When we live and work in Portland, we often find ourselves in search of three things: a new restaurant, a parking spot, and a really good cup of coffee. Portland is the perfect city for the undone coolness that has come to define the traditional coffee shop vibe. Although some of us are so caffeine-addicted we’d prefer to get our morning jolt intravenously, this city is filled to the brim with java joints to sit down in and enjoy. Beyond keeping the people of Portland caffeinated, the coffee shops in Maine’s biggest city provide an office for those freelancers who can’t work at home, a rendezvous spot for casual first dates, and a prime place to people watch. Read on for a list of our 7 favorite Coffee Shops in Portland.
Bard Coffee | 185 Middle St.
Bard specializes in single-origin micro-lot coffee. For java newbies, hearing jargon like this may send you fleeing across the street to a chain for something more familiar. But fret not, the baristas at Bard marry espresso-nerd obsessiveness with small-town friendliness and are ready to assist you with all your coffee needs.
What we order: Step up your coffee order game by ordering their Cortado, espresso coffee mixed with dense, warm milk.
Tandem Coffee Roasters | 122 Anderson St. & 742 Congress Street
Tandem has two cafés in Portland; a small, intimate location in East Bayside houses the roastery, and the other, a former gas station and laundromat on Congress Street, is home to their bakery. Both offer a traditional menu of seasonal espresso, drip coffees, and retail bags of coffee. Two qualities make Tandem stand out amongst the others in Portland’s coffeehouse scene: their baker, Briana Holt, and their ultra-locally roasted coffee.
What we order: Malt iced coffee and a loaded biscuit. You definitely need both.
Relatively new to the Portland coffee scene, Vagabond Coffee Car is based out of a classic 1959 International Harvester with a hand-developed, unique Nitro Tap system in the back. Partnered with Nobl Coffee Brew, this smooth riding coffee car serves up a delicious Nitro Cold Brew. Hire the Vagabond for your wedding, or find it semi-serendipitously during warmer days in the Old Port.
What we order: Nitro Cold Brew, the future of iced coffee.
Coffee by Design | 620 Congress St. | 67 India St. | 43 Washington Ave. | 1 Diamond St.
For me, Coffee by Design was the coffee that began my long love affair with caffeine, now a crippling addiction. Their handcrafted micro-roasted coffee has been a mainstay in Portland for 22 years. With multiple locations across Portland—fortunately for us—it’s never too hard to find a nice hot cup of CBD.
What we order: Rebel Blend. Sales go toward the Rebel Blend Grant that is awarded to Maine artists and/or small arts organizations.
Omi’s Coffee Shop | 28 Brackett St.
Tucked neatly next to the Harbor View Memorial Park on Brackett Street, Omi’s is a West End neighborhood staple. With its chalkboard painted tables, polka dot pillows, and bright colors, Omi’s is a place for all ages to catch up, create, and indulge.
What we love to order: Pop tarts aren’t just for kids anymore, especially not these tantalizing homemade ones!
Speckled Ax | 567 Congress St.
Three words: wood roasted coffee. Speckled Ax serves wood roasted organic coffee by local roaster Matt Bolinder. His process is traditional and completely manual. One of only a handful of wood roasters in the country, Speckled Ax handles its coffee with appreciation, and you can taste it in every cup.
What we love to order: Their 2017 Good Food awarding-winning Ethiopia Bekele Dukale.
Coffee ME Up | 221 Cumberland Ave.
We first stumbled on Coffee ME Up on Cumberland Ave through the hashtag #latteart on Instagram. Newly opened last January, the Coffee ME Up Instagram boasts latte art like no other. Swans, reindeer, or cute little kittens will grace the top of your mug when you caffeinate at this new Portland coffee shop.
What we love to order: A latte, of course.