Fehrenbacher Hof is a Portland coffee house located in Goose Hollow, just outside of downtown. I would probably never have found it, but some of my friends who live in the area said that I should check it out. The café is a converted old house with lots of the character that comes from being built a long time ago. As you walk around, you hear the wooden floorboards creak beneath your feet, tired from years of service. The space is pretty intimate and it feels like you are in someone’s house.
I made it to the Hof on a Thursday afternoon. When I asked the barista what the espresso was like, she seemed a little surprised by my question and told me that it was dark. Hmm. . . That’s not always a bad sign, but the shot I received was a big for a double and was a little watery. Still, I could tell that the coffee was a smooth, low-acid blend that is just slightly chocolaty.
The cafe has a large selection of teas, so when I went back for another drink, I ordered tea instead. I tried the jasmine pearl tea made by Tao of Tea. My cup looked like it was full of seaweed, but it was tasty.
The highlight of the café was its eccentric décor. I sat in what would have been a back bedroom on an old church pew that served as the bench for my table. Across the room stood a retro black knitted lamp and there were two stuffed crows perched on a fake branch towering over the room. Soft rock was playing over the speakers in the background and the room was quiet enough to easily write or study.
The upstairs seating area was even quieter, at least when I was there. I saw some toys for kids up there, so it might not always be as quiet. The mural in the bathroom downstairs was worth the trip over. I’m not saying it was fine art, but it was one of the boldest color schemes I have ever seen in a bathroom.
In addition to writers and businessmen, the café is also a hang-out for Lincoln high-school students. Sitting there, I overheard students gossip about who was going out with whom and who was mad at who. If you’re not into that, be sure to bring your headphones (this rule goes for most cafés, as you never know who might sit by you). I wasn’t there for very long before I put mine in.
My biggest complaint for my time at Fehernbacher Hof was that the café smelled like an over-baked pastry. You could smell the aroma of butter and flour that had been baked just a little too long. It was pretty strong—and kind of distracting. I assume that someone just left a croissant in the oven a little too long and the café doesn’t always smell like that.
Overall, I thought the atmosphere was interesting enough for the café to be a good hangout or place to study, but if you are a coffee purist you would not make it your first choice. . . .Unless you really like quirk with your coffee.
Address: 1225 SW 19th Ave Portland, Oregon 97205 (map)
Hours: Monday-Friday 6am-6pm
Free Wi-Fi? Yes
Recommend it? For the quirkiness
Website: None that I can find