Coffee Guide: Café Velo

Cafe Velo Portland

Cafe Velo. ©Tim Roth, Pupil Photo

Coffee and Bicycling are close cultural twins in Portland. The city has a reputation near and far for being an epicenter of both. Add to this equation Portland’s passion for food carts, and Café Velo appears to be the natural evolution in the Portland coffee scene.

What started as a single pedal-powered coffee cart in 2008, Café Velo has now expanded to include a small fleet, as well as a postage stamp sized storefront café on SW 6th and Pine St. The café serves all the traditional espresso and coffee drinks Portlanders know, at a level of quality they have come to expect. They also carry lots of savory sandwiches, soups, salads and baked treats. The Velo side of Café Velo however, continues to offer two-wheeled powered made-to-order pour-overs at farmers markets, festivals and on regular daily routes throughout the city. Seeing one of Velo’s custom  sleek carts, is a fun sight to behold, looking like something straight out of other bicycle cities such as Amsterdam or Copenhagen. Indeed, Velo uses a  Bakfiet  from the Netherlands, which is an industrial looking three-wheeler used by the Dutch for commercial delivery service.

Coffee at Velo ranges from single origin Stumptown, to roating guest beans, such as Sterling Coffee Roasters. Tea is also available, as are iced drinks in the summer months. Just don’t expect espresso drinks – even Fred Flinstone couldn’t figure out how to do a manual, people-powered machine light enough for bicycle hauling, yet strong enough for proper steam pressure. I like Café Velo because they are a shining example of how simplicity in design can often be both practical, a thing of beauty, and most importantly, yield high-quality results.

Outside of their bricks and mortar café location, look for Café Velo at the Saturday PSU Farmers Market and the Sunday Irvington Farmers market, as well as other spots here and there throughout the week.

Address: 600 SW Pine St., Portland 97205 Map

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