written by Julie Lee | photos courtesy of Stumptown Coffee Roasters
With shattered October rainfall records and the chill of winter now settling in for the long haul, the weather invites us to curl up in an overstuffed chair with a hot cup of joe. We’re in luck. Next to microbrews, Pinots, hazelnuts and donuts, Oregon is a hotbed for all things coffee.
Dear Stumptown, we forgive you for growing so big; we understand you couldn’t help it. Stumptown, now owned by Peet’s, has locations in Seattle, New York, New Orleans and Los Angeles. But that doesn’t change the homegrown humble beginnings in Portland, Oregon and the zealot-like addiction loyalists have to their single-origin coffees. Stumptown put a stake in the ground early, winning the title of ‘roaster of the year’ a decade ago. The famous Hair Bender blend has had coffee enthusiasts swooning ever since. Cold brew is the new jam at Stumptown, sold just about everywhere with a Winter Cheer cold brew to up the season’s ante. At PDX, a whole Stumptown village replaced Starbucks as the beaming, beckoning light at the end of TSA’s long dark security tunnel in concourse ABC.
Portland | stumptowncoffee.com
The motto of Ashland’s Noble Coffee could not ring more true: good coffee brings people together. No other beverage keeps people lingering longer (without the end goal of a good buzz) than coffee. Launching out of a basement, like all new-age successful businesses should, Noble was founded by Jared Rennie. He brought together some world-traveled green beans, a scientist-like experimental mindset and an itching passion, and created coffee that residents and travelers seek out throughout Rogue Valley cafe’s and restaurants.
Ashland | noblecoffeeroasting.com
Coava is one of the many jewels in the crown of the third-wave coffee roasting movement, also founded in a garage by a guy with dogged ambition and maxed out credit cards. (Note: first wave = Folger’s, second wave = Starbucks, third wave = everyone else.) Owner Matt Higgins is like the chef who forages what he plates, traveling the globe to meet the farmers at the source of each bean, secure in the knowledge that the perfect cup of coffee starts there. Welcoming locations in Portland include a brew bar, similar to a wine-tasting room concept, and an espresso bar serving pastries by Little T American Baker.
Portland | coavacoffee.com
Specializing in small-batch roasted coffee beans, Pastega Coffee Roasters in Lebanon uses exclusively fair trade organic or direct trade beans to perfect an epic cup of coffee. However, the specialty here is really the cold brew, with kegs of it on tap at the ready. With a few tasting rooms throughout Corvallis and Lebanon, this is Beaver Country’s answer to the mounting Oregon coffee movement.
Corvallis | pastegacoffee.com
This is a small story with big heart. Heart Coffee roaster Wille Yli-Luoma is a Finland native and professional snowboarder who made Portland home and is now on the global map for great coffee. He’s serious about sourcing, gathering green beans from Central America, South America and Africa, and he’s not afraid to share his hot secrets to success, offering classes in home brewing and even cupping clinics. In beer terms, Heart Coffee would be like a friendly, drinkable IPA.
Portland | heartroasters.com