Case Study Coffee Opens New Shop in Portland’s Alberta Arts District

The new cafe's clean lines and custom Synesso are part of an overarching design theme

By Emily McIntyre
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE

Like most buildouts in our industry, the new Case Study Coffee Roasters shop on Northeast Alberta Street in Portland, Ore., was built from vision and elbow grease as much as from wood and steel and Heath Ceramic tile. Owners Wes Russell and Christine Herman began serving coffee to the good people of Portland back in 2007 with an espresso catering service that grew to one, two, and now three unique neighborhood coffeehouses.

Christine Herman owns Case Study Coffee Roasters in Portland, Ore., with Wes. Case Study recently celebrated the opening of its third location.
Christine Herman owns Case Study Coffee Roasters in Portland, Ore., with Wes Russell. Case Study recently celebrated the opening of its third location.

Case Study was inspired by the mid-century architectural movement of the same name, and each shop reflects the design aesthetic in a different way. At 1422 NE Alberta, Russell took advantage of the high ceilings, mezzanine and all, to design a riff on the 1960’s-era Sputnik chandelier at each shop: a 12-foot caffeine molecule. George Nelson bubble lamps (designed from World War II military self-webbing material), Rowland 40/4 chairs, and a mind-bending floor that mimics terrazzo flooring, are added details that set the stage for a custom black Synesso Hydra with laser-etching, Kony and Mahlkonig EK-43 grinders, and a beautiful 1948-era Probat L-5 purchased from Willem Boot.

The new cafe's clean lines and custom Synesso are part of an overarching design theme based on Sputnick era industrialism.
The new cafe’s clean lines and custom Synesso are part of an overarching design theme based on Sputnick era industrialism.

Piece by piece, the shop was built by the Case Study team. They performed improbable acrobatics on ladders to hang the Sputnik, sweated through the 90+ degree Portland summer while they sanded and finished the hundreds of walnut rails that finish the curving bar, and laid the tile, piece by piece. Now, one of the œprettiest cafes in Portland  is fully operational and serving coffees like the exclusive 3-bag microlot Guatemala Campamento Alto making waves among customers right now.

Case Study is one of Portland's best known roasters, and regularly has baristas in competition at coffee events.
Case Study is one of Portland’s best known roasters, and regularly has baristas in competition at coffee events.

The shop opened in early August with an early sneak peek for the coffee industry at a TNTNW event.  Hosted by Espresso Parts and Case Study, the event was a huge, packed-out success. After a couple months of getting systems in place and meeting the neighborhood, the Grand Opening Party welcomed everyone to dance to the inimitable Bollywood mix of DJ Anjali and the Incredible Kid and down far too much local beer. Now, the cafe and baristas are buckling down to dispense good cheer through the long, dreary Portland winter. They certainly have made a promising start.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sac Crawl

A barista married to a Q Grader,  Emily McIntyre  wears plenty of hats in the coffee industry: as one of the kick-ass teammates at  The LAB  the West CoastCaffeine Crawls  are her baby; she’s the newly-appointed œmarketing person  at  Case Study Coffee  in Portland, Oregon; and as a  freelance writer who is obsessed with the people  who create and love coffee, she writes her way across the country as well as provides  business writing services  to coffee companies small and large. All social media handles ˜mcintyrewrites.’ She also produces an intermittent travel/beverages blog at  www.softexplosions.com.

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