Portland, Maine likes coffee

Updated: June 3, 2020

Coffee–Hot, Iced, Mocha, Espresso, Cappuccino

You already know some of the more prominent coffee shops around Portland—but what about those smaller neighborhood places? Here’s a few close by and a few further out—and even a couple in South Portland!

Coffee Me Up at 221 Cumberland Avenue opened up nearly 2-years ago. Come into the warm atmosphere Alba and Mateo have created near City Hall. Once inside, you’ll experience a space that is inviting with a very friendly staff. Taste coffee from ‘Coffee by Design’ and the lovely pastries, including Baklava, made by Alba’s Mom. Great breakfast sandwiches and paninis made to order with locally sourced ingredients. Sip a smoothie made from whole fruit in this shop beaming with natural light and lots of seating.

Going up the hill, you’ll find a couple of interesting spots to sip a fresh brew. Try Speckled Ax at 576 Congress Street. Taste a coffee roasted on a vintage wood-fired Italian Petroncini using local sap and fruitwood. This place offers a “chill” atmosphere while playing an eclectic collection of music. You’ll feel like a hipster—especially when your milk choice is Fruity Pebbles. Yes… they offer that and other interesting milk choices to add to your beverage. Speckled Ax offers single-origin brewing, siphon, or Aero press. Sip on a Maple Latte and enjoy this great study space.

Also located on Munjoy Hill is the Hilltop Coffee Shop at 100 Congress Street. Open 7-days per week and locally owned by Hill residents. Munch on English muffin toast with blueberry jam or a homemade granola bar. Other specialties include Apple Cinnamon Coffee, Pumpkin Lattes, coconut macaroons, cream cheese coffee cake, bagels, donuts, biscotti, cinnamon buns, cupcakes, scones, or a yummy breakfast sandwich. Sit on the bench outside, enjoy the sunshine, and enjoy some people watching.

Down off Commercial Street you’ll find Higher Grounds at 45 Wharf Street. This coffee shop serves Speckled Ax coffee’s and baked items from local vendors like Standard Baking, Little Big’s, Black Dinah Chocolatiers, Ten Ten Pie, Local Sprouts, and Sister’s Deli. Higher Grounds also sells local Maine goods like herbal tinctures, teas, honey, maple syrup, and assorted tonics. Additionally, HG offers Tastings, Game Nights, Self-Care Sunday, and can offer their space to host your private event.

In downtown Portland you can experience Tandem Coffee Roasters. Tandem offers wholesale coffee roasting and 2 retail locations at 122 Anderson Street and at a converted 1960’s gas station at 742 Congress Street.

“Tandem wholesales to businesses who share our commitment to quality and detail. Offering top-notch coffee programs to rigorous barista training and assistance with purchasing equipment.” Tandem Website

Enjoy breakfast sandwiches, scones, quiche, biscuits, as well as a Malted Iced Coffee, Cold Brew Coffee, or a delicious piece of chocolate cream pie.

Next—head towards Woodford’s Corner to experience 2 newer locations in Portland. First stop is The Proper Cup at 500 Forest Avenue in the Oakdale neighborhood. Join owners Rachel and Zachary for some Caramel Apple Cider, a Maple Sea Salt Latte, or a cappuccino or shot of espresso. Pastries are from local bakeries—but the blueberry pie is especially good as are the donuts from HiFi. The Proper Cup also offers gluten-free and vegan choices. Cool industrial vibe with a motorcycle used as décor to induce conversation. This warm and laid-back shop now offers an Open Mic on Thursdays from 7:00-10:00 PM.

Further up Forest Avenue you’ll find Little Woodford’s at 643 Forest Avenue in the IOOF block. Enjoy a brew and a bite in this sunny plant-filled space while enjoying a good play list. Chew on breakfast sandwiches, light savory fare, cinnamon rolls, avocado toast, or a hot chocolate with home-made marshmallows. Owners TJ & Andrew have created a beautiful space that feels like home. So….sip on your not-too-sweet Chai Tea Latte and sit back and enjoy the chill playlist.

And, if you’re up for crossing the bridge to South Portland, you can enjoy 2 coffee shops. First stop is Omi’s Coffee Shop at 372 Cottage Road. Located in a cute renovated house, the space is cozy and warm. Sip on locally roasted, fairly traded, and organically raised coffee. Offering gluten-free English muffins, homemade pop tarts, yogurt and granola, or a Coconut Micro Cold Brew! Prefer to switch it up? Try a smoothie with a breakfast sandwich—you won’t be disappointed.

Finally, if you want your cup of coffee to make a real difference, then buy your drink at Rwanda Bean at 185 Cottage Road in South Portland where owners Mike and Nick are working towards returning 50% of their profits to their farmers and their communities. Currently, Rwanda Bean works with 300 farmers growing beans on over 400,000 trees. These trees are grown at extreme elevations whose climates nurture the beans and give them their unique and complex flavors. Featuring Dark Roast, Espresso, Blonde Roast, and Cold Brew. This business won first place at the Maine Start-Up and Create Week in 2014.

Relax, pick your favorite spot and enjoy your JAVA anywhere on or around the Peninsula in Portland.

This brew’s for you.