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Jan 24, 2009 08:28 PM

Best Espresso - PSU/Downtown PDX/Hawthorne

I'm new to Portland from Juneau, Alaska in search of the perfect pull. My favorite drink is a double espresso. I'm looking for some espresso recommendations in the PSU, Downtown Portland, or Hawthorne areas. I haven't been that impressed by Stumptown (sorry). The best pull I've had so far has been at the coffee counter at Pastworks on Hawthorne. Any suggestions?

BTW, my favorite bag of espresso beans is from The Green Bean Coffee Company in Ketchikan, AK. They mail order beans and their espresso roast is a high-octane blend of five different roasts.

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  1. As a PSU habitue, I can tell you that the campus is sorely lacking a good coffee experience. I've been a fan of Stumptown since being one of the first regulars at the original store on Division.

    Having said that, there are plenty of other great coffee places in town. Try Ristretto Roasters on Fremont, Albina Press on Albina, Common Grounds on Hawthorne, World Cup on Glisan at around 19th. The Fresh Pot in the Powells on Hawthorne is home to the guy who I think won best barista in the NW or something like that...

    4 Replies
    1. re: AlbertaHound

      Thanks! I agree about PSU. Seems funny that a concetration of college kids wouldn't attract good coffee. Thanks for the tips.

      1. re: gommista

        College students don't exactly have the best taste in food & drink. Witness the decades-long success of the Cheerful Tortoise.

        Try Spella, a cart on SW 9/Alder.

        1. re: Leonardo

          Maybe not, but they have money to spend and time to kill. I'm looking forward to trying Spella.

      2. re: AlbertaHound

        all of those are good to great rec's....except World Cup(imo). Ive had a few espressos and Americanos from there and they have been uniformly bad. Its a bit like an indie Starbucks, over roasted, bitter, burnt garbage. The saddest part is they are probably using quality beans, and destroying them!

        On a calm day, You can smell the place from a few blocks away, and not in a good way.

      3. I just noticed that The Vanguard had a write-up about Java Man on 6th and Taylor, saying they have "great coffee" and Russian food. (??)

        Also, I remembered there's a cool Italian pastry - espresso place in an office building at around 6th and Columbia. The building on the NE corner of the intersection, and the place is in the SW corner of the building (if that makes sense). They have great little pastries and take their espresso seriously.

        2 Replies
        1. re: AlbertaHound

          I found Katie's Cafe in the basement of the Unitus Building on 6th and Columbia. They use Illy coffee and make a decent espresso. It seems like Illy makes a consistently good espresso.

          I've also tried Spella a few times and really like their stuff. I only wish it wasn't a ristretto shot and that they were closer to campus!

          1. re: AlbertaHound

            Is this the same place that's been there a couple years, with Umbria coffee? I think they went in right after Torrefazione folded?

          2. Not too far from PSU is Coffeehouse NW on the corner of Burnside and 20th Pl. A lot of PSU students that live in the Goose Hollow area also like Fehrenbacher Hof but I still prefer Coffeehouse NW.

            In terms of downtown itself, it's pretty much Spella and maybe even the Ace Stumptown depending on how patient you are. I mean, I love Stumptown but I prefer heading to the Annex.

            I know that Albina Press isn't within your confines, but they're quite good. And honestly the coffeehouse I'm in most often these days is Ristretto.

            2 Replies
            1. re: SauceSupreme

              There's an Albina Press on SE Hawthorne and maybe 50th or so, which would probably qualify for the "Hawthorne area".

              1. re: Nettie

                I've been trying everything I can and here are my faves so far:

                A Fine Grind on 39th and SE Lincoln. They are using Nossia Familia coffee and their espresso is smooth and delicious.

                Pastaworks on Hawthorne. They use Illy beans and pour a smooth cup.

                Tiny's on Hawthorne. They use Stumpdown, which I don't normally like since it tastes sour. But their espresso was smoother than most Stumptowns I've had.

                Spella's is probably the best tasting I've had so far. I just wish it was closer to my route and wasn't a ristretto shot. I like to linger a bit more over my espresso.