipsters whipped up a work-of-art hot chocolate for me while Jeff snagged a Chemex-brewed cup of coffee. The baristas and coffee prep were definitely the focal point of the narrow, no-nonsense space in downtown. Thumbs up.
Second stop: Water Avenue Coffee, across the river on the edge of an industrial district – and the shop reflected that feel. I drank a chai tea and Jeff drank coffee number two as spandex-clad cyclists started piling in (a common occurrence in the city). Thumbs up as well.
Third stop: Coava Coffee Roasters, also across the river. Super unique location – they’re part of a movement of very different businesses sharing real estate. You walk in and there’s Bamboo Revolution, with its bamboo longboards and countertops, and then in the far corner, there’s the Coava coffee counter. Jeff and I chatted with a knowledgeable barista dude before settling on sharing a cup of El Salvador’s La Guachoca. (After my hot chocolate and chai tea, I was starting to feel like a big, bloated bag of sugared milk.) Also thumbs up. (Obviously we’re not such discerning coffee critics.)
The Portland Bazaar was mega busy. Hundreds of people snaked through aisles of 70 hand-picked vendors selling everything from leather bike accessories to carved wooden iPhone covers. Jeff and I settled on a Old School Stationers wall print, which now lives in our bathroom next to the funky glass vase we picked up on our Astoria anniversary trip.
While our coffee crawl was supposed to stretch to Heart Coffee Roasters…we were all coffeed out. Lesson learned: coffee crawls are best done in small doses.