Matty’s Pacific Northwest Coffee Adventures: Part Three

Oregon coast, from US 101 north of Florence

see Part 1 and Part 2

After Portland we headed down to Eugene, so my son could attend first year orientation at the University of Oregon (Go Ducks). We had a nice time here as well, getting to know the town, staying at a nice cottage. However, we may have chosen the wrong places, but frankly the food and coffee were underwhelming.

Meraki Coffee – over roasted; after the barista clarified that I wanted a traditional macchiato and not the Starbucks kind, I was handed…. the Starbucks kind. Couldn’t finish it.

Espresso Roma – too big, too hot. Over roasted; after the barista clarified that I wanted a traditional macchiato and not the Starbucks kind, I was handed…. the Starbucks kind. Couldn’t finish it.

Coffee Plant Roaster – over roasted; after the barista clarified that I wanted a traditional macchiato and not the Starbucks kind, I was handed…. the Starbucks kind. Couldn’t finish it.

Are we seeing a trend here? That trend didn’t hold up at my other two stops. But…..

Wandering Goat – had read online that this was the best roaster and the best coffee shop in town. Maybe someone knows how to make a traditional macchiato. Pull up on Tuesday just after lunch, the guy at the window tells me….. they’re only open for bean order pickup. The café is open Friday through Sunday. I don’t understand why you would have a retail beverage presence and only open it on the weekend; if the roasting side is the main area of concentration, I get it, but then why bother having the café side of the business at all?

Palace Coffee and Bakery – this was odd because I pulled up to the address looking for Full City coffee, but the place was named Palace. There was still Full City signage. I asked the barista, and was told they changed the name a couple years back. Huh. As for the coffee itself, it was a traditional macchiato, no brutal Starbucks foam collar. But it might have been the worst tasting coffee on the whole trip.

Well, I’ll get plenty more cracks at finding something decent in town, as we take my son back in a few weeks to move in and then will visit him over his time at UO. Maybe I’ll even be there on a weekend, who knows.

As we had a night flight home from Portland, we left Eugene the last morning and took a scenic drive back. We headed west to the Pacific Ocean coastal town of Florence, and then took US 101 north. 101 is renowned for the stark beauty of the California coastline, particularly in Big Sur, but the stretch from Florence to Newport was just gorgeous, with a plethora of state, county and national parkland and beaches. We pulled over for pictures at an overlook, where I took the pic at the top of this post, and stopped at Seal Rock to walk down the cliffs to the beach.

During the entire trip we passed many drive up coffee stands, ranging from the Dutch Bros corporate drive up chain to little huts which put the shack in ramshackle, with a lot in between. My last Oregon coffee came after lunch in Waldport, when we pulled up to the Espresso 101 drive up. Seeing a menu loaded with lots of sugary drinks featuring a lot of syrups, my expectations were not high. However, I was pleasantly surprised to have a macchiato that didn’t suffer under a Starbuckian foam collar, wasn’t over roasted, wasn’t bitter, wasn’t bland. Perhaps not the best coffee I ever had, but it had some flavor, packed a welcome caffeine punch, and was certainly the best I’d had since we left Portland and Hood River.

In conclusion, I will look forward to more chances to visit Portland, explore more of the Pacific Northwest, and hopefully find some good coffee in Eugene as we visit our Duck. Great trip, some great coffee, great scenery, great weather, and great vibes.

4 thoughts on “Matty’s Pacific Northwest Coffee Adventures: Part Three”

  1. What a great guide to PNW coffee. It makes me want to travel there soon, just to drink coffee (and see that coastline).
    I do have one question;
    How many macchiatos can you drink in a day and not suffer insomnia? After two, I’d be up all night.

    1. That’s why I stepped down from my usual quad shot to a regular (double shot) macchiato. I can do 3 a day: one first thing, one mid-morning, and another after lunch. So it’s actually a total of 6 shots per day as compared to my usual 8 (dropping the eye opener).

  2. A bit disappointing to hear that Eugene doesn’t seem to deliver on the PNW Coffee excellence rep, but we’ll find a place, perhaps further from the UofO orbit? Go Ducks!

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