Coffee for the Greater Good in Oregon’s First City
Finding independent coffee houses in Salem shouldn’t be hard. Come to think of it, good coffee should be abundant, even mandatory, in the capitol of the state that brought the world Stumptown, Boyd’s, and Black Rock. Visitors from across the world come to Oregon to experience plentiful temperate rainforests, its people’s mellow temperament, a wealth of craft beer, and, of course, copious amounts of independently roasted coffee.
It’s a lesser-known secret, but Salem holds its own a notable coffee destination. Here are a few from the four quadrants of town.
Urban Grange Coffee – 1594 Edgewater St. NW, Salem, OR
Affectionately referred to as “Salem’s living room,” community-focused Urban Grange Coffee opened its doors in 2013. Since then, it has been a place that families and neighborhood residents can visit for a quiet afternoon overlooking the Willamette or a lively visit with friends. The menu includes traditional coffee drinks, Steven Smith Teas, berry smoothies, lemonade, and Italian soda. Like most coffee shops, they offer seasonal options including apple cider, eggnog lattes, and pumpkin spice lattes in the winter, and iced options during the summer months. The living room aspect is enhanced by its arrangement of sofas and cushioned chairs. Stop by for yummy baked goods by Cascade Baking Co., goodies by Extreme Chocolates, and “coffee you could drink all day.”
Higher Ground Coffee Shop – 4500 Lancaster Dr. NE, Salem, OR 97305
Students at Chemeketa Community College are probably more familiar with Higher Ground than anyone else in town, due to proximity to the campus. And its location is what gives this place its youthful character. But this coffee shop possesses an even more unique quality – it’s part of a church. But funds from your brew don’t get filtered back into the church. The shop’s philosophy states that its coffee dollars are invested in solving overseas issues such as, according to their Facebook page, “spiritual emptiness”, refugee displacement, poverty, HIV/AIDS, and education. Stop by and have a chat with one of their friendly baristas about issues they’re currently working to address.
Broadway Coffeehouse – 1300 Broadway St. NE, Salem, OR 97301
Broadway Coffeehouse baristas are masters at drawing pictures with your coffee foam. So, for the full experience, resist ordering something boring like a drip coffee or iced tea. Even if you’re not a coffee drinker, they can create something pretty out of a chai latte or decaf cappuccino. And like Higher Ground and Urban Grange, Broadway Coffeehouse isn’t just there to sling coffee. They’re committed to giving back to charities and non-profits around town as well as offering support to local schools. If you’re an artist and would like your work featured in their lounge, stop by with some samples. They have a rotating feature that helps emerging local artists get their name out in the community. They also hold open mic nights and live music events for all types of musicians, living up to the statement scrolled across their website: “We love our city and are excited to highlight the ways that people here are working to make the world more beautiful.”