Since we already wrote about Palate, our favorite Bend coffee shop, we’re going to start shimmying through the list of Bend Oregon Coffee Shops that don’t blow. For today… how about a Bend coffee roaster that currently has 3 locations and is doing things right: Backporch Coffee Roasters.
Backporch Coffee in Bend Does It Right With Direct Trade
Right now, Bend Oregon coffee shops are thrumming. And rightly so. People visit Bend + everyone is moving to or has already moved here + most people drink coffee in Bend. There’s also the craft coffee scene that’s taken hold over the past decade or so (don’t quote me on the timing). The thing/s about Backporch Coffee is they’re all about direct trade (so is Palate, who brews Coava, which is direct trade) and everything micro, except aggressions. What this means is that Backporch Coffee is kind of like your favorite rockstar, only more ethical. They’re not just buying beans from anywhere because it meets their bottom line. They aren’t into coffee culture just because it looks cool. And they definitely are not doing blow in the bathroom. Nope.
Backporch owner, Dave Beach, along with some of his employees, actually visits the South American fincas (pieces of rural agricultural land) where the coffee beans for his shop come from. He buys DIRECTLY from them. Aside from owning your own finca and paying your workers a fair and sustainable wage, direct trade is about as good as it gets “ethics-wise” for the badass hombres who grow and harvest the coffee beans that make places like Backporch possible.
What About Backporch Coffee Roasters
Whether you visit the newest east side Backporch on Greenwood Ave., the Backporch on SW Century, or the OG one on Newport Ave., the coffee is guaranteed to please. You’ll just have to decide which ambience or location speaks most to your coffee-consuming habits. While you should definitely check out all three Backporch Coffee locations, I dig the one on Newport the most. The vibe and aesthetic are “cleaner” than I prefer, but the location receives an abundance of natural light, the baristas are lovely, and there’s usually space to hole up in there, even during peak hours.
As far as treats go, Backporch Coffee offers a modest array of quality pastries from local bakeries, mainly Sparrow and Bad Wolf. Ocean Rolls, yes, but they go fast. While gluten-free treats are more scarce at Backporch, gluten-free extravagances from Nancy P’s are not. Cross the street, get one, and bring it back to have with your cortado.
Once It Hits Your Lips, It’s So Good
Backporch Coffee was my first tango with a slightly under-roasted cup of coffee. (Under-roasting, as one of the finca’s owners explains in an origin film about Backporch Coffee, lets several different things happen in your mouth at once. As opposed to over-roasting, which generally has one tasting note and that’s burnt.).
After my initial Backporch coffee sips way back when, I was confused and also intrigued. What was this thing that allowed me to taste a layering of “notes” (I didn’t know what fucking tasting notes were back then, and kinda still don’t)? The espressos and Americanos and macchiatos at Backporch Coffee had absolutely zero resemblance to the Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts caffeinated beverages I’d encountered growing up back east… and I liked them. What the palate does not prepare you for, exploration will. The rest, my friends, is history.
Thanks, Backporch Coffee. I think You’re Neat.
I’m not ashamed to say that before moving to Bend, I lived in an area of New Jersey that was (and still is) determined to run on Dunkin. Where I grew up, craft coffee and micro-roasting and contemporary latte art and barista life were not a thing. They still aren’t, and I’m OK with that. It’s refreshing to visit family and find that the “best coffee” is actually some steamy drip served at the bagel shop around the corner. No frills, just a piping hot styrofoam cup and a fat everything bagel dripping with butter. SO GOOD.
Really, I appreciate both of these worlds. The finely tuned craft coffee, Wingtip boot wearing one, AND the east coast cup of joe from a dirty bagel shop world. Both are awesome in their own right, and both serve a purpose. And the latter reminds us that not everyone gets to live in or even visit a place where good espresso takes precedence. In other words: our fancy coffee is special, people. And I don’t know about you, but every so often I’m going to do my best to remember where the warm cup of awesomeness in my hands comes from, and everyone and everything that went into it.
From an east coast kid who can’t taste notes for shit, but who has come to appreciate the finer micro-roasts and brew processes in life: Thanks, Backporch, for reminding me where quality coffee comes from. And thanks for backin’ that ass up in the best way possible since 2007. Keep up the good work of making some of the finest coffee in Bend. Until soon.
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