Well, its finally time.
I've spent the last three years in Boston learning its coffee culture inside and out. Having worked at commercial and independent shops, I have a pretty good scope of knowledge on how both work up here. However, the West Coast calls and Portland looks like the best option for me to set up shop. I have extensive management experience and have helped organize bar training, product purchasing, and store renovations at my current job. It will be sad to leave, but I'm eager to expand into a totally different market and part of the country. Obviously, I'll need a little help finding a shop to call home once I get to Portland, but more importantly I have little to go on in terms of what to expect. Has anyone moved to Portland recently, or know someone who has? Anyone looking for an extremely eager barista, worker, or manager? At the very least, what should I know that can't be found in travel guides, metafilter posts and other common sources of info? Any and all experiences are greatly appreciated, and I'm always looking for fresh opinions and advice.

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What he said. Even if you do get a job before moving, be prepared for at least 2 months of unemployment. I have 2 friends that both had jobs, made the move and it fell though. There are a lot of shops in Portland, there are also a lot of non-quality focused shops. And there are a LOT of baristas, too. Good luck.


Justin Johnson said:
Find a job before you get here, the prospects of getting into an awesome shop are slim in this economy.
Let me know what Portlands like when you get there. I'm planning on moving there or Seattle in a couple of months... Good Luck with the Job Hunt.
I recently moved there (and then had to move away again for unrelated reasons). It is one of the hardest places to get a job in any industry, good luck! And yes, there are a lot of baristas there, but also a lot of cafes. Find the good ones! There are a lot of shitty ones too. It is probably going to be a challenge.

I was unemployed, and then I was a parking attendant before I finally got a coffee job (after interviewing at several places). You should totally apply with City Center Parking if you become desperate like I was. I'm not saying it won't suck, but I bet they'll hire you right away. You get to wear a sweet uniform. Haha.
My first thought after attending the USBC in PDX, drinking coffee from Clover's, world class espresso in each neighborhood, etc., was to move there. It was a fleeting thought for several reasons. First, there's no shortage of talent and ambition in Portland, and I'd be just one more up and comer in a long line of them. Second, even if Portland is the epicenter of quality coffee, the ripples out there are significant. Why be one of several great baristas or cafe owners in a town full of them, when you can be THE barista or cafe in your town?

In the great tradition of apprenticeship, I think the thing to do is find a cafe that will take you in (without pay even) and cut your teeth there, then head out and spread the love across this great big quality coffee-starved abyss.

Barista Mag has a great article about Zach Rye in the most recent addition, whose rocking it his way in a town I can't pronounce, and normally would never visit, but now consider it a must on any road trip through the state of Michigan. The same can be said of all of those talented baristas that represented talented roasters across the US this weekend. I was blown away.

Me, I'm gonna put Sitka, Alaska (Where the hell, you say?) on the espressomap.

Amanda said:
With all due respect to the coffee kids who want to move to our beautiful city, I'm not sure what you expect. The unemployment rate in Portland just went up to 9.1%, so you'll most likely have a little difficulty finding ANY job. Mayor Sam Adams doesn't just greet new Portlanders at city limits with a shiny new tamper and a management position at Stumptown (he's got interns for that).
Here's the thing about Portland: everyone wants to live here. The New York Times constantly writes about how much cooler and more European we are than other cities, it's relatively cheap for a West Coast city, and there's a thriving local music scene. One of the reasons why then unemployment rate is so high (according to our public radio station) is that people continue to move here without having jobs lined up.
I'm not trying to dissuade anyone from moving to Portland; just be realistic about your expectations and take the advice posted by other people in this thread.

Best of luck,
A
We need Coffee People in OKC!!!
How the hell did I miss the farmers in my last post? My bad!

Pedal Press said:
My first thought after attending the USBC in PDX, drinking coffee from Clover's, world class espresso in each neighborhood, etc., was to move there. It was a fleeting thought for several reasons. First, there's no shortage of talent and ambition in Portland, and I'd be just one more up and comer in a long line of them. Second, even if Portland is the epicenter of quality coffee, the ripples out there are significant. Why be one of several great baristas or cafe owners in a town full of them, when you can be THE barista or cafe in your town?

In the great tradition of apprenticeship, I think the thing to do is find a cafe that will take you in (without pay even) and cut your teeth there, then head out and spread the love across this great big quality coffee-starved abyss.

Barista Mag has a great article about Zach Rye in the most recent addition, whose rocking it his way in a town I can't pronounce, and normally would never visit, but now consider it a must on any road trip through the state of Michigan. The same can be said of all of those talented baristas that represented talented roasters across the US this weekend. I was blown away.

Me, I'm gonna put Sitka, Alaska (Where the hell, you say?) on the espressomap.

Amanda said:
With all due respect to the coffee kids who want to move to our beautiful city, I'm not sure what you expect. The unemployment rate in Portland just went up to 9.1%, so you'll most likely have a little difficulty finding ANY job. Mayor Sam Adams doesn't just greet new Portlanders at city limits with a shiny new tamper and a management position at Stumptown (he's got interns for that).
Here's the thing about Portland: everyone wants to live here. The New York Times constantly writes about how much cooler and more European we are than other cities, it's relatively cheap for a West Coast city, and there's a thriving local music scene. One of the reasons why then unemployment rate is so high (according to our public radio station) is that people continue to move here without having jobs lined up.
I'm not trying to dissuade anyone from moving to Portland; just be realistic about your expectations and take the advice posted by other people in this thread.

Best of luck,
A
Amen! Wish I had the sense to do some more thinking and research before I showed up here. Best of luck Pedal Press! See ya around in Sitka one of these days.
I, too, am moving to Portland come June or July. When I was there for USBC, I heard it was incredibly hard to obtain a job there. So, I would say get one before moving, too.
What I wouldn't do to be back in Portland!! Amazing city, especially if you like to walk. I love it. A lot of Coffee. If you can, go check out Portland and see what an amazing place it is to find The Cuisine of Coffee.
I moved to Portland in sept. As an experienced barista and cafe manager i thought it wouldn't be that hard to find a cafe job, but i have yet to find one. i took a job at a convience store to get me by while i keep looking for cafe jobs. it's a lot harder than i thought it would be. i moved here from Seattle, and have had several people not even give me half a shot because i'm not from Portland. I wish I could say "come here it's easy and great" but I can't. When I moved to seattle it was much easier. I only applied for 2 jobs, got hired immediatly and got two promotions in my first 4 months. Seattle was a great deal easier on me than Portland has been. I suggest save up as much as you can before coming here. Portland is filled with great people and great cafes and i really wish the job market were great too, because i want to love it here, but i'm having a hard time of it.
Sounds familiar to me. I came to Portland with similar aspirations. I had a bit better timing (e.g. before the recession), but it still took me almost 3 months before I found a job that I wanted to hold on to. And I came here with $600.
It was seriously hard for me and started to consider admitting defeat and moving back home, then I got my security deposit from my old apartment. Couldn't have come at a better time. Your results may vary.

lisa russell said:
I moved to Portland in sept. As an experienced barista and cafe manager i thought it wouldn't be that hard to find a cafe job, but i have yet to find one. i took a job at a convience store to get me by while i keep looking for cafe jobs. it's a lot harder than i thought it would be. i moved here from Seattle, and have had several people not even give me half a shot because i'm not from Portland. I wish I could say "come here it's easy and great" but I can't. When I moved to seattle it was much easier. I only applied for 2 jobs, got hired immediatly and got two promotions in my first 4 months. Seattle was a great deal easier on me than Portland has been. I suggest save up as much as you can before coming here. Portland is filled with great people and great cafes and i really wish the job market were great too, because i want to love it here, but i'm having a hard time of it.
Forget Portland ... LOL Seriously come on down to the coast and we'll talk. We're looking for the right fit as we head towards spring break and summer. Right on the ocean! --- Lincoln City,OR (you did mean Portland Oregon right?) www.pacificgrindcafe.com and/or e-mail upwardcatllc@yahoo.com

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