Central Oregon: Go for the Sunshine, Stay for the Coffee

Backporch on Newport Avenue.

Story and photos by Bethany Hargrove

It’s no secret that Portland, Ore., is a big coffee town. And yeah, there’s a lot of great coffee happening there. But what many folks don’t realize is that the state of Oregon has plenty of great coffee spots outside the city of Portland. And Central Oregon has some of the hands down best.

BEND, OREGON

What they advertise is the skiing, adventure, and beer, but usually where there’s good beer, there’s good coffee, and for its small population, Bend’s coffee scene is remarkably vibrant. Here’s a rundown of some of the bright spots to get coffees in Central Oregon (though not all of them, by any means.)

Lone Pine Coffee Roasters
Founded: 2009
Gear: Synesso, Diedrich
Roasting philosophy: Full expression of flavor, sweetness, light but fully developed
Sourcing: A few direct trade relationships, importing through Coffee Shrub and Red Fox, but volume is low.

Lone Pine Coffee Roasters, in an alley in Bend.

Lone Pine Coffee Roasters, in an alley in Bend.

Located in a back alley in downtown Bend, Lone Pine Coffee Roasters is a perfect example of a hole in the wall cafe. The coffees are roasted in house, a few steps from the bar. The batch brew is French pressed, making Lone Pine one of the last cafes in Bend that hasn’t switched to Fetcos or other drip brewers. Lone Pine also has a small selection of food (Belgian waffles!), syrups, and milk alternatives, most made in-house. The space, despite its small size, is beautiful and welcoming.

Lone Pine’s owner and head roaster Scott Witham working the Synesso.

Lone Pine’s owner and head roaster Scott Witham working the Synesso.

Thump
Founded: 2007, new owner since 2012
Gear: Slayer, Geisen
Roasting Philosophy: Flavor focused, balance

Thump Coffee, downtown Bend.

Thump Coffee, downtown Bend.

Thump has been roasting its own coffee since the ownership changed in 2012. A new brew bar and training facility is opening soon in the same space where the roasting takes place, a few blocks from their original location in downtown Bend. The staff has been pulling shots on a Slayer—a beautiful custom matte black machine—since 2013. The space is warm, with brick walls and wooden slats hanging from the ceiling, decorated with wishes from customers.

Thump wishes.

Thump wishes.

Thump has Bend’s first Slayer.

Thump has Bend’s first Slayer.

Backporch Coffee Roasters
Founded: 2007
Gear: La Marzocco, Probat
Roasting Philosophy: To pay respect to the work of the producers, emphasizing terrior.
Sourcing: As much direct trade as possible.

Backporch on Newport Avenue.

Backporch on Newport Avenue.

Backporch is leading the direct trade game in Central Oregon. All of the company’s coffees from El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Colombia are direct trade. Backporch is one of the highest volume roasters in Central Oregon, and they care enough to use their volume and money to support great producers directly. They have two locations on Bend’s west side, one of which houses their roasting facility. Good service, good spaces, good coffee.

BackPorch’s Century Drive Location-- Beautifully built bar and roastery.

Backporch’s Century Drive location: Beautifully built bar and roastery.

If, while you’re in Bend, you find yourself craving a taste of Portland….

Palate: A Coffee Bar

Owned and operated by former employees of the Albina Press in Portland, Palate celebrated their one year anniversary last March, and excellently serve Stumptown Coffee on Bend’s east side. They also carry a variety of pastries and a daily soup from local businesses and bakers, and have a selection of beers in bottles and on tap.

Palate, serving Stumptown.

Palate, serving Stumptown.

Honorable mention:

Townshends Tea Company supplies premium loose leaf tea to many cafes in Bend and Portland, and has a tea shop in downtown Bend, for when you’ve had too much coffee.

Give tea a chance.

Give tea a chance.

Also check out:
Bluebird Coffee Co., serving Water Ave Coffee.
Bellatazza
Strictly Organic
Looney Bean
Bom Dia

 

OUTSIDE OF BEND

Green Plow Coffee Roasters
Founded in 2009, Green Plow is the only coffee roaster in Redmond, Oregon. They roast in-house and also serve a wide selection of tea, yerba mate, and pastries. Go there after you’ve hiked or climbed at Smith Rock State Park to enjoy the couches and community-minded atmosphere. Green Plow often hosts local musicians for performances or open jams.

Green Plow Coffee Roasters in downtown Redmond.

Green Plow Coffee Roasters in downtown Redmond.

Sisters Coffee Company
Founded in 1989, Sisters Coffee is a Central Oregon coffee staple, wholesaling to dozens of coffee shops and drive thrus in Bend and Redmond. Although the company is old by coffee industry standards, they are definitely not archaic, and their roasting and sourcing keep getting better and better through the years. Their headquarters feel like a hunting lodge, and the service is always good. Don’t miss it!

Sisters Coffee Company

Sisters Coffee Company in Sisters, Oregon

Inside Sisters' spacious cafe.

Inside Sisters’ spacious cafe.

IN CONCLUSION

The High Desert is anything but a coffee desert, and your vacation to Central Oregon’s mountains and lakes for hikes and adventures doesn’t have to be devoid of cappuccinos or espresso shots. Bend’s coffee scene is more than up and coming—it’s established, delicious, and progressively getting better. And we’ll bet there will be even more to see—and sip—throughout Central Oregon in the next few years.

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bethany Hargrove drinks coffee, makes coffee, and lives coffee. An Oregon native, she lives and works in Portland, in addition to running around in nature, singing a lot of karaoke, and making stupid jokes to make guests laugh.

About the Author

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