We Are Not Alone visits cafes owned by people of color

We are Cardinal Times reporters Skylar DeBose and Leela Moreno, and together we started a series of podcasts and articles called “We Are Not Alone” that works to center voices of color. As part of our series, we are reviewing businesses in the Portland area owned by people of color. For our first review, we focused on different cafes near Lincoln. Our reviews are based on the following qualities: proximity to Lincoln, ambiance of the cafe and the quality of the food and drinks. In the center of Portland, a city where white people make up 77% of the population, it wasn’t surprising that it was difficult to find cafes owned by people of color. We ended up going to Behind the Museum Cafe and Deadstock Coffee Roasters.

Behind the Museum Cafe

Behind the Museum Cafe is a Japanese-owned business. As stated in its name, the cafe lies behind the Portland Art Museum, which is a short walk from Lincoln. This location makes it a perfect place for studying during FLEX or after school. When we walked in the door we were immediately greeted by baristas who were extremely friendly and provided great customer service. The space itself was meticulously decorated in a way that was inviting and calm, with soft lighting and decorations such as Japanese clothing, tapestries and pottery. We ordered the affogato (vanilla ice cream topped with a shot of espresso), matcha brownie, chikara cake and oat milk latte.

While the affogato had a nice flavor, Skylar found it to be too strong and would’ve preferred more ice cream. 

The oat milk latte was a perfect coffee: in addition to its delicious taste, the leaf shaped latte art was very aesthetically pleasing.

We both found the matcha brownie delicious. It was perfectly sweet, full of matcha flavor and had a great fudgy texture. All of this made the matcha brownie Skylar’s favorite. 

The chikara cake, a thick, dense cake similar to fruit cake, pairs perfectly with a cup of coffee. It was full of nuts and dried fruit, yet still moist anddelicious. Note that we would not recommend this cake to raisin haters.

We highly recommend visiting Behind the Museum Cafe.


Deadstock Coffee Roasters 

Deadstock Coffee Roasters is one of the only Black-owned coffee shops in Portland. Located in Portland’s Chinatown, the coffee shop is a 20-25 minute walk Lincoln. Right outside Deadstock Coffee is a beautiful “Black Lives Matter” mural painted on the exterior of the building, which gives you a vibe of the coffee shop before even entering. Filled with artwork and decor representing sneaker culture, including a “sneaker clock” and drawings of a variety of Nike shoes, the shop has a casual, cool environment, with hip-hop music playing from the speakers as customers and employees strike up casual conversations.

Unlike most typical coffee shops, Deadstock Coffee Roasters doesn’t have a menu. When ordering, you tell them what you’re going for: sweet, not sweet, milk, sugar, etc. Skylar wanted something on the sweeter side, and the barista whipped up a vanilla latte with milk and extra vanilla syrup. Leela wanted a stronger coffee and was served a classic oat milk latte with no sweetener. The barista offered to “stencil” our coffee with a Nike shoe (and we accepted); this gave the coffee a neat presentation. The coffee was high quality, and we were both pleased with our orders. 

Unlike Behind the Museum Cafe, Deadstock Coffee Roasters isn’t the perfect place for FLEX due to its distance from Lincoln, but we’d definitely recommend making the trip.