I was born in a Portland suburb but have only in the last few years come to love Portland, its weirdness, its art and charm, and its divine coffee. I have traveled all over the United States and to many parts of the world and I still crave coming home to a Portland cappuccino.
But it's more than just a tasty cup of coffee. As a photographer and graphic designer often working out of coffee shops, I look for a tasty cup as well as friendly service--baristas that you could call friends--good wifi, comfortable seating, good music, decent parking, and accessible outlets. Sounds like a lot of qualifiers, but sometimes they can make all the difference. I'll mention a few of these factors that set each shop apart, and hopefully, whether you're a born-and-raised Portlander or a traveler just passing through, you're able to find a shop or two that are just right for you!
4747 SE Division Street
Good Coffee has quickly become a favorite of mine. They seek to not only offer, well, good coffee, but also hospitality and a place to belong and to be known. Both of their shops (on Division & Salmon) are beautifully designed and very comfortable. Here you will find some of the happiest and most skilled baristas--they seem to personally know every person that walks in the door and they are great at educating you on their coffees and teas. Their cappuccinos are excellent and their coffee is light and full of flavor.
3158 SE Division Street
Dapper and Wise has one of the most clever instagrams and some of the most genuinely kind baristas. Their shop is classy and warm...Excellent wifi and outlets and parking isn't usually too terrible. They are always coming out with seasonal drinks. I highly recommend their homemade iced vanilla latte in Summer or their cappuccino or Woodblock chocolate mocha in Winter. Or branch out with their Kaffee Tonic or seasonal Coffee Soda. Occasionally, they will host a free coffee cupping open to the public, which can be an educational and fun activity with your friends!
2211 E Burnside Street
Heart is one of the most beautiful and well designed shops, in my opinion. It is a stunning space, often filled to the brim with the hippest of hipsters. Their coffee is noticeably lighter and more acidic and fruity. Their roast and serve their own coffee in shop and it is excellent! Parking is pretty easy to find, and it's a great workspace, assuming it's not maxed out.
1204 SE Clay Street
Upper Left has a unique feel from all others in Portland. It almost feels like you've stepped into Amsterdam or Stockholm and you'll find all the minimalism lovers there as well. It's a light, fresh, simple shop. They offer some tasty food along with good coffee. It's a great working space and meeting space. I wouldn't say their service is as noticeably hospitable, but everything is still well done.
118 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Cup and Bar offers a large open space, excellent seating and perfect work music. They have a large menu, but their baristas are as helpful as can be and are happy to offer suggestions. Parking can be a bit tight in this area of town, so plan to walk a few blocks. They have a marvelous chocolate shop in back, so I highly recommend trying their mocha! It's not overly sweet--just divine. Their wifi hasn't always been reliable, but it's usually decent and certainly won't be keeping me a way!
1300 SE Grand Avenue
Disclaimer: I actually rarely go to Coava... If I do, it's usually to take an out-of-town guest, because it's the classic "Portland coffee" stop. But they've earned that title with their outstanding coffee. Their cappuccino is consistently a favorite of mine. Their atmosphere is very urban and rather dark and cold with not a lot of seating, but it's worth a drop by, if you need a pick-me-up. Just be ready to stand up for a while, if you need to use an outlet. Their newer location on Hawthorne is less artsy, but has a much warmer setting, if you need to sit and work for a while.