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