I’ve been reading a lot this winter. And there’s nothing like a good cup of coffee and a good book to curl up with this time of year. When you’re out shopping for books – preferably the old-fashioned way, at your local independent bookstore, like Powell’s on SE Hawthorne– The Fresh Pot is there to fortify book- and coffee-lovers alike.

Notes on The Fresh Pot…

Location: The Fresh Pot has three fabulous locations around town, but this post is about the shop that’s located in a quiet (save for an occasional scream from the espresso maker), somewhat dark corner of Powell’s Bookstore at 3729 SE Hawthorne.

Coffee: The Fresh Pot serves Stumptown, and while Portland’s original indie roaster is taking some hits lately for selling out to Corporate America, The Fresh Pot keeps it local with just three smallish cafes and baristas who are obviously dedicated to their craft and to brewing a tasty cup of coffee. If you didn’t know any better, you might mistake the coffee-making folks at the Powell’s location for librarians. They don’t shush, thank goodness, but they are among the most serious, no-nonsense baristas in town.

Cool Stuff: Drinking coffee and reading the stack of books you just bought or are considering buying while hanging out at Powell’s; whimsical illustrations on sidewalk sandwich boards by artist Trish Grantham; my favorite gluten-free goodies from local bakery Gluten Free Gem.

Not so cool: The Fresh Pot at Powell’s is obviously beloved by bookworms (myself included) and laptop users, so it’s sometimes hard to get a table.

Books inspired by, in or about Portland: And while you’re perusing Powell’s and taking a break at The Fresh Pot, here are some local reads I recommend: Wildwood by Colin Meloy (Portlandia meets Forest Park fantasy); A Family Daughter by Malie Meloy (Portlander Colin’s sis is a writer, too, and a really good one; all I can say about this story is “whoa.”); The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi Durrow (haunting coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of a gray, 1970s Portland); The Chronology of Water by Lydia Yuknavitch (a brave memoir by an amazing Oregon writer).

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