We’ve been fans of Either/Or here in Portland, Oregon since they launched in 2013 with a sweet little cafe in sleepy Sellwood, in the city’s south. But now, after a furiously quick build-out on N. Williams, Either/Or have opened a new expanded version of the concept: quality focused multi-roaster, but now with drinks, good wine, and food.
With a sumptuous, forest green forward interior design scheme and a playful attention to detail, Either/Or has quickly become one of Portland’s major coffee openings in 2018. And yes, that is a coffee swag version of a claw machine in the back.
As told to Sprudge by Ro Tam.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
We are a multi-roaster cafe in Portland, OR that opened in 2013 out of a 300 sq ft shop. We're known for our different flight offerings, mocktails, and a house-made chai that turned into it's own company called Tanglewood.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
It's literally five times as big as our previous space. With this new location, we are able to actualize our original concept of the business which is to also be a bar. The cafe will have a full coffee menu available from 7:00am-7:00pm daily with some limited AM cocktails, and in the evening we will be a full bar with some limited coffee service late into the night (bar time). We built a full kitchen so will have food available all day. It's also on a busy bike corridor.
What’s your approach to coffee?
We tend to lean towards lighter roasted, washed coffees. Everything we make is a palate-driven so our espresso is dialed in taste>tactile. In the true collaborative spirit of Either/Or, our staff blind cups coffee every week and its how we determine our menu. It gives us a chance to only serve what we are really excited about without any bias from packing or suggested tasting notes.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
We have a claw machine filled merchandise (#coffeeclaw) and a couple of Orion dosing scales on loan from Acaia. I think Acaia will also be donating a golden Pearl scale for the coffee claw. Everything was built with ergonomics in mind for less wear and tear on our baristas. Instead of an under counter milk fridge, we have an ice well used as a cooler to hold milk within arms reach, and just about everything else you need so there isn't a lot of moving around or bending that needs to happen. It also allows us to have soda water on a bar gun which is pretty fun.
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
May 31st was our grand opening.
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
Too many people to list. I do want to say that a lot of our contractors were women, which was a nice change from the male-dominant industry. Also, Marie Castorini who was been an employee since the beginning painted an amazing portrait for us of Jackie Shane, a Transgender Woman soul artist from Nashville. It represents our Queer POC roots and the other communities that we are a part of.
The Build-Outs Of Summer is an annual series on Sprudge. Live the thrill of the build all summer long in our Build-Outs feature hub.