If there's one thing the PNW is known for it's rain. Second would be having great coffee shops to escape the rain. In the last few dry days of the year, I wanted to find my own perfect little spot in the city where I could plop down with my laptop and stare out the window melodramatically while My Chemical Romance blasted through my headphones.
There are literally dozens to choose from and finding "THE BEST" coffee shop is difficult since everyone's tastes are different. I decided to narrow down my search to find the most unique and inviting coffee shops, and choose the best from that list. After all, it wouldn't be Portland if it wasn't a little weird. So, without further ado, here are the top 3 most unique coffee shops in Portland, Oregon!
1. TOV | SE 32nd & Hawthorne
The first stop on the journey is very Portland. It's a food truck. Or rather, a food bus! TōV is a double decker bus that serves Egyptian coffee and tea, along with the perfect cookies to go along with them! The owner, Joe Nazir, brings a mix of Turkish and Egyptian coffees and drinks to rainy Portland in one of the coolest food trucks I've ever visited.
The coffee is made to order and even the vanilla bean is handmade. The coffee shop is downstairs, along with an assortment of jewelry (medium-priced). I unfortunately don't like coffee, but I was told their Turkish coffee and mint drinks are TO DIE FOR. Instead, I got a chai tea and a cookie. There are a few seats downstairs, but since someone was already parked with her laptop at the table downstairs, I headed up. Upstairs is a lot more spacious and even has couches and heated lamps. I went during around noon, so it was plenty bright, but I feel like the mood would be set just right once the sun went down and all the fairy lights upstairs were turned on. So, how was my chai?
It was delicious. Now, my personal preference is that I don't like a STRONG chai latte. I enjoy very mild flavors and something that won't completely burn my tongue off. They achieved the goal. The temperature was perfect. The chai had a unique flavor, but it wasn't too strong so it was good. THE COOKIE THO. It was the best I had ever tasted in my entire life. If you don't order that cookie with your drink, you will never know true fulfillment. TōV is situated in a little corner with a few other food trucks. The ambience was very very cozy. It was a beautiful day, but I almost wanted it a thunderstorm to roll through just so I could cuddle up on one of the couches and watch the cars pass on the street. That said, it isn't library-quiet. There is the hum of the cars on the street, customers at the other food booth, and the bus isn't too big so when it gets crowded it gets louder as well.
2. Dapper and Wise | 3158 SE Division Street
This one isn't so much unique as it is super cute and, well, dapper. Located on the corner of a busy street, I would say parking is the only concern. I did end up finding parking about a block away, so it wasn't too bad. It's in a very central location, close to tons of boutiques and excellent food options (Teabar and Pok Pok anyone??) so it's a perfect spot to stop for coffee in the middle of your Portland adventures.
The inside has a modern chic feel, like if Target suddenly came out with a cafe furniture line. There isn't a lot of seating, but they do share additional indoor seating with the apartment next door, so you'll be able to find a spot to enjoy your brew.
They have a lot of unique flavors (oh Portland), so my chai was infused with ginger. It was...alright. Honestly, it wasn't my favorite, but it was the perfect temperature. And they have so many different kinds of tea, coffee, and drink blends with tons of original mixings and local ingredients so you're sure to find something to tickle your tongue. Is that a weird saying? Tickle your tongue? You know what I mean. Anyways. The atmosphere was very chill. Most people were working on their laptops or enjoying their drinks alone. I was talking - as usual - and no one minded, but I feel like if I was in a really big group, we would have been given the 'can u pls be quiet' stares from the other customers. We also might not have found seats. So I would recommend this place for smaller groups or solo outings.
3. Behind the Museum | 1229 SW 10th Ave
I was too excited (aka hyped up on chai tea) and I forgot to take a picture of the outside, but I would have to say Behind the Museum Cafe is my favorite of the three. They offer house made snacks and sandwiches, but unfortunately I arrived to late (20 minutes before closing orz) and their kitchen was already closed for the day. I ordered my standard chai and sat at one of the wooden tables, surrounded by traditional Japanese antiques and art.
Menu wise, literally get anything matcha, but I loved my chai tea as well. They also have artwork and crafts lining the walls and the cafe frequently hosts tea and incense ceremonies, flower arrangements, and calligraphy events. I will say that the atmosphere is very quiet and peaceful. Definitely a 'use your inside voice' type of place. If you need a quiet place to work on homework or just browse Etsy, this is your place! Plenty of street parking and indoor seating, so that is always a plus.
So there you have it! My top 3 quirky cafes in Portland, Oregon! Which ones are you adding to your list?
Thanks to Kalilah off of The Awkward Traveller
Hey everyone! Just call me K. I'm a weird 20-something fumbling through life as I balance a full time job that has nothing to do with any of my degrees, writing self-proclaimed bestseller fiction novels, damaging my eyesight by sitting too close to the TV, and embarrassing myself as a travel the globe.
I am looking forward to hitting these up next year! I want that Chai now. Been to Portland and have your fave caffeine spot? Hit me up below so I can add to my ever growing list :)