Twice in the past year, my job has led me to do a 3 a.m. coffee run for an early-morning appointment with the East Coast. Both times, I’ve found coffee salvation at Southeast Grind, Portland’s only 24-hour coffee shop. The first time, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as I drove down an eerily empty Powell Boulevard looking for the coffee shop on the corner of SE Powell and 12th. But inside, it was cozy and warmly lit with three or four night owls hunkered down with books, laptops and big mugs of coffee.

Notes on Southeast Grind…

Location: Located at 1223 SE Powell, Southeast Grind opened in 2010. While situated on the busy boulevard, daytime and evening coffee-goers can easily walk over from the Clinton neighborhood or Cleveland High School a few blocks up. If you’re driving at night, there’s easy parking on 12th street or in the parking lot behind the cafe.

Coffee: Southeast Grind’s website and reviews say it’s a Stumptown Coffee shop, and I recall drinking a nice, tall cup of Stumptown a year ago at 4 in the morning. But on my most recent morning visit, I noticed a sky-blue coffee pot emblazened with the logo of Batdorf & Bronson coffee roasters out of Olympia. I was too bleary-eyed to inquire about the switch, plus the super-friendly barista was trying to serve me and a motorcyclist while trouble-shooting a cash register problem. The Batdorf & Bronson brew definitely kept me and my colleagues awake but lacked a super-flavorful taste and may have been sitting in the pot a bit too long at that hour of the day. I’d like to give it a try again, given the roaster’s environmentally friendly and organic approach, not to mention cleverly named website — http://www.dancinggoats.com.

Cool stuff: Genuinely friendly staff, even at 3 a.m.; fresh baked goods and a nice selection of Gluten Free and vegetarian options; the feel of a 1960s retro basement, complete with foam-tile drop ceiling and Jetson-like furniture.

Not so cool: While it’s awesome that a coffee shop like Southeast Grind has found a home on such a car-centric boulevard, it is slightly spooky getting there in the middle of the night when there’s not a car or person in sight. Fortunately once inside, Southeast Grind is warm and inviting.

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