Gold Rush Coffee Bar   2601 NE Martin Luther King Blvd., Portland, OR

Gold Rush Coffee House 2601 Northeast Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard Portland, OR

Don’t know quite why this coffeehouse is called this. Black gold, I guess, as in black coffee. But maybe this was around back when the Yukon Gold Rush happened, and it was indeed the spot where unlucky prospectors nursed their drinks. Could be—the place is, naturally and happily, old. Unlikely, though.

This has a corner door, with awnings outside and an inset glass entry. A small bar with seats looks out onto MLK Av. Old wooden floors meet up with old wooden counters, and tables & chairs are nondescript, except for the old wooden church pews along a brick wall on the side. This wall displays art work and has windows installed waaaay up there. They were cobwebby, and reminded me of the Childcraft story about Nanette and the French chateau (her only exit was also cobwebby). Old-time ceiling fans whir, cooling the place, and pendulous schoolhouse lights hang from the ceiling. Two steps lead down to a back door, which lets you into the building which houses the shop. They display old one-lb. coffee cans, and use dark wainscoating and woodwork to its best advantage. The presence of 2 computer desks is in stark contrast to the weathered place; these appear to be set up for patrons who didn’t drag along their own laptops for the free WIFI.

I had what they called a “cold press” coffee. He explained it to be similar to “sun tea”, but sans sun. Appropriate for Portland2! He said it sits, “brews”, for 16 hours to get the flavor without bitterness. Kind of like the leftover stuff I sometimes end up drinking at home, except mine is hot, and exceedingly thick and bitter from reheating. The cold-press coffee was fine, but I can’t say it was worth the extra moolah for the 16 hours’ labor, or whatever it was they charged extra for. It was, in fact, like iced coffee, a coffee variation I accept only under duress or when it’s very hot outside. This particular day qualified so well as “hot” that the coffee house offered $1 ice cream sandwiches; we zapped up one apiece. My companion had a very minty, naturally sweet iced tea, which not only cleansed her palate but satisfied her sweet tooth. Her ice cream was purely for the ice part of it.

Fare: My cold press coffee was $2.30, up from $1.60 for regular hot coffee, unless my memory escapes me. They serve caffe Vita and bagels, as well as pastries and some sandwich/breakfast food. Apparently the lattes are quite artistic, with swans and such in the swirls!

Bathrooms: Adequate

Service and clientele:  Seemed to be (just a few, mid-day) locals there. Barrista was friendly enough to explain the cold press coffee production.

Rating: 3 (of 5) coffee beans