The Coffee Drop

On Saturday Scott, Yone, Garry and I went to The Coffee Drop. Yone and her blue-eyed husky Milo (see them both here), traverse the hills of SW Portland regularly, so she had seen this place and suggested we try it. With my love of any creative use of space and the small house movement, I too was curious about this unusual little yellow building on Barbur Boulevard. And when I say “on” Barbur Boulevard, I am being almost literal.Close to Barbur Boulevard - Photo by YoneThe front door is at one corner of the small building.The Coffee Drop Front Door - Photo by YoneJavier Santos, owner and barista, greeted us.Javier SantosThe drink menu had everything we were looking for.The List of DrinksAs he made our coffee, Javier told us a bit about himself and his business. His grandparents were coffee growers and producers in Guatemala, and his parents still have a small operation there, so he learned about coffee at an early age. When he came to Portland he worked for European-style restaurants for several years, where he learned the “espresso culture.” He opened The Coffee Drop, his first business, ten months ago.Javier Santos, Owner - Photo by YoneThe coffee was presented to us on this bar with beautiful wooden inlays, andCoffee on the Bar - Photo by Yonewas lovely and delicious.Latte - Photo by YoneJavier said he uses coffee from Sisters Coffee Company not only because he is friends with the owners, but because they produce a consistently excellent product.Sisters Coffee CompanyScott tried the Mayan Chocolate and said it had “a little kick” – possibly cinnamon – that he liked.Scott with Mayan CocoaFor those of us who are gluten-free, the Coffee Drop carries pastries and cookies from local bakery New Cascadia. The mural here was painted by the former business owner who operated here for only one month.MuralJavier fixed the mural a bit and painted the interior walls a deep brown. I told him that walking into the rich colors of this little shop was like walking inside a tiny drop of coffee. He said this was not his intent, but smiled at the idea. The shop had just enough space inside for three comfortable chairs next to the window.Two of the Three ChairsIn the back Javier installed a tiny terrace, with room enough for one table, built by another of his friends.Tiny Terrace with Scaled LandscapingI like the detail of the to-scale landscaping next to the back terrace shown above. The building itself is truly tiny – just 184 square feet according to Portland Maps – and is triangular in shape.Triangular BuildingAs he prepared to open the business about ten months ago, Javier decided to change the yellow color of the exterior. Then he learned that this “little yellow building” was something of a landmark and reference point for other businesses along this stretch of road, so the yellow stayed.The Little Yellow BuildingAs shown in the pictures above and below, the yellow color indeed is kind of a beacon for itself and the nearby businesses.The Little Yellow Building 2Just to the west of The Coffee Drop is Bye Engraving and H&R Block.Businesses Next Door - West of The Coffee DropTo the east is Larry Rodman State Farm Insurance, Hoot-N-Annie Children’s Resale Boutique, and Northwest Optometric.Businesses Next Door - East of The Coffee DropThe Coffee Drop is one of the few independent coffee shops in my neighborhood, so I am very happy to have it here, and plan to visit often.Post CardYone, thank you for the topic suggestion and for contributing a number of the pictures shown here. And thank you, Scott, for buying! The Coffee Drop is…Yone at The Coffee Drop - Self Portrait


7 responses to “The Coffee Drop

  1. glad i could be of help!

  2. Thanks for writing about this place. I’ve driven by it many times and have noticed that it wasn’t always in business. I want to see places like this do well. I’ll have to stop in sometime soon. Good luck to Javier!

  3. Pingback: JoLa Cafe | Noticing Southwest Portland

  4. As the original owner of the Coffee Drop, which It was sadly only open for “5” months due to the economic failure, it had every part of my soul for over 4 years of my life.
    This project took place starting in 2007 where I painstakingly created and designed every corner of the building. I fabricated the windows, the old growth front door, the awnings and spent over 180 hours painting the mural. I spent hours installing the custom wood ceiling and had my very good friend make the Purple Heart counter tops with Yellow Heart inlay. Creating such a place took many hours of study and learning the movements of the coffee industry.
    When the city turned down any means of a drive thru, it was also the end of keeping the business afloat due to its location and the economic crash. So when the property owner informed me that someone new was continuing the “Coffee Drop” I was happy to see my work live on.
    On another note, it was sad to hear the new business owner claim responsibility and ownership for things he had nothing to do with. In my opinion, he took away the flavor of what the Coffee Drop was and designed to be.

    Best wishes to those who make that little business thrive.

  5. Isaac, it is great to hear from you. I think I actually met you a few years ago while you were there working on the building and I stopped in to say hello. I’ve always loved that little building, and it sounds like you do, too. I’m sorry to hear that the new owner did not appreciate the effort and creative energy that you invested in it. I see that the building has now been painted purple! I certainly hope that the wonderful mural you painted survives. Thanks for providing all this history of the place I continue to call The Coffee Drop.

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