: Tōv Coffee

Portland’s Top Unique Cafes

Experience Portland’s many cultures in these diverse coffee shops across the city and beyond.
December 6, 2023

Sometimes you can help communities do good while you sip an espresso. In Portland, it’s easy to find cafes committed to diversity and equity work, like offering language training to immigrants or advocating for Native American communities. Others stand out because they source ingredients with specific cultures in mind, like single-origin Vietnamese coffee beans, which help those countries support sustainable products. Here are some of our favorite globally inspired and advocacy-focused cafes to visit so you can do good while sipping your boba.

Single sneakers on display in a basketball themed coffeeshop
Fresh sneakers on display at the sneaker-themed cafe, Deadstock Coffee. Photo by Justin Katigbak/ Travel Portland

Coffee and Tea From Around the World

Those who enjoy Vietnamese coffee won’t want to miss Portland Cà Phê. Founder and longtime barista Kim Dam sources the cafe’s arabica and robusta beans exclusively from the central highlands of Vietnam and roasts them in Portland. Choose from four house coffee blends for your cappuccino or try rotating Vietnamese drinks, like cà phê muối (salted coffee) and cà phê sữa đá (iced coffee with condensed milk). Both the Southeast and Northeast Portland locations also carry lattes with house-made ube syrup and cheese foam — a mixture of whipped cream, cream cheese and a dash of sea salt. Pair your drink with a banh mi sandwich or mochi-like rice-flour doughnuts. 

Located in a historic building in the Northwest Portland industrial district, Electrica is a partnership between Angel Medina, founder of the República family of Mexican restaurants, and Japanese tea aficionado Seiji Nanbu. Both coffee people and tea people will find something they love at this stylish mash-up cafe, thanks to coffee blends from sister business Reforma Coffee Roasters. One unique creation is the nutty, full-bodied Saikyo latte with sweet white miso and caramel, topped with sesame sugar. Take yours dairy-free with oat milk at no extra charge.

Stop by ​​Tōv Coffee in Southeast Portland — a cute cafe that has a second seasonal location in a double-decker bus down the street from its brick and mortar — for Egyptian and Turkish coffee. Owner Joe Nazir mixes up delicious drinks and adds his own flair with combos like the Mucho Caliente, a dark-chocolate mocha with aji panca chili sauce. The seating area is beautifully done  in Middle Eastern decor — sit and enjoy traditional Egyptian coffee service and pastries.

Exterior of Bison coffeehouse. Small shop, logo features a print of a bison head.
Indigenous-owned and family-operated, Bison Coffeehouse showcases local and Native blends. Courtesy of Bison Coffeehouse

Representation and Inclusivity in Cafe Spaces

In Portland’s Cully neighborhood, Bison Coffeehouse is an Indigenous-owned, family-operated coffee shop dedicated to fostering community and showcasing local and Native products. Sip on blends from Indigenous coffee roasters from around the country. The namesake bison is a symbol of resilience to the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe and also represents owner Loretta Guzman’s steadfast commitment to advocacy work with organizations like Buffalo Field Campaign and Future Generations Collaborative.

In downtown Portland, you’ll find Black-owned and sneaker-themed Deadstock Coffee. Founder Ian Williams, a former footwear developer at Nike and part of a collective that won a James Beard media award in 2023, displays his love of sneakers as part of the decor. There’s no formal drink menu — rely on the classics or ask the staff for suggestions. Steamed-milk drinks, like the chocolaty mocha, come with sneaker latte art. While you’re there, pick up a bag of Fresh Prince single-origin Ethiopian coffee beans or a “Coffee Should Be Dope” T-shirt.

With a vibe somewhere between a coffee shop and a queer bar, Either/Or is a neighborhood favorite to grab Tanglewood chai lattes and breakfast sandwiches by day and cocktails and burgers by night in Northeast Portland. The menu also includes dishes like fried rice and wonton soup, similar to those that owner Ro Tam ate during her childhood at her family’s Chinese restaurant. Tam has created an inclusive, safe space where Portland’s LGBTQ+ community can gather for Queer Soup Nights to fundraise for nonprofit organizations, as well as Pride events and queer karaoke nights.

A cup of latter with a pegasus print made from milk foam
Baristas at Jubilee serve up foam art on lattes. Courtesy of Jubilee Hall

Coffee Shops Advocating for Their Communities

At East Portland’s Blackburn Center, Jubilee Hall empowers immigrants and refugees with job skills and English-language training in a coffee-shop setting. The nonprofit’s mission is based on founder Sam Khaute’s personal experiences: When he first arrived in the U.S. from India, he found it challenging to find a job. Today Khaute helps others get their foot in the door. Enjoy Cafe Diaspora drip coffee and Desi Chai with rose syrup with breakfast sandwiches, or support the mission with a donation.

If you’re headed east from Portland, check out AntFarm Cafe and Bakery — located about 30 miles southeast in Sandy — which supports at-risk youth in the area through life-changing programs, offering alcohol and drug prevention and educational services. Students learn valuable vocational skills with the help of adult mentors and tutors. Learn more about AntFarm’s work by dropping by for a macchiato with a sourdough Belgian waffle with whipped cream or one of their fresh salads and rotating soups.

About The

Waz Wu
Waz Wu is a vegan food writer and content creator in Portland. When she’s not writing, she enjoys exploring Portland restaurants, veganizing recipes, and cuddling her two cats Chloe and Tony.

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