4. Courier Coffee Roasters, Portland, Ore.


Courier Coffee Roasters may have paved the way for Barista, Stumptown, and other Portland-area coffee shops as one of the most independent, "low-fi" coffee shops around. Known for its hand-roasted, small-batch coffees, Courier Coffee originally started as a bike-delivery roasting company. You can still get your coffee delivered by bike, but the brick-and-mortar shop is at heart a local coffee shop -- with a vinyl collection, hip-hop turntable, freshly baked muesli and baked goods, pour-over coffee dripped into Mason jars, and not much else. The shop takes into consideration the bean from start to finish, only roasting, grinding, and brewing the amount the baristas think they'll serve per day -- quite literally the freshest cup of coffee you'll get in PDX. The shop even uses KF-4 23K Swissgold paper filters for a taste that's as clean as a French press. It's the kind of coffee shop that revels in its simplicity -- and keeps customers coming back for more.

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