Archive for April, 2012

The Dragonfly Coffee House

The Dragonfly Coffee House

2387 NW Thurman Street

Portland, OR





































Dragonfly Coffee House:

Crystal chandeliers and dragonflies on the walls.

Such is the décor of Dragonfly Coffee House in NW Portland. It has a comfortable feel to it, and not because of the buggy walls. It seems like a neighborhood fixture that has been around a while, welcoming dogs with a jar of treats and people with a community bulletin board back by the bathroom and lots of seating choices. Maybe it was the steady stream and variety of customers, but I had trouble imagining a fly-by-night operation run by folks who just yesterday learned to grind up coffee beans.

I sat in the back so that I could watch people and spy on the metal art forms—all dragonflies, or darning needles, one of the most primitive flying bugs. One was constructed of chain. ( Idea:  Maybe they named the shop Dragonfly to give it provenance—you know, to increase its value by suggesting its origin long ago! Or maybe the owner had a friend like the one I once had, who took welding as a career option and then used it simply for fun metal sculpture. Those metal sculptures may be tough, but they don’t support a starving artist). On to the people: One customer left a laptop on the table (Is the Dragonfly a trustworthy place or was she a foolish customer?) as she used the restroom, and, later, a pug came to the back while its master did the same. Nobody objected to the dog trotting amongst the tables, and the dog didn’t seem to want to leave the coffee shop; it hung back as the owner tried to coax it out the door. A dog’s behavior can speak volumes…

The Dragonfly is an older building, with a worn old wooden floor. Comforting, “lived in” (I certainly didn’t mind). It has bay windows, one containing a couch nook, and a recessed door. Striking green-and-white-striped awnings on the front windows shelter a sidewalk area with pews (These were being used despite the rain the day I visited, and so were the several bike racks. Tables along the side were also available).  Inside, ceiling fans seem perched to take on the metal dragonflies in combat; they aren’t dissimilar in size or design, since a fan also has 4 blades (its “wings”). Newer hanging lights and aimed tracklights supplement the chandelier. This coffee house has a mix of furniture, a spot or type for just about anyone.

Fare: small coffee is $1.50, but they have an extra-small size (actually about 8-9 oz. in my mug) for $1.15. Refills are $.50, with a handy jug for paying on the honor system.

Clientele and Service: During my visit the coffee house had 10-15 customers at any given time. Many appeared to be well-off, and ranged from young to middle-age. Several had laptops or ebooks, and 2 customers were obviously studying with textbook/computer combos. It offers composting and you-bus-it service, with you-pump-it coffee. Maybe that’s due to business!

Bathroom: Quite adequate, with a big dragonfly picture on the wall and reading material. Not keyed.

Rating: 4 (of 5) coffee beans, because it was interesting and comfortable and well-priced.  Maybe on a sunny day I’d give it a 5!



Shot in the Dark Espresso Bar

Shot in the Dark Espresso Bar

2517 NE 238th

Gresham, OR








Shot in the Dark Espresso Bar, in Gresham, is typically suburban, with its strip mall location and modern, non-descript, glass-and-metal building. But coffee drinkers must have their fixes there too, right? Formerly a Coffee’s On store, the place became independent about a year ago. It has plain round formica tables and a gas fireplace, intended to add coziness. However, this didn’t strike me as “cozy” because it was simply plopped down and installed right by the front window, rather than designed into the floor plan (Besides, “cozy” to me suggests an old-fashioned nook of some sort, small windows, soft lamps, and easy chairs with puffy pillows. I add real fire, but that may be too idealistic). The shop is serviceable and clean, but not very interesting. Along one wall are many items for sale (cards, knick-knacks, cups, lotions, pictures, etc.), apparently on consignment. These failed to attract my attention; in general, I felt as if I were at a holiday pop-up store in a mall.

Fare: Drip coffee was $1.50, with free refills. Hooray! For an extra 40 cents, I upgraded to their specialty, the “Shot in the Dark” (black coffee with an extra shot of espresso). Didn’t taste much stronger than the plain coffee. But whoo-o-o knows, I may become a real night owl tonight, considering the extra caffeine. Other options included Italian sodas, hot sweet-and-calorie-laden drinks (such as a caramel latte on special), and bubble teas. A small pastry rack held some tasty-looking cookies and a few other items.

Clientele and service: Someone was using a laptop at a table, and one man in a ball-cap came in for a Texas-sized cuppa something. This was a small place with not much activity this mid-afternoon. Our server willingly answered my questions and was friendly, however.

Rating: 2 (out of 5) coffee beans. Coffee and its (free!) refills were appreciated, but the place was somewhat bland.


Google offer for 4/4/12: Starbucks

Today only!

Because I haven’t been able to visit any coffee houses recently, I instead am sharing with you a deal: $5 for $10 worth of coffee at Starbucks. Also, Google donates $3 towards Create Jobs for USA Fund for each card. And below, I have provided you with an undeniable  reason why we all should drink more coffee, even the fancy-box type (Starbucks).

Google Offer: Starbucks edition!


Here’s the undeniable reason: Coffee Prevents Diabetes?!

All for now. Enjoy getting caffeinated, guilt-free!