Arts & Life, Features

Portfolio Coffeehouse warrants a place for art to prosper

In the age of Starbucks, Coffee Bean and Dunkin’ Donuts, coffee shops are certainly not scarce. But local cafe Portfolio Coffeehouse distinguishes itself from the likes of coffee-chains like these with its artsy interior and dedication to giving the Long Beach community a home away from home.   

Annalyse Meyer, a Long Beach State alumna and general manager at Portfolio, said that the shop was opened by owner Kerstin Kansteiner in 1990 and is a “staple in the neighborhood.”

“I’ve been told our place reminds [people] of the shop from ‘Friends,’” Meyer said.

Inside, the cafe has a distinct coffee scent from their signature roast, Illy and the walls are decorated with an array of modern art pieces.

The glow of computers illuminate off of patrons’ faces, a familiar sight for the shop, according to Meyer.

“Our night crowd is pretty student heavy, [there are] a lot of people on laptops,” she said.

While the comfy atmosphere draws many of Portfolio’s clientele, their menu is also a reason to visit.

The drinks aren’t as expansive and experimental as something seen in a chain coffee shop, but Meyer said that Portfolio’s “prideful artistry” is what sets this shop apart from others.

“Our signature is a Mexican [chocolate] mocha and that’s what a lot of people usually end up trying when they come in for the first time,” Meyer said.

The shop sells espresso drinks, coffees, teas and iced blended drinks, in addition to a handful of food and pastry options such as an avocado wrap and vegan burrito.

Something that is singular to the coffeehouse is its devotion to be a home for creators and its mission to “support the arts,” Meyer said. Portfolio houses everything from book signings and poetry readings to live music, all in an effort to maintain involvement with the community.

Meyer said that the shop is also involved in Fourth Fridays on Fourth Street, a free event open to the public that allows attendees to visit businesses at extended hours and gain access to discounts, art shows and more.

Portfolio Coffeehouse is open Monday through Friday from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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