Top 5 Coffee Shops in Portland Maine: The Best Local Cafes You Need to Experience

Portland Maine Coffee

There are a few things that I seek out when I travel aside from attractions, activities, and hidden gems. Finding vegan food is important because I follow a vegan diet and I love sampling local cuisine. Almost equally as important: finding a good cup of coffee. And it’s not just about the caffeine. I like checking out the coffee culture of a city or place. Coffee is a beloved beverage almost everywhere you go, and it’s always great fun to delve into various coffee traditions around the world. In some situations, it is necessary to plan to make your own coffee on the road. Thankfully, there are so many amazing coffee shops in Portland Maine, so that was definitely not an issue.

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There are so many Portland Maine coffee shops to visit, from the larger chains to the smaller cafes. I always like to highlight the best independently owned and local coffee shops wherever possible. The coffee tastes better, there’s a more personalized level of service and pride in the product, it’s often fair trade and properly sourced from farmers, many times it can be roasted on site, and it’s a great way to support local businesses.

Top Coffee Shops in Portland Maine

I’m going to show you my top 5 coffee shops in Portland Maine that you absolutely must visit when you travel there. If you’re local to the area, I hope you’ve had the opportunity to try these cafes. If not, what are you waiting for? I’ll also include a couple of bonus choices at the end of the post that aren’t quite coffee shops, but serve up yummy coffee and other treats.

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Tandem Coffee Roasters

Tandem Coffee Roasters: Best coffee shops in Portland Maine

Tandem Coffee has two coffee shop locations in Portland, and they’re one of the top coffee roasters in Maine. If you’re a coffee nerd like myself, I recommend checking out their location in East Bayside (122 Anderson St). Their roasting space is open to the public, so you can watch the magic happen before your eyes. While I wasn’t fortunate enough to witness the coffee beans being roasted, I did savor a delicious cup of coffee while I was there. If you go to Tandem Coffee Roasters on a Friday at noon, you can partake in a free coffee cupping event.

Tandem Coffee Roasters: Best coffee shops in Portland Maine
Tandem Coffee Roasters: Best coffee shops in Portland Maine

The room where you order your coffee is cozy with limited seating, but there’s a second room that’s shared with the coffee roasting equipment where you might have a better chance of finding a place to sit. I loved this bright and open space, adorned with potted plants. If you’re a fan of the coffee, you can purchase a bag of coffee beans to enjoy it from your own home.

Tandem Coffee Roasters: Best coffee shops in Portland Maine
Tandem Coffee Roasters: Best coffee shops in Portland Maine

Tandem Coffee Roasters has some of the best coffee in Portland Maine. I highly recommend checking them out if you’re interested in visiting coffee roasters in Maine. Even if you aren’t from the area or don’t have any plans to go, you can taste their brews through their coffee subscription program. Simply put, they’re one of the top coffee shops in Portland Maine and it was a treat to visit in person.

Coffee By Design

Coffee By Design: Portland Maine Coffee Shops

Coffee By Design is an institution in Portland – they’ve been around since 1994! And they’ve been recognized as Roast Magazine’s 2020 Roaster of the Year for the entire country. Coffee By Design has four coffee houses, including its own roastery in the city (that’s also its newest coffee house). Clearly, they are also one of the top coffee roasters in Maine and the USA, and you can sample their rich brews when you travel to Portland.

Coffee By Design: Portland Maine Coffee Shops

Coffee By Design is also a certified B Corp (one of 10 in Maine) where they only consider the best practices for their purchasing relationships, hiring processes, roasting, shipping, packaging, and community involvement. You can definitely feel good about supporting their coffee shops in Portland Maine.

Coffee By Design: Portland Maine Coffee Shops

If you’re looking for downtown Portland coffee shops, they have two locations downtown, and their roastery is in East Bayside (their fourth location is inside an L.L. Bean in Freeport). I went to their coffee shop on Congress Street and loved the vibes. It’s a very warm cafe that feels like home. There’s a beautiful mural splashed on one of the walls and local art displayed around the cafe. The coffee is super tasty, too!

Bard Coffee

Downtown Portland coffee shops: Bard Coffee

Bard Coffee is definitely one of the coolest coffee shops in Portland Maine, and it’s Instagram ready! There are interesting decorations, beautiful walls, and bright spaces to savor a coffee, latte, or a snack. Bard Coffee was pretty busy when I visited, but there are lots of places to sit so I didn’t have any trouble finding a seat.

Downtown Portland coffee shops: Bard Coffee
Downtown Portland coffee shops: Bard Coffee
Downtown Portland coffee shops: Bard Coffee
Downtown Portland coffee shops: Bard Coffee

Bard only considers the best practices when sourcing, roasting, and brewing their coffee. They’re another one of the best coffee roasters in Maine because they develop great tasting coffee while practicing environmental efficiency with state of the art equipment. While I didn’t sample my typical cup of coffee or Americano here, I opted for an oat milk cappuccino that was such a treat. I know it’s more difficult for baristas to create latte designs with plant-based milk, so I definitely appreciate the lovely little heart here.

Speckled Ax

Speckled Ax: Top coffee shops in Portland Maine

Speckled Ax is one of the must visit coffee shops in Portland Maine for its innovative practices and its quirks. They roast their coffee using a vintage Italian Petroncini that’s wood roasted. Though their processes are traditional and manual, sometimes the old practices are the best way – their coffee tastes great! They also purchase exceptional coffee from farmers at prices far above the fair trade minimum. They roast their beans in ways that highlight the unique attributes to each particular variety.

Speckled Ax: Top coffee shops in Portland Maine
Speckled Ax: Top coffee shops in Portland Maine
Speckled Ax: Top coffee shops in Portland Maine

At the coffee shop, they had some really interesting brewing equipment that looked straight out of a science lab more than a cafe. I appreciate the innovation and interesting gear, indicating that the owner and staff have such a coffee obsession. I ordered an Americano (from a typical espresso machine, not the funky drip coffee machine, unfortunately), but it tasted rich and flavorful. I’d go back to the Speckled Ax in a heartbeat.

Arabica Coffee House

Best coffee shops in Portland Maine : Arabica Coffee House

If you’d like to try more downtown Portland coffee shops, consider Arabica Coffee House with two locations in the city center. They opened their first location back in 1995, and Arabica Coffee also has an online subscription program if you’d like to order their beans. Like many of the other cafes I’ve listed above, they also roast their coffee in house at their Commercial Street location.

Best coffee shops in Portland Maine : Arabica Coffee House
Best coffee shops in Portland Maine : Arabica Coffee House

Arabica Coffee’s ultimate goal is to have their customers feeling “safe, comfortable, and caffeinated”. That’s exactly how I can sum up my experience at Arabica Coffee House. I felt right at home in their cozy cafe, and the coffee is super yummy. Arabica is one of the top coffee shops in Portland Maine, so I urge you to get cozy and caffeinated there, too.

Portland Maine Coffee: Honorable Mentions

I can’t quite classify these under the best coffee shops in Portland Maine because they aren’t really coffee shops. However, you can find a delicious cup of coffee at these two places in town. It might not be the coffee that draws you there, but other delicious food and snacks.

The Holy Donut

The Holy Donut in Portland Maine

So, it isn’t a Portland Maine coffee shop, but you simply must visit The Holy Donut when you’re in the city. These aren’t your average donuts: they’re made from potatoes! And even if you follow a special diet, the Holy Donut has got you covered: they make lots of vegan donuts and gluten-free donuts. You can grab a coffee and a donut while you’re there…or two…or more.

Baristas + Bites

Baristas + Bites - Vegan cupcakes

Baristas and Bites is another great place in Portland to grab a cup of coffee, but it’s also a restaurant, too. They’re open for breakfast and lunch, serving up many healthy, vegan, and gluten-free options on the menu. They also have lots of desserts, including vegan options. My recommendation? Visit for a pick me up midday: a caffeinated beverage and a vegan cupcake!

Map of Coffee Shops in Portland Maine

To make your job of tracking down these Portland Maine coffee shops, I’ve compiled them all on this handy map. You can see which coffee shops are closest to your location and how to get to all of them.

Have you visited any of these Portland Maine coffee shops? Do you have any other recommendations for me to try?

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