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?