We like to let the bean speak, if you will. Today there are basically two types of coffee available. The first is commodity coffee, which is typically handled in such large quantities that careful attention to quality at each step is virtually impossible. Typically, commodity coffee is bought at auction in large lots, then roasted with an automatic roaster that is following a programmed setting. Depending on the supply chain, some commodity coffee is then kept in a warehouse before it makes its way to a distribution center or grocery store. Once it reaches the final retail display, it can stay on the shelves for another six months. In short, if there's no roasting date printed on the bag, there's no way to know how old that "gourmet" coffee really is. Freshness is more of an afterthought, and the resulting beverage is really a necessary evil, or, an unpleasant caffeine delivery mechanism.
High volume, generic roasting will cover any individual characteristics of the bean with a dark, heavy mask. A Kenyan coffee bean wants to be aromatic and bright, with an innate sweetness balancing the acid, while a Ethiopian Yirgacheffe speaks best when the floral notes aren't overwhelmed by a zealous roaster.
The second type of coffee is specialty coffee. It takes great effort to produce, and can be harder to find than commodity coffee, but the quality is so superior that it is worth the sacrifice.
We feel that most palates, given the chance, will prefer the subtle differences that come through when each harvest of coffee is hand roasted to bring out its innate personality. Ultimately, the problem with commodity coffee is that it suffers from standardization to low standards. We offer unstandardized coffee that is carefully roasted and delivered within days of roasting.
Social and Environmental Stewardship
These days it's nearly impossible to shop without hearing breathless claims of social and environmentally responsibility. Some of them are valid, and genuinely deserved, coming from companies that approach their business and industry holistically. If you dig deep enough you'll find that others are just marketing attempts to capitalize on the fairly recent trends of "organic" and "sustainable."
With coffee, it's important to remember that there is bad coffee out there hiding behind designations such as Organic, Fair Trade, shade grown, and so on. Most of it is acceptable coffee, but unpleasant enough to require a good amount of cream and maybe even sugar. Some of it is bad enough to be called what it really is: over-roasted swill.
With that in mind, it's necessary to consider not only the certification of the coffee, but also the quality and freshness. We take great pride in the fact that our beans satisfy both requirements. We source our beans from coffee farms or co-ops that take care of the earth and the coffee workers, then roast it carefully before delivering it to you as fresh as possible. We roast every day in the morning, then package all of our coffees in bags with a one-way valve that keeps out oxygen but allows the beans to breathe as they emit CO2. All of our coffees are shipped within days of being roasted.
Small is Still Beautiful
Like many other cities, Portland has seen its farmer's markets proliferate in recent years. People are looking for alternatives to mass-produced food that comes from a huge, anonymous supply chain. There's something about heading out on a Saturday morning to meet the farmer that raises chickens or grows tomatoes just a few miles from your home. The produce we get from our farmers market in Portland is so fresh and delicious that it's quite easy to throw together a meal with a few fresh items with a splash of olive oil and coarse salt. In a similar way, we're all about knowing where your coffee comes from. We source our coffee very carefully from farms all over the world. Some of them qualify as Organic and Fair Trade, while others are too small to afford the fees that are required for the certifications.
We're confident you'll enjoy our small batch, hand roasted coffees. We promise to not over-roast, green-wash, or otherwise try to hoodwink you into buying our coffee. Rather, we're completely devoted to fresh, beautiful coffee that will make up an important part of your daily ritual.