Hey Happy | Victoria, BC

We recently returned from a family trip to British Columbia. We checked out Victoria, Whistler, and Vancouver, and had so much fun. It is absolutely gorgeous! The trees and mountains and cliffs and water all combine to make something quite magical. Even the rainy, foggy days were beautiful in their own way. Before we left home, I had selected a few coffee shops that I wanted to try. Even after narrowing it down, I chose too many to try, but we did enjoy a lot of good coffee.

After spending a night at a super cute tiny home in the woods near Port Angeles, WA, we took a ferry to Victoria, BC. We got in at about 3:30, which gave us enough time to check into our Airbnb just outside of downtown and take a bus to our first coffee shop of the trip: Hey Happy.

Hey Happy was quite possibly my favorite coffee shop of the trip. It is in a bustling part of town, nestled amongst a variety of shops and restaurants, near the water, walking distance from Parliament. The shop itself has huge front windows, white walls, wood tables, and a bright green accent wall behind the counter. They serve the usual drinks, a few coffee based specials, and a few coffee-free specials. They also serve amazing-looking pastries. We were super tempted to get the homemade “Oreos”, but since we were heading straight for dinner, we resisted.

I ordered the cashew latte, which is a latte made with house cashew milk. I’m a sucker for good housemade milks, so I had to give it a try. Remington got their single-origin espresso, a Kenyan. Everly and Jude got a steamer, which I have started to bring our own cup for. Getting a ceramic cup for them is sometimes stressful, but I hate using a disposable cup, so, I started carrying an 8oz Pura bottle for them. In addition to being metal, and therefore unbreakable, and also not disposable, it has the benefit of having a lid that completely seals, so if they don’t finish their drink, I can put the lid on and throw it in my backpack without getting milk everywhere.

The latte and espresso came in unique handleless ceramics with a textured glaze. The espresso came on a board with water and a spoon. I didn’t take notes, so I don’t remember specific flavor notes, but both the espresso and the cashew milk latte were lovely. Even Remington (who doesn’t prefer alternative milks) was impressed with the cashew milk latte. It was so smooth and creamy, and had a mild flavor that didn’t get in the way of the espresso.

After our coffee date, we headed to dinner nearby at The Drake Eatery. We then walked through Fan Tan Alley (everything was already closed, but it still looked cool), got some dessert at Beavertails, and walked around near the harbor and by the Parliament buildings. After the sun set, we took a double-decker bus back to our Airbnb. It was a lovely evening. Weather was perfectly warm and sunny, the coffee and food were wonderful, and Victoria really is beautiful.

If you ever make it to Victoria, I highly recommend Hey Happy for coffee. The location is convenient for sightseeing and window shopping and the quality is superb. You can expect an overview of the coffee shops we visited in British Columbia in the next couple weeks, but I wanted to highlight Hey Happy, because it was really fantastic.

Neckar Coffee | Boise, Idaho

Neckar Coffee

117 S 10th Street

Boise, Idaho 83702

March 2019

This year, Remington and I decided to take a three-day weekend to explore the PNW as a family each month. Having that intentional exploration and family time on a regular basis has been great. This month, we went to Boise, Idaho, to watch my sister in a production of Into the Woods. She’s graduating college this year (with a double major in biology and music!), and we still hadn’t been to any of her musicals. She was excited about her role (the baker’s wife), and since Boise isn’t too far, we made it happen. Of course, while we were in town, we went to a couple coffee shops. I recently was made aware of some new coffee shops in Boise, and wanted to check them out. One of them was Neckar Coffee in downtown Boise.

Back when Remington and I lived in Boise, I remember going to Neckar Coffee’s pour-over bar at the farmer’s market. We ordered a coffee and chatted with those working at the stand for about half a minute, because it was super popular and busy. We were really excited then that excellent third wave coffee was finally coming to Boise. Since then, a few great shops have opened up (you can expect a guide to Boise coffee from me in about two months), and as of less than a year ago, Neckar is now in its own brick-and-mortar shop.

Neckar Coffee is located just a couple blocks from where they used to set up shop at the farmer’s market. The space has an elegant, minimalist + retro feel. There is a lot of white: walls, counter, tables, but the warm wood floors and rusty red velvet bench all along the right side of the shop ensure that it feels warm and welcoming. Retro light fixtures over the bar and the minimalist decor adds to the overall vibe, with the espresso machine and pour over bar holding a prominent spot in the decor.

When we went in, they had a Kenyan coffee for all drinks: espresso-based and pour over. I ordered a macchiato. It was good, but I think it would have been a lot better with oat milk; regular milk mutes some of the unique flavors of a Kenyan coffee, in my opinion. Remington ordered an espresso and a pour over, both of which were very tasty. The espresso had a bright hibiscus acidity, a cinnamon spiciness, and a surprisingly creamy body. My mom ordered an oat milk cappuccino, which confirmed my suspicion that the espresso would be really good with oat milk: it was excellent. Everly and Jude split a steamer, as usual, and also ordered an almond croissant to split. The croissant was absolutely amazing; I highly recommend a pastry if you end up going to Neckar. All of the drinks came in super unique ceramics.

Since my parents joined us at the coffee shop, Everly and Jude were quite occupied by my dad dragging them across the floor with his crutch. They were a bit more noisy than I would usually be comfortable with, but no one seemed bothered, and we didn’t stay for an extended time. As far as family-friendliness goes, I can’t give it a rating, as I forgot to check the bathroom for a changing table. There are no child-specific amenities, but if you are okay with being very hands-on with your children, there is no reason not to bring them. The shop is spacious and at least when we went there, finding a table was easy. The shop was on the quieter side, but not overly so.

As far as tech goes, Neckar is unique in that it is the first shop I have encountered with a full manual espresso machine: a Bosco Sorrento Lever machine. As owner of a manual espresso machine, I was impressed and intrigued. The grinders were all by Mahlkonig, and the pour overs were done on ceramic Hario V60s. I didn’t ask to confirm, but it looked like they were using Acacia Pearl scales for pour overs.

If you are in Boise for any reason, Neckar Coffee is an excellent choice for coffee. It would be especially well suited for working, meeting a friend, or just grabbing a cup to go. If you stop by, let me know what you think!

PALATE

PALATE

Bend, OR

This past weekend, Remington, the children, and I drove over to Bend, OR for the weekend. Sledding at Mt. Bachelor was our primary goal, but we also got in a hike at Smith Rock and enjoyed plenty of good food and coffee. We go to Thump Coffee and Crowsfeet Commons nearly every time we go to Bend. This time was no exception, but we also managed to go to a third coffee shop that I don’t think we had tried before. PALATE is located near the Old Mill District, conveniently on the way to Mt. Bachelor, but well before you get out of town.

PALATE is located in a classic house, as are many of the businesses in that area. The interior is defined by dark wood, plants, and windows along the front. I will admit, the interior felt a bit crowded. It was a Saturday morning and plenty of people were there hanging out, or grabbing coffee to go. The line weaved through tables towards the front door and it was a little challenging to navigate with children without them bumping into the people sitting at tables to either side of the line. Of course, people were friendly and generally unconcerned about being bumped into or being observed by a curious four year old.

They serve Coava Coffee. As you would find at a Coava shop, PALATE offers two different single origin espresso options for all espresso-based drinks. They had several milk alternative options, all by Pacific. When we came, the offerings were a Kenyan and a Colombian. Rem got the Kenyan as straight espresso and I got the Colombian in a macchiato. We also ordered a steamer and a cookie for Everly and Jude. We found seats at the bar along the front window and the kids started in on the cookie while we waited for the rest of our drinks.

The espresso came out in an adorable green demitasse with the usual spoon and sparkling water. It was good, although it tasted a little unevenly extracted. The macchiato was delightful. I ordered it breve and the combination of a Colombian espresso with a touch of half and half is almost always a winner. I really enjoyed it. Everly and Jude really enjoyed the cookie and steamer.

Everly kept herself occupied at the coffee shop tearing up a napkin and making a collage with the pieces. Jude was content to eat his cookie and drink his steamer. We ended up needing to change Alistair’s diaper while we were there. It’s usually hit or miss with changing a baby’s diaper at a coffee shop, “Will they have a changing table? Am I going to have to put a blanket down on the floor to change him?” Much to my relief, they did have a table that functioned well as a changing table for a baby. For it’s level of family-friendliness, I would give PALATE a 6 out of 10: if you are already comfortable with taking your children into coffee shops and don’t mind having to be very hands on, it’s a great option for getting some coffee. They don’t have any books or toys for children, a children’s corner, or complimentary kid’s drinks, but it’s not library-quiet, and there was no “adults only” vibe. Having our children there didn’t seem awkward or unwelcome. Plus, the changing table makes it a great stop on your way to Mt. Bachelor even if you’re just running in to grab some coffee and change a diaper before hitting the slopes.

Overall, I would recommend PALATE as a great stop on your way to Mt. Bachelor, or just as a place to get coffee in Bend, with or without your family. The vibe felt very “Bend”: casual, outdoors oriented, unpretentious, welcoming. If you give it a try, let me know! I’d love to know what you thought.

Push X Pull

Push X Pull

821 SE Stark St

Portland, OR 97214

I’m back! I am so excited to be sharing a coffee shop adventure again, after a too-long hiatus. We both moved and had a baby since my last post, but we are still in the Portland metro area and also still going to coffee shops as a family. Yes, even with three children ages 4 and under. Our most recent trip was to Push X Pull in Portland. They opened last year and we have been in a few times so far.

The first impression of Push X Pull is formed by wood, metal (mostly painted blue), light yellow walls, and a polished concrete floor which gives a unique, industrial/modern feel. Natural light streams in from the large windows. Behind the counter, mugs, a couple plants, and random coffee gear, as well as old fashioned speakers with Pendleton-esque covers ensure that the vibe isn’t too pretentious. Coffee roasting takes place on-site in a roaster located in the far right corner of the shop. Seating includes a bar along a portion of the windowed perimeter of the shop, a large table in the center, a couple smaller tables just to the left of the door, a couple seats at the counter near the espresso machine, and a leather couch with coffee table in one corner. In nice weather, there are also a few small tables outside on the sidewalk.

Push X Pull regularly has two different single-origin espresso options, and multiple options for pour-over. Of course, they have the usual milk drinks as well. They carry Oatly milk, which is one of my favorite milk-alternative options. The origins available for espresso when we went were an Ethiopia Guji, natural process, and a natural process Nicaragua. It’s hard to pass up a good natural process espresso, so we ordered one of each and got a steamer for the kids.

The Nicaragua was amazing. It was full and flavorful with a thick, creamy mouthfeel. It took me back to one of the first really good shots of espresso I had in Portland, so I didn’t try to analyze, I just enjoyed it. We could tell that the Ethiopia Guji was going to be great from the first smell; the floral aroma was incredible. Following that up with a delicate acidity and satsuma sweetness, with a red fruit juiciness, it was the epitome of Ethiopian coffee. We were both blown away by the amazing-ness. Everly and Jude enjoyed their steamer as well as a couple tastes of espresso.

Push X Pull is an excellent choice for coffee in Portland, and a worthy addition to the collection of shops already in existence. It would be a fine place to work or study or catch up with friends or a good book. Also, there is a leather couch, which in my husband’s book, automatically makes a shop worth frequenting.

Have you been to Push X Pull? Where have you been to coffee this week?

Kiosko

Kiosko
1816 SW River Drive
Portland, OR 97201

It was a sunny summer morning when Remington, Everly, Jude, and I visited Kiosko for the first time. Owned by Angel and Lucy, who also run Smalltime Roasters, Kiosko is a brand-new coffee shop in SW Portland near the river. It is located inside South Waterfront City Park in a tiny (just over 200 sq ft) building. The location is lovely, near hotels, restaurants, and parking. South Waterfront park is gorgeous, right near the river, with lots of flowers and places for picnics.

The interior may be small, but thanks to the many windows, retractable window over the bar, and open doors, it did not feel cramped at all. The interior blends seamlessly into the outdoor seating, making it feel like a big, open, airy space. The counter and machines are along one wall of the shop with a bar on the opposite side of the shop, looking out towards the outdoor seating. Outside there are three small tables. The vibe inside is comfortably modern with white walls and chairs, black accents, and wood counters. Unique light fixtures add interest, and potted plants simply continue the lush and green vibe coming in from the surroundings. It is not possible to overstate how many windows this small space has. It is delightful with lots of natural light.

We had met Angel and Lucy at the triangulation that we had gone to in May, which is what turned us on to their new coffee shop. They were both working at the shop when we came by and it was great to chat with them and hear how they got started in coffee and of their vision with Kiosko. They serve both Smalltime Roasters and Junior’s Roasted Coffee in espresso drinks and pour overs. They offer three different styles of pour over, depending on how much coffee you want: Chemex, Hario V60, and Copper Flower, which is their own invention and available for purchase on the merchandise shelves, along with Margaret and Beau mugs. They also offer two different styles of cold coffee: traditional cold brew and Japanese iced coffee. Their milk-based drinks include cortaditos, cappuccinos, and lattes. The cortaditos are available in three different styles: Mexican, Cuban, and Brazilian. The menu looks very simple and is not at all overwhelming, but there are a lot of options. Something for everyone!

We ended up trying quite a few drinks off the menu. I ordered an espresso, as usual. This was their Kiosko blend, 60% Mexican coffee and 40% Ethiopian roasted by Smalltime Roasters. The espresso was served with sparkling water and had a lighter body with lime acidity, fresh peach and nutty sweetness, and a dark cocoa finish. The combination of the Mexican/Ethiopian coffee was really unique and worked well together.

Remington got a Japanese iced coffee with Ethiopian coffee roasted by Smalltime. Everly got both a marionberry lemonade and a vanilla steamer, which came in an adorable vintage plastic mug. Of course Everly loved her drinks. Remington also enjoyed his iced coffee. We also ended up trying the Brazilian cortadito (a tasty and not-too-sweet coffee treat) and the Ethiopian coffee brewed in the copper flower. The copper flower is such a neat invention, and if you’re interested in a single cup of coffee, I recommend trying it. It was a blast to taste so much coffee while dialoguing about process, beans, and inspiration.

We really enjoyed our visit to Kiosko and will definitely be back. I would heartily recommend it to anyone heading to South Waterfront Park, getting coffee-to-go in that area, or who wants a space filled with natural light to hang out at for a bit. In nice weather, it would be a fantastic place to go with a friend or with family and sit outdoors. There is plenty of room for kids to move around and play (Everly and Jude loved climbing around on some tree roots nearby).

Have you been to Kiosko? What coffee shops have you visited lately?

Slow by Slow Coffee

Slow by Slow Coffee
403 S 8th Street
Boise, ID 83702

Remington, Everly, Jude, and I recently took a road trip to see our family in southeastern Idaho. On our way, we were able to stop in Boise to visit my sister and check out some of the local coffee and food. We went to three different coffee shops: The District Coffeehouse on 10th and Bannock in downtown Boise, the Flying M Coffee Garage in Nampa, and Slow by Slow Coffee on 8th Street in the Bodo district of downtown Boise. There is plenty to say about each of the shops, but Slow by Slow most embodies the specialty coffee niche I’m writing about. They are a multi-roaster shop with Ritual Coffee being their mainstay.

Slow by Slow is located in a historic brick building next to boutiques and restaurants. The interior is unique with the counter on the main floor to the left and the sitting area about five steps up, farther back in the building. The floor downstairs is black and white hex tile, the counters black and wood, the back wall brick. There are several large windows and some plants by their merchandise shelf where they sell coffee and coffee making supplies, coffee mugs, shirts, and RX Bars. For free are handy 5×7 cards with brewing instructions for various methods of brewing from Ritual. Even if you already know how to use your brewer of choice, they have nice looking illustration on them and would be a lovely addition to the coffee brewing section of your kitchen. (You do have an entire section of your kitchen devoted solely to coffee brewing, right?) Upstairs floors are black-painted-wood, chairs and tables are woods and metal, walls and trim are black and white or brick. Lighting is not as good upstairs as there are no outside windows. There are three large tables and a couple small tables, as well as a bar looking over the counter area.

The menu includes two espresso options (Ritual’s Acid Test blend and an Ethiopian when I went in), pour over options from three different roasters, available hot or iced, and the usual milk drinks. The barista was friendly and willing to go over any questions we had. I ordered the Acid Test espresso and my sister ordered an iced Costa Rican pour over. We got our drinks and took a seat at one of the small tables to wait for Remington and Everly (who later ordered the Ethiopian espresso and raspberry danish, respectively).

The espresso was really pleasant. It was mildly sweet with a rose aroma, raw sugar sweetness, and grapefruit note which had both acidic and bitter qualities about it. I loved the gentleness, the complexity, and the rose. I love flowers in my espresso.

As far as coffee shops in Idaho go, Slow by Slow is a must-try. I really appreciate their dedication to sourcing quality beans and training well, as well as their effort to bring the Boise coffee scene up a notch. It would be an excellent space for coming with friends, stopping by on your way to the Saturday market, as a place to study or read or write in peace, or as a caffeinated start to an early date. But really, whatever reason you have for visiting a coffee shop, if you’re in the Boise area, Slow by Slow is a great choice.

Where have you enjoyed coffee this week?

Kainos Coffee

Kainos Coffee
6633 NE Sandy Blvd
Portland, OR 97213

Getting coffee while on a date is pretty standard for Remington and I. We both love trying new roasters, experiencing new spaces, and meeting new people. We also both love drinking espresso. Whether we’re hitting up an old favorite or trying a shop we recently heard about, we almost always start our date with coffee. On a Monday evening, we had the opportunity to go on an early evening date. I had been hearing about Kainos Coffee on NE Sandy; since they stay open until 6p and are right across the street from a delicious-looking pizza restaurant, we decided to give it a try.

The shop is located in the Roseway neighborhood of Portland right next to an alterations shop. They have a small parking lot and some outdoor seating. The space isn’t large, but feels comfortable. There is a small bar on the right as you come in, merchandise on the wall adjacent, and the register and white Rocket espresso machine straight ahead. To the left is the majority of their seating, several small tables and another bar, as well as their totally Instagrammable mural which adds a fun and creative focal point. Floors are tile and walls are white, with the exception of the mural wall and black behind the counter. Below the register is painted teal. Tables are wood, chairs are black, white, or teal. The vibe is very fun and energetic.

Marten, one of the owners and barista on shift, greeted us when we arrived and answered questions about their menu and offerings. The menu includes the usual espresso, macchiato, cappuccino, latte, cold brew, and drip, as well as Happy Mountain kombucha, tea, and apple juice for those not into coffee (or just really into kombucha). Remington and I each ordered an espresso. I ordered the Freakin’ Yum, which is a blend of Guatemalan, Honduran, and Ethiopian coffees. Remington ordered the single origin Ethiopian. He also ordered a cold brew, which is also made with the Freakin’ Yum blend. Marten also gave us a sample of the drip coffee to compare, as it is also made with Freakin’ Yum.

The espresso really impressed me. Especially for being a blend, it had some distinct notes that worked well together. It was delightful on its own and would be great with milk as well. It was very juicy and fruity with a grapefruit acidity, muskmelon sweetness, and a lingering herbaceous flavor. I was surprised how well that same blend worked in the cold brew and drip coffee. I don’t drink a lot of cold brew, but it was one of the best that I’ve tried.

As we were the only customers in the shop, we were able to talk with Marten for a while about specialty coffee, community, and vision. What really stands out about Kainos is their commitment to being a valuable part of the local community and meeting people where they’re at, as well as their commitment to donate 21% of their profits to support orphans in the Philippines. It’s exciting to see a coffee shop making such a large impact in the world at large. You can learn more about what Kainos is doing in the Philippines at their website: kainoscoffeepdx.com.

Overall, we enjoyed our time at Kainos. It was a really fun and unique atmosphere, and Marten’s passion for coffee, community, and making a difference was inspiring. Because of the unpretentious, community-oriented vibe, I would recommend Kainos to anyone looking for a great cup of coffee or espresso in the Roseway area. It would be a nice place to come with a friend, with family in nice weather (more seating outside), or to work on a laptop, especially utilizing a bar seat.

Have you tried Kainos yet? What were your thoughts?

Case Study Coffee Roasters

Case Study Coffee Roasters
1422 NE Alberta Street
Portland, OR 97211

Remington, Everly, Jude, and I visited Case Study Coffee’s location on Alberta Street on an early Friday afternoon. It was amazingly sunny and warm, and we were enjoying a lovely day off together. Opened in 2010, Case Study Coffee has three different locations: NE Sandy Blvd, SW 10th, and their NE Alberta location. Their location on Alberta is located in a unique, almost warehouse-style building in between brunch and shopping. They have a tree out front that has gorgeous blooms, if you happen to stop by in the springtime. They also have a large garage door in the front of the shop that they open in nice weather, making it an excellent place to go in the summertime.

Cobbled concrete floors, wood + white walls, wood accents, orange chairs, exposed ceiling, and interesting lighting fixtures (including a chandelier shaped like a caffeine molecule) give Case Study a very unique vibe, even among Case Study locations. The photos of coffee farms and coffee cherries on the walls, as well as the roaster in the back, give evidence of the process and the people involved in crafting each drink, even before the espresso machines and baristas. Seating includes a long bench and three tables with chairs on the main floor, where most conversational coffee shop goers seem to gravitate, and in the loft, often used by those on computers or doing quiet work, a large table and several smaller ones. There are also a few small outdoor tables on the side of the building, and two larger ones in the front, along with some kids’ seating in between the two.

The Case Study menu seems quite standard at first glance. There are espresso drinks and coffee, tea and hot chocolate. The drinking chocolate on the menu stands out as unique, as does the house made chai. They also serve kombucha, which is not a standard coffee shop offering. They have housemade syrups for flavored lattes and mochas, and seasonal specialty drinks. They regularly offer two different single origin espresso options. All of those things can be found at some other Portland area specialty shops, but their four different coffee offerings for pour overs (done on a Kalita Wave) really sets Case Study apart. Occasionally the offerings go together, such as four coffees from the same region processed four different ways. Other times they are just a variety of in-season coffees. Either way, we have always had good experiences with Case Study’s pour overs.

The baristas described their espresso offerings for us – one from Nicaragua and one from Guatemala – and gave us time to decide on a drink. Remington and I each got an espresso. I chose the Guatemala and Remington chose Nicaragua. Everly got a cup of milk. Since it was such a gorgeous day, we opted to sit outside and found a spot at one of the outdoor tables, near the kids’ seating area, which Everly was very excited about. The espresso came with the usual accoutrements. The Guatemalan was full and juicy with tart cherry acidity, brown sugar sweetness, with a lavender essence throughout. I really enjoyed it, especially as floral notes are my absolute favorite.

Everly enjoyed her milk and my sparkling water, and loved sitting on a kid-sized bench with her drinks. She also spent some time climbing a tree and playing with Jude in the gravel on the ground. The outdoor area with space for the kids to play around was lovely. It allowed us substantially more time at the coffee shop than we would have had were we indoors, since children (or at least my children) prefer moving around and making noise over sitting quietly, tasting drinks, and writing “notes.” Although Everly does enjoy that too, just not for as long. (Did I mention that last time we visited Case Study, Everly got upset and threw a glass into the wall, causing it to shatter when it hit the ground?) Sometimes our kids look like perfectly behaved angels in coffee shops, and other times I’m a little embarrassed to be present. Nevertheless, if we never took them out, they’d never behave well at a coffee shop, and the pleasant times far outweigh the challenging ones.

Overall, our experience at Case Study was excellent. We really enjoyed the opportunity to drink some good espresso and hang out in the sun. I highly recommend Case Study Alberta on a warm and sunny day to couples, friends, and families, and anytime for those looking a good pour over and wanting to hang out to study or chat with a friend.

Have you been to Case Study Alberta? Any stories about children at coffee shops?

Foxy Coffee Co.

Foxy Coffee Co.
3640 SE Belmont St
Portland, OR 97214

On a wonderfully sunny Friday morning, Remington, Everly, Jude and I stopped at Foxy Coffee Co. to enjoy some espresso, cold brew, and sun. We had participated in the triangulation at Foxy Coffee, but we hadn’t really had a chance to check out their drinks and what the atmosphere feels like when there is not an event going on. Foxy Coffee Co is very new to the area, they moved to Portland in March of 2016 and, after having pop-ups in other people’s spaces, opened in their own space on SE Belmont in February of this year (2017). Their location may be new, but the owners of this proudly family run business have been in coffee for 10+ years altogether. It was really a delight to meet the whole family while we were in and learn just a little about their journey.

If you have ever been to SE Belmont, you know that it is a somewhat eclectic mix of residential houses, retail shops, and construction. Parking is challenging to find in some stretches, easy in others. Foxy Coffee Co is located in an older green-painted building with character, right between houses on one side and businesses on the other, on a usually-easy-to-find-parking stretch.

When we entered the shop, Everly immediately was drawn to the kid’s table in one corner where another little girl was already playing with legos. It was a fabulous thing for them to include in the shop. Everly played quietly for a while while we waited in line, ordered, and took the first sips of our drinks. The shop is light and bright and open. It isn’t a huge space, but the huge front windows, pale blue walls, and minimal furnishings keep the space feeling airy. Wood floors, wood tables and chairs, and plants add warmth and earthiness. Two chandeliers give the space character. The bar is from Foxy Coffee’s pop-up days and is very minimal with a one-group La Marzocco espresso machine. There are three 3-4 person tables and three unique one-person spaces along one wall.

The menu is very simple and straightforward with three different sizes for milk & espresso (3, 8, and 12), brewed coffee, chai, and hot chocolate. Foxy Coffee roasts their own coffee and generally has two different single origin coffees available for purchase. They also sell local Margaret and Beau mugs and Nineteen27 marshmallow kits. The El Salvador Finca La Siberia was the available espresso when I came in. Remington ordered a cold brew, and both of us ordered an espresso. The barista/shop owner described the El Salvador as a comfort coffee, and I would say he was right. It was a delicious, straightforward espresso with a bright hibiscus acidity, silky sugar cane sweetness, and a lingering cocoa finish. I really enjoyed it.

One thing that sets Foxy Coffee apart is their passion for people and community. Building community through the shop is important to them, and generosity is a core value. The espresso was great, and the space is comfortable, and it is their desire to make a difference in the community that makes them really stand out. I would definitely come back. It is a great place to come with a child or two that feels like playing quietly at the kid’s table. It would also be a nice place to come with friends, and I would love to come back by myself sometime just to sit at one of the little one person bar/tables and do some writing.

Have you been to Foxy Coffee Co? What did you think? Connect in the comments!

Either/Or

Either/Or
8235 SE 13th Ave, Ste 2
Portland, OR 97202

Either/Or, a small coffee shop in the Sellwood neighborhood of Portland, is a longtime favorite of ours. Although it is a longtime favorite, we don’t visit nearly as much as I’d like, due to its being a bit out of the way. Nevertheless, we did make it by on a recent drizzly Friday morning. Sellwood itself is an exceptionally pleasant neighborhood of Portland. Every time I visit, it delights me with its older, well-maintained houses, cute shops and restaurants, family friendly vibe, and very cozy feel. Either/Or itself is located on 13th Avenue, next to an upscale children’s consignment shop and near boutiques, a flower shop, and a salon. The exterior is a welcoming green with paned windows and a picnic table for outdoor seating.

The vibe inside Either/Or is very similar to that of Sellwood as a whole. It is cute and cozy, with comfortable, retro furnishings. The walls are a cream color and the floors are fake wood. Although the space is quite small, the mirror on the wall and high ceilings with beams and pendant lights help the space to feel cozy rather than confined. There is a bench on one wall with three two-person tables. A couch and coffee table provide a serene spot near the windows. An old-fashioned refrigerator adds to the vintage feel. When we arrived, the shop was empty, so we claimed the nook with the couch and coffee table. The baristas were easygoing and made us feel welcomed, offering to answer any questions we had about the menu.

Although the usual coffee shop drinks are available: drip coffee, espresso + milk based drinks, and cold brew, the Either/Or menu is unique in a few ways. First, they have two espresso options from rotating micro roasters. When we went in, Colombia Las Flores by 49th Parallel and Peru Martina Salas by Re-Animator were on the menu. Second, they offer hand made soda and coffee mocktails, both very well done. Their chai is also house made. Finally, they offer both espresso and beverage flights which include either each espresso or an espresso and a milk-based drink plus a taste pairing and sparkling water. Remington and I opted for the beverage flight plus an additional espresso. Everly got a chocolate chip cookie and Jude is still a bit young to be ordering things at a coffee shop.

The beverage flight came out on a wood tray. First was the Colombia Las Flores espresso. It was delightfully full and heavy, and very sweet with a definite rose water note. Next came the cortado, made with the Peru Martina Salas. The ratio was excellent, milk well steamed, latte art lovely, and flavor sweet, creamy, and nutty. The taste pairing was a tiny pecan pie which went splendidly with the sweet, nutty taste of the cortado. Finally, we tried the Peru Martina Salas on its own as an espresso. It had a round body with a hazelnut brittle sweetness and lingering cinnamon/nutmeg finish. All in all, it was a fantastic espresso experience. Everything was done very well and the baristas dialogued with us about it a bit after we finished, which I always enjoy.

We had a lovely experience at Either/Or. From the neighborhood to the space to the baristas and the drinks, our time there was cozy and enjoyable. It would be a fantastic spot to have coffee with a friend, or to go alone and enjoy the coffee experience. Their sodas and chai make it a great place to go with someone who doesn’t like coffee as well. I also love it as a place to take my family, but as it is a small space, if the tables are full, it can sometimes be a quick trip. Nevertheless it is a favorite of mine, and I highly recommend it.

Where have you been to coffee this week? Have you tried Either/Or?