How many times have you spoken to someone outside of Portland and heard something like, “You have so many coffee shops in Portland!” Or another frequent comment like “Portland has a coffee shop on every corner!” If you have lived in the Portland area for any length of time these or something similar about Portland, and its incredible amount of coffee shops has surely hit your ears. If it hasn’t, you probably don’t speak with people outside of our area much. We are known worldwide for coffee.
So the question is, exactly how many coffee shops are there in Portland?
How Many Coffee Shops Are There In Portland Oregon?
To get right to the number, there are 2,572 coffee shops within the city of Portland “proper” (as of Jan 2016), including locations within traditional Portland suburbs such as Beaverton, Gresham, Wilsonville and Tigard, as well as the overall Portland Metro area. What is even more incredible about this number, as if the number of coffee shops in Portland isn’t impressive enough, is the fact that only 295 of the coffee shops in Portland are a Starbucks location.
Crazy Portland Coffee Statistics
We thought it might be interesting to do a little math using the coffee shop numbers along with population counts? Using the 2014 Portland Metro area population estimate of 2,348,247 and the 2,572 coffee shops in Portland, that means that there is one coffee shop for every 913 people in Portland. WHAT? Yes, it’s true. We do love our coffee here in Portland.
If we were to dig even further, we would also want to note that since the 913 person figure is based on the total Portland Metro area population and not just on coffee drinkers, it doesn’t take into account babies, children or other adults that don’t drink coffee at all. If we guessed that of the 2.3 million population, some 300,000 were children or of a non coffee drinking age, and estimated that there are just 2 million adults in the Portland Metro area, the numbers change dramatically.
Using the 2 million adult population assumption in Portland, there is one coffee shop for every 777 people in Portland. To put that into perspective, a Boeing 747-400 can fit 660 passengers in a high density one-class configuration. Another example showing how impressive this ratio of people to coffee shops in Portland is that the average movie theater typically seats around 250. So approximately three movie theaters has the same number of people who have access to a single coffee shop in Portland.
Why Does Portland Have So Many Coffee Shops?
The big question becomes why does Portland have so many coffee shops? Without a scientific study, I am not sure that could ever be answered definitively, however we have a few thoughts that might contribute to it.
1 – It’s cold outside – If you aren’t from the pacific northwest, trying to understand how 40 degrees could be so cold is difficult. But until you have experienced the continual damp cold, combined with the winds out of the Columbia River Gorge, you are really in for something unique. It is a cold that gets to your bones and just won’t warm up.
2 – Artisan Culture – In the Portland area we are not very mainstream in a lot of ways. Our artisan, craft and design culture (some would say counter-culture) is rich. In Portland we are known for taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary. This is true from technology to clothing and everything in between. Coffee is no exception.
3 – We Congregate – Our Portland culture is one of community. That might not seem like a reason for so many coffee shops, but think about it. Walk into just about any coffee shop in Portland and you will see large and small groups of friends happily conversing. You will see business meetings taking place and conversations between acquaintances and strangers alike.
Coffee shops in the Portland Metro area are like extended family rooms, offices or an old corner cafe. In Portland, we like our coffee served with a side of warmth and human interaction. It is no surprise that we have over 2,500 coffee shops in Portland.
What are your favorite coffee shops in Portland?