Cellars and coffee are not two words that normally go together, especially in a city as rain-sodden as Portland this spring. But Cellar Door Coffee, a three-year-old independent roaster in Southeast Portland, breaks any pre-conceptions of a dark, damp cellar with a really nice set of coffees and a warm, comfy coffeehouse that sits nice and high above SE 11th Street, well above the floodline.

Notes on Cellar Door Coffee…

Location: Cellar Door at 2001 SE 11th first caught my eye as I was heading south on 11th toward Powell to pick up my order of Trailhead Coffee from The Warehouse Cafe. The tall, vertical red coffee sign with light bulbs pulled me in on a part of the street with mainly Victorian houses and a few low-lying buildings.

Coffee: Cellar Door does something you don’t see or hear very much, even in a town as coffee crazy as Portland. They’ve trained (or maybe just hired) a group of really passionate baristas who make and serve your drink with a narrative about what you’re about to enjoy. Now, granted, I am not as interested in the kind of bean I’m tasting as the flavor of the coffee and the ambience of the locale. But, I have to say it’s refreshing and totally interesting at Cellar Door when the barista hands you your drink and says: “Today’s roast is single origin Brazilian with hints of cherry and chocolate.” Love that! And the roasts at Cellar Door are flavorful and made with obvious care. Cellar Door Coffee also has a healthy wholesale business and is sold at shops all around Portland. Check out their website for details.

Cool stuff: Very kid-friendly, comics for sale, art on the wall and a shiny read Diedrich coffee roaster. Owner-roasters Jeremy and Andrea, who met as apprentices at a sustainable farming and gardening program before becoming coffee entrepreneurs, have created a warm and welcoming space that is not only roasting great coffee, but is doing it in an eco-friendly way, too, reducing exhaust emissions. Cellar Door also frequently raises money for a host of worthy charitable endeavors, most recently earthquake victims in Haiti.

Not so cool: Don’t mistake the round, light-bulb decorated street sign for a Farrell’s ice cream parlor. No ice cream sundaes here. But they make an awesome Gibraltar — cappuccino in a rocks glass.

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