Favorite Coffee and Tea Spots in Portland - Imbibe Magazine Subscribe + Save

Favorite Coffee and Tea Spots in Portland, Oregon

Portland’s coffee scene has seen a lot of change since its first boom in the early 2000s. It went from being at the forefront of all things cutting edge in coffee to being an “OG,” a source of inspiration for others who have gone on to launch their own coffee projects in cities across the U.S., and even globally. For this reason, my motivations for frequenting a place in Portland tend to be a little more utilitarian.

Choosing function over form, I’m not usually driven first by the latest brewing innovations or café aesthetics. Is there plenty of seating? Is the coffee or tea reliably delicious? Is there a solidly bright and balanced coffee on drip? Can I grab a cup after 3 p.m. (an actual concern for us afternoon coffee and tea drinkers)? These are often my top-line criteria. With that in mind, here are some of my favorite spots for coffee and tea in Portland.

Heart Coffee

If there’s one café I flock to for reliably good coffee and window sunbathing on wintry days, it’s Heart’s Burnside Street location. Heart has been around since the early 2000s, and its legacy continues as a quality-driven small business with massive customer loyalty. I appreciate Heart for their emphasis on highlighting fruitiness and acidity in their roasting process. The coffees they source are incredibly high-quality, and it shows. I’ll happily go out of my way to buy bags of their whole-bean coffee—and use it as an excuse to hang out by their window and snack on a pastry.

Proud Mary

It’s been an interesting journey to watch Proud Mary’s strategy evolve since my move to Portland four years ago. The Melbourne-based roaster, with outposts in Austin and Portland, is constantly trying to communicate coffee’s true value to their customers—whether it’s through coffee flights served in wine glasses or unapologetically advertising $15-plus cups of deluxe pourovers, they’re not afraid to take risks. It also helps that their brunch fare is among the most popular in the city.

Roseline Coffee’s Iced Oatchata Latte | Photo by Melissa Saliski

Roseline Coffee

As a former barista during the specialty coffee wave, I’m pretty picky about my morning brews. I pay attention to grind size, and I’m hopelessly dedicated to sweetness and acidic single origins. Roseline’s coffees are always meticulously sourced and roasted, and that consistency is what keeps me coming back. Although I don’t find myself at their stunning Goats Block flagship café too often, I’m always reaching for a bag of their coffee in one of the several independent cafés in Portland.

Smith Tea

My fascination with tea arrived late, during which time Smith Tea was there to guide me. Each visit to the tearoom-warehouse is a magical experience. The staff is always so friendly, knowledgeable, and passionate, and there’s usually something new and tasty to try. This goes beyond their impressive selection of tea leaves (and tea flights) and extends to other beverages like tea lattes, seasonal beverages, and even a chai on tap. Smith also has a café in Northwest Portland, though I love its Southeast warehouse location so I can watch the production and packaging happen live.

Prepping a pourover at Super Joy.
Pour-over at SuperJoy Coffee | Photo by Aubrie LeGault

SuperJoy Coffee

Co-owner Joe Yang’s award-winning roasting experience is evident in the coffee bag selections available at his two cafés, SuperJoy Coffee, a 2022 Imbibe 75 Place to Watch. A lot of people haven’t had coffees from regions like Yunnan, China, or Chiang Rai, Thailand, but I know I can usually find them here depending on the season—and that they’re going to be fantastic. I love coming in here to chat with co-owner Topher Ou, who has the ability to speed through a line of several drinks in less than 10 minutes thanks to his background in the New York coffee scene. If I’m not getting a meticulous pour-over from him, I’ll grab one of the Chinese flavor-inspired drinks here like the osmanthus or soy sauce lattes.

Tiger Sugar Milk Tea

If you told a younger me that bubble/boba tea would be as innovative and high-quality as it is today, I’d have been skeptical. Yet here we are, with endless options when it comes to customizing boba, from adding flavored foams to burnt creme brulee tops. Although there are a dozen-plus bubble tea shops in Portland, I make the trek out to Beaverton for Tiger Sugar. The Taiwanese company popularized the namesake tea, which is characterized by muscovado sugar “stripes” painted on the inside of the cup. Beyond this, though, the pearls are the perfect balance of soft yet chewy, and the cheese foam is divine.

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