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Kobos Espresso Bar & Retail Store

2355 NW Vaughn
Portland, OR

Unless you’ve been clued in, it’s quite easy to overlook Kobos, which seems camouflaged in its heavy-duty business area. Don’t overlook! Kobos Espresso Bar and Retail Store is a blend of a coffee/tea shop and Kitchen Kaboodle. I like the use of the words, “retail store” on the building:  not pretentious. The store, which is new or remodeled, has a high ceiling with exposed vents, plumbing, etc. (“form follows function”) and is well-lit. It is chock full of tempting gizmos, kitchen utensils & pots & pans, seasonal decorations, and things like aprons & linens & kids’ chefs’ hats. Over towards the coffee/ tea area, a shift is made to display bulk teas, including oddballs such as birds’ nest tea and rooibos tea; teapots & cups; and the rest of the kit . Several small round wooden tables, with simple chairs, are sprinkled at the E end of the shop, where there is a door to the umbrella’d and decked seating area. Stalwart beverage drinkers sat out there in the pouring rain, but we found it much pleasanter inside!  A polished cement floors offers a welcome feeling of openness, if not warmth.

Fare: inexpensive drip coffee, $1.40 and good! They serve fancy “mixed” coffees and chai, and eats.

Service and clientele: The baristas also tended the shop of kitchen goodies. They were young, and seemed enthusiastic about their products. Mine allowed me to open my purchased bag of tea, giving me complementary hot water, so that my companion could try some of my tea without an extra counter purchase. It was quiet in the coffee shop, and clientele were mostly people who came there alone and seemed to be dressed for work. Then there were the drenched guys outside who were talking up a storm (making their own rain?).

Bathroom: Located the opposite side of the kitchen goods, it made me somewhat self-conscious to wind my way through the merchandise. I suppose that was as much to capture my attention (for impulse buying) as to share with store customers. The room was quite functional and clean.

Rating: 3.5 (of 5 coffee beans), because the openness and table choices/ placement didn’t offer coziness, but all else was basically fine. Nice find.

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