One of the many things I found fascinating about the Stieg Larsson trilogy of books was the amount of coffee the Swedish protagonists drank. Especially in the first book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It seemed like every late-night scene or suspenseful turn had Michael Blomkvist or Lisbet Salander brewing up — and drinking (usually by themselves) — a pot of coffee at 11 p.m. in some Swedish-modern apartment or cottage. Which, in a rather off-hand way, leads me to Portland’s Ristretto Roasters in NE Portland.

Before I ever got sucked into the heart-racing Swedish books, a visit to Ristretto’s mini location in Beaumont on a cold, rainy day has always felt like an escape to some Scandinavian-inspired urban coffeehouse. Lucky for Portlanders, Ristretto is our own little Northwest gem, and you don’t have to book a flight to Stockholm to enjoy it.

Notes on Ristretto Roasters…

Locaton: Ristretto has two NE Portland locations, but this post focuses on my neighborhood shop, a bedroom-sized cafe at 3520 NE 42nd. The other location is in the burgeoning bike-commuter district of North Williams at 3808 N. Williams. Ristretto on NE 42nd is open from 6 to 6 M-F with slightly different hours on the weekend.

Coffee: I wish I knew more about the craft of coffee roasting and could wax poetic on Ristretto’s stellar method. I can’t. But if tastebuds count for anything, mine keep telling me Ristretto is the best-tasting, smoothest hand-crafted coffee in Portland. Even my kid begs for sips.We regularly drink the Beaumont Blend and Cowboy Blend, but also enjoy trying some of the more exotically named roasts.

Cool stuff: The incredible coffee, of course. But also, lovely mid-century-modern decor, lighting and wood accents; seriously great people; always-fresh art; very orange outdoor furniture; and recently added Good to the Grain whole-grain baked wares by baker Kim Boyce.

Not so cool: Watch out. These beans can quickly turn you into a coffee snob or monogamist.

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