Valentine’s Day is in the air, and as much as I love Portland’s indie coffee scene, I don’t have any good coffeehouse love stories. The best I can do is the story about a high school girl (me), who was working in a neighborhood drugstore one lonely February 14 when out of nowhere a cheesy Hallmark card, addressed to her and signed by a customer who had inquired earlier about her Valentine’s Day status, slid down her checkout stand.

Whether your most memorable Valentine’s Day is from high school or a happening coffee shop, there’s one cafe in town that offers a little bit of both — Heart Coffee Roasters. Combining the trendy, dark-wood-and-concrete look and tall ceilings of a New York loft and the weirdness of high school chemistry class, Heart Coffee has got a good thing going on East Burnside.

Notes on Heart Coffee Roasters…

Location: I like — or should I say, I “heart”? — Heart Coffee at 2211 E. Burnside for its proximity to two recent kid-friendly transplants to nearby NE Sandy, The Children’s Gym, which just relocated from Hollywood, and The Circuit Bouldering Gym, which just opened its second location. After your kids get their crazies out at gymnastics class or scrambling up boulders, you’re just a minute or two away by bike or car from a warm cup of Heart Coffee.

Coffee: A huge 1953 roaster takes up one side of the cafe in what looks like a mad, scientific experiment with coffee beans. My very first visit’s Americano tasted more like watery coffee but subsequent drinks, including cappuccino, have been hearty (no pun intended) and nicely flavored. Heart Coffee says their roasting style is inspired by Scandinavian and Portland influences. On a recent visit, my barista even threw my shots away before I got them in order to perfect my drink. It wasn’t until my coffee was halfway drunk that I noticed the signature heart on the foam.

Cool stuff: Amidst the modern feel of the space are metal school stools, crazy science illustrations of hearts and other organs and what looks to be an authentic school clock; despite the slightly sterile decor, the place is packed with adults and kids alike. And, since I’m on a love theme, it was cool running into a couple I hadn’t seen in a couple of  years who were back together. The cafe also serves pastries by Random Order, who recently received the accolade of baking “One of the best pies in America” by Travel & Leisure Magazine. Yum.

Not so cool: If raw dog food and coffee sound unappealing, you might avoid sitting outside where Heart Coffee Roasters and a raw dog food store share the sidewalk.

Advertisements