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?

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