Reader Survey 2013: Best Coffeehouse in Portland

Barista Coffee Alberta

Barista Coffee – Alberta store. Photo © Tim Roth

Once again I asked the question, “what is the best coffeehouse in Portland?” As always, the results proved  interesting.

In 2012, the ranking was: 1) Ristretto Roasters, 2) Barista Coffee, 3) Stumptown Coffee, 4) Heart, 5) Coava, 6) Coffeehouse NW, and 7) Extracto. For 2013, everything has changed.

Out of 1704 votes:

1. Barista Coffee – 18.74% of the total vote. Our review

  • Barista I – Pearl District: 539 Northwest 13th Avenue, Portland. Map
  • Barista II – Alberta St.: 1725 NE Alberta St., Portland. Map
  • Barista III – 529 SW 3rd avenue, Portland 97214. Map
  • Coming soon to NW 23rd

2. Ristretto Roasters - 7.56% Our review

  • 2181 NW Nicolai St., Portland 97210  Map
  • 3808 N Williams Ave, Portland 97227  Map
  • 555 NE Couch St., Portland 97232 Map

3. Case Study Coffee – 5.90% Our review

  • 5347 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland 97221 Map
  • 802 SW 10th ave., Portland 97205 Map

4. Water Avenue Coffee 4.25% MapOur review

  • 1028 SE Water Ave., Portland 97205 Map

Social media played a place this year, with companies like Kobos, Nossa Familia, Oblique Coffee Roasters and Rose City Coffee moving up in the ranking. Some notable changes: With the exception of Barista Coffee and Ristretto Roasters, none of the coffeehouses that made last years’ list placed in the top ten in 2013. Heart Roasters, which came out of nowhere last year to place 4th, plummeted, getting only 20 votes, followed closely by Coava Coffee Roasters, Coffeehouse NW, Jim & Patty’s and Extracto. Stumptown dropped way down, receiving 18 total votes; it is interesting that they won the 2013 survey for Best Roaster, but were half way down for Best Coffeehouse.

For those who are interested, the 2011 rankings were Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Barista, Coffeehouse NW, Ristretto Roasters, Heart Coffee Roasters. For 2010: Stumptown (huge margin), Barista Pearl, Coffeehouse NW.

Later this afternoon we’ll do a drawing for the winner of the $25 gift certificate to Barista Coffee, and will be notifying them by email.

Your thoughts are welcome

  1. says

    We’re lucky to have so many coffee proprietors in town. Some of the coffee people who didn’t/couldn’t make the list – like Cory from Crank Coffee (who doesn’t have a coffeehouse) have unique and quirky business models that carry a lot of weight when I assess my personal enjoyment of coffee. Cory makes all of his metro-area deliveries by bicycle, which I think is cool. Then there is my personal favorite coffeehouse, the Marino Adriatic Cafe, featuring a marvelous cappuccino. Dario doesn’t use local coffee (or dour hipster baristas) but both his cafe & coffee carry a fun ambiance of Balkan coffee culture, especially when paired with their special baklava and the overheard voices of his sometimes Bosnian clientele. I love how the Pacific NW continues to redefine its own coffee culture, but I also like it when an establishment can incorporate other cultures into their business model. I am a fan of all the folks who made the list this year and last. Keep up the good work.

  2. James says

    We are lucky to have so many great coffee purveyors. That being said, how in the hell do ristretto and water ave. make the list? I know coffee tasting is also very subjective but the two afformentioned are some of the worst. Extracto, coava, amongst many others are do much better. I just don’t get it!!

    • says

      One thing to keep in mind, is that this is a listing of Best Coffeehouse, not roaster. Also very subjective, but in a different way. It can mean everything from the staff, the music, how cuddly the furniture is, the lighting, etc. Obviously the skills of the barista play into the equation, but only as one of many parts.

    • Galvin says

      Water Ave is always in the top three in town, Ristretto not so much. It is subjective and maybe you just don’t understand coffee?

  3. Barry says

    Get yourself to Sellwood to Either/Or Coffee. They do it right. Great espresso and cappo. The beverage flight is something special.

  4. says

    I’d be curious to see a map of voters home and/or work locations overlaid with proximity to their chosen café. I think to a certain degree (esp. with our coffee scene being where it is now) proximity is everything and this alleged preference is hardly anything more than the most convenient shop that makes decent coffee. Thoughts?

    p.s. also to be considered—the only people voting are the ones who are aware that PFD even exists. Do these people represent the city’s preferences at large in a reliable way?

    • Jill-O says

      Tim, that’s why it’s called a “Reader Survey” – it’s a survey of the readers of this site. ;o)

      And I totally agree with you about frequenting the closest coffeehouse to you. But, here’s a twist for me, personally, the place I frequent the most, that is closest/on the way to work (for the record, Bipartisan) – I think it mostly sucks and would never vote for it. The coffee is mediocre Stumptown, the baked goods are sometimes stale (and even when not, they are seldom good), and they screw up orders all the time. But the mediocre coffee I pick up there is the best I can find on my way to work when I zip up 82nd to Columbia.

      Someone, (Nancy? ;o) please open a good coffeehouse near 82nd!!

      I love Cellar Door, Coava, Oblique, Courier, but I can only get to those on the weekend…

      • says

        Tim, I would be interested in that kind of data too, but IP addresses don’t give us that kind of granularity, and, as I don’t like to fill out a lot of demographic data myself, I’m loath to ask readers for that information. However, I think waiting until I have at least 1000 votes (or 1700 in this case), this creates a bigger spread.

        I frequently visit a coffeehouse near my house, as I am er… physically challenged. I don’t particularly like the business, but it is convenient. However, I never even considered voting for it as best coffeehouse. I like to think that people can separate “Best” from “Most Convenient”.

        With some coffeehouses raising prices to the $4 point for a cappuccino, I have to wonder if that has also played a part in the results. I’ve heard several comments from coffee drinkers that the price point is more than they are willing to pay.

        • says

          I understand all of these points and am glad to hear that at least the two of you wouldn’t vote for most convenient. Sometimes I don’t give people enough credit for being savvy to these differences. And Jill-O, I can definitely agree with you on Bipartisan. I love that there is a coffee shop out there and have had good experiences with their pie, but it is mostly a lost opportunity to serve great coffee.

  5. James says

    I like the discussion of proximity. I’m sure that has some baring. Extracto is right by my house but I think it is legitimately one of the best. Coava is no where close but I feel the same about them. There are coffee houses that are close though that I wouldn’t think about frequenting.

    • psp2pdx says

      I’ll walk or drive for a great cup of coffee… I in fact live closest (walking) to one of the Barista coffee houses but my favorite is Ristretto off Nicolai……out of the way but great coffee, service, and baked goods. It’s my go to place to meet or take friends for good coffee.

      Quiet, comfortable with a little retail to boot. What’s not to like….a home run (IMHO) for Nancy.

  6. psp2pdx says

    I’ll walk or drive for a great cup of ‘Joe’…….I in fact live closest (walking) to one of the Barista coffee houses but my favorite is Ristretto off Nicolai……out of the way but great coffee, service, and baked goods. It’s my go to place to meet or take friends for good coffee.

    Quiet, comfortable with a little retail to boot. What’s not to like….a home run (IMHO) for Nancy.

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