Congratulations to Devin Chapman of Coava Coffee Roasters for winning both the Regional Barista and Brewers Cup awards for the Northwest! We’ve had the pleasure of experiencing his expertise a few times while visiting Portland and can’t be more happy for him. It’s actually a repeat victory for him in the Brewer’s Cup.

Devin works with Coava, which has been making its mark in the coffee scene for a few years now. I remember Red E serving us some of Coava’s beans back around 2009 when (I think) Coava were still a home roasting operation. Then we were pleasantly surprised after moving to Oakland to find that Local 123 in Berkeley carried Coava. In fact, they even used Coava’s own aluminum Kone filters. Local 123 has since consolidated to a Four Barrel account, but Coava isn’t going anywhere.

If you’re ever in Portland, check out Coava’s shop on Grand Ave at Main. It’s quite a unique space, sharing the floor with Bamboo Revolution’s show room!

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Who wants to go to Santa Cruz this month? We are excited to go!

If you’re not familiar with Stumptown Coffee Roasters, then it’s time you get an introduction. They’re arguably the king of third wave coffee in the Northwest – definitely in Portland. They were at the forefront of the recent movement towards directly sourced, high quality coffee being roasted in small batches to highlight its natural flavors. They’ve expanded to New York and are even looking at some mass market ventures, so their brand may be drifting from the local, small batch roasters Portlanders are fond of. Still, they have undeniable experience and polish.

If you’re looking for a roaster or website that provides content and production values worthy of the coffee, Stumptown.com is your place to start. They have excellent brewing guides, information on varietals, videos from the farms, and informative blog posts. Of course, that’s not the only good source, but we can address those another day.

Postcard advertising Stumptown

Postcard advertising Stumptown Coffee Roasters

This post was really just to point you to a helpful site, but allow me rant a little.

You may think that San Francisco producers – Four Barrel, Ritual, Blue Bottle (though they really belong to Oakland) – represent the best coffee in the world (the owner of Ritual unabashedly claimed such on a recent NPR interview). That might be true, but let’s not neglect the pioneers and competitors. Stumptown is one of those roasters who has been at it for a long time (since 1999) and has been doing it very well. They’ve moved on to noticeably different levels of scale, production and professionalism. I’m not going to posit whether it’s for better or for worse, because the product will unavoidable change along with the company. But, if nothing else, there’s a large and growing crowd of high quality roasters and baristas in Portland rising up in their wake.

Funny, I was never really a big fan of Stumptown. Maybe I had just grown weary of Hair Bender‘s former dominance in the Portland area. But you have to appreciate what they did for coffee standards in the NW and the U.S. as a whole. Enjoy the website.

-Donovan

Here’s an excellent quick video on Chemex use. If you have one or are interested in using a Chemex, watch and improve your use. I always learn something new when I watch things like this, or am just reminded to keep doing all the little steps that I skip sometimes.

I think my dream of being a full time barista is becoming that much more compelling after reading Colby Barr’s interview from SF Weekly. Sometimes being a therapist is not so fun.  The clear boundaries and results of good espresso feels so refreshing. Can I say I love that Colby is quoted saying that it’s a parent’s job to teach a person to be nice, not an employer?

Seriously though, these people (Verve Coffee Roaster) pull a mean espresso, roast amazing beans for our home brewing, and consistently impress us with their genuine kindness each time we’re in their store. My take away: you can really tell when a company invests in training and hiring kind people.  Go visit Modern Coffee or Bica for a taste test or to buy your own beans. Or go visit one of their three cafes in Santa Cruz. I hear it’s going to be great weather there this Saturday.

 

 

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One of my favorites

I really enjoyed this thoughtful blog post today by one of my favorite current places, Bica.  They carry several awesome espresso choices at all times and just added Intelly to the list.  Mmm.