Water Avenue is, in fact, located on Water Avenue, near the Willamette River that runs through the center of Portland, Oregon. Its roastery cafe is a chic, modern affair set amongst the lofts and factory buildings of the city's historic industrial district.
Its story begins in 2009 when, perhaps inspired by one of the snowiest winters on record, the three founders bought a vintage roaster from Switzerland and began their company. In 2010, less than a year after opening their first cafe, Water Avenue was voted "Best Bean in Portland." In 2011, Seattle Weekly named them the "Best Espresso of 2011." How does a new shop gain such immediate success in such a tough market? For one, the trio of owners (father, son, and colleague) brought decades of industry and coffee experience, from coffee education to cafe management to barista-ing, from Oregon to Italy and in between.
For another, Water Avenue has a unique roasting style, their riff on "Scandinavian": typified by an extended roasting process at a lower temperature. They like to create blends, to give their customers a consistent go-to favorite, as well as experimenting with rotating single origins. In a coffee scene where light-roasted single origins are the "hot commodity," Water Avenue's toasty (and tasty!) blends set it apart.