Courier Coffee Roasters
923 SW Oak St
Portland, OR 97205
I first visited Courier Coffee Roasters around the same time I first visited Coava. It made a huge impression on me at the time and I frequently cite it as my favorite Portland coffee shop (although that changes depending on my mood and who’s asking). It is hard to define why exactly I love Courier so much. Emily McIntyre, in a PDX Eater article which I can no longer locate, called Courier “a quintessential Portland coffee shop,” and I have to agree. While it may not be a typical coffee shop, to me, it embodies the real Portland: grungy, understated, distinctive, legit hipster, and freaking awesome.
It was a sunny Friday in the late afternoon when Remington, Everly, Jude, and I visited Courier. The windowed shop front let it copious amounts of light and made the space feel a bit larger. The floor is concrete, the walls are white. Decorations are sparse and consist of local art for sale. Tables are white, chairs are wood, as is the counter and the bar by the window. Music consists of vinyl records chosen and switched out by the baristas regularly. It is not a large shop; there are three two-person tables and one four-person table, along with a few seats along the counter and the bar in the window. The menu is written on the window and also on a rectangle of card stock at the bar. As far as coffee shop spaces go, this one never pretends to be upscale or polished. As others have mentioned, cleaning doesn’t seem to have very high priority, except the espresso machine and the space behind the counter, which always looks clean and presentable, if a bit cluttered with supplies and ingredients. They’re not trying to win an award for their space, and I’m fairly confident they didn’t hire an interior designer, but it feels refreshingly un-done up and casual.
Despite the fact that I love Courier and love espresso, I had never actually ordered an espresso. Their 8 oz mocha is so incredibly thick and rich and delicious, not to mention very hipster in a mason jar, that I hadn’t bothered to order anything else. If you like drinks mostly consisting of amazing chocolate with a little espresso, I highly recommend the mocha. This time, although I did still order a mocha, I tried the espresso as well. Remington ordered a pour over and Everly was happy to drink the sparkling water, plus sips of my mocha. The espresso came with a full 8 oz of sparkling water in a mason jar. It was pulled very short, maybe a little too short as it left me wanting another. It felt light and smooth with a note of sugar cane and lots of sweetness. There was more complexity than that, but the shot was so short, I didn’t have enough sips to analyze it all. It was really good. It was really good. I cannot believe I never tried it sooner, it will definitely be what I order next time I go in, unless I am in desperate need of chocolate.
I love Courier Coffee Roasters a lot. More than just espresso and milk and chocolate, it provides a unique experience of Portland. I recommend ordering either an espresso or an 8 oz mocha for here and just sitting, observing, experiencing. It would also be a good shop to come with a friend or a sketchbook.
Have you been to Courier? I would love to hear what you think of it. Where have you been to coffee this week? Let me know in the comments!