There is so much coffee in Oregon that it can seem like you pass by a dozen shops just between stoplights. In Portland, many of those coffee shops are Latinx-owned coffee shops. From little cafecitos between meals to caffeinated drinks that calm your stomach from too much java, follow the barista steam to these local favorites.
Editor’s note: We use Latinx and Latine in place of Latino or Latina to remain gender-inclusive.
Favela Brazilian Café
Coffee in Brazil is serious business; it supplies more than $8M in Brazilian jobs alone! In fact, about 40% of the world’s coffee supply comes from Brazil. Its stable tropical climate is a perfect cradle for Brazil’s distinct coffee, which is low in acidity with intense sweetness.
At Favela, you get the best of classic Brazilian coffee. Try the traditional cafezinho, similar to American drip coffee but heavy-bodied with more depth of flavor. Cafezinhos are typically paired with scoops of sugar, enough to enhance the coffee’s natural sweetness and combat its bitterness. Snag a bag of little coxinhas (fried savory dough with shredded chicken filling shaped similarly to Indian samosas) for a filling and savory breakfast.
Relax at Favela’s, where family gatherings, community and endless celebrations are emphasized. Owner Rodrigo Baena goes out of his way to learn his customers’ names and orders, creating a genuinely friendly atmosphere to drink coffee, connect and absorb the beauty of Brazilian culture.
Blink, and you’ll miss it — nestled in a waterfront garden, Pajaro is a Mexican-owned, aesthetically airy bite-size shop in the South Waterfront Park area. Serving what he calls the slowest coffee in Portland, owner Rogelio Landaverde begins each patron’s visit with a brief but detailed presentation on his latest “high-vibrational,” plant-based milks, which visitors are welcome to sample at no charge.
The shop (named after the owners’ son’s nickname, “Bird”) won’t ever serve you anything the owners wouldn’t personally give to their family. All ingredients are sourced locally whenever possible. Rogelio even built his own water filtration system that helps create their ever-changing menu of milks and drinks. Add a shot of espresso, and your pick-me-up becomes a wellness experience.
Watch strangers become friends in this little space, and take note that the shop is completely trash-free, meaning no throw-away cups or tetra packs. Need to take your drink to go? For an extra dollar, get it in a glass mason jar which you can bring back for a refund.
In 2017, renowned chef and owner Angel Medina began roasting coffee in his Portland apartment to raise funds for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. He later opened his first brick-and-mortar shop named KIOSKO; that location now houses another coffee artist on this list, Pajaro. After a couple more iterations, La Perlita in North Portland was born.
Part of a group of other Mexican businesses operated by Angel, La Perlita features eight distinct roasts for their curated coffee menu from their roasting arm, Reforma Roasters. We recommend their True Mexican Mocha; a shot of espresso, your favorite milk and a little bit of magic. We can’t guarantee any wishes will come true with this drink, but you’ll still get to savor all the work and love it took to make it.
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