At Stumptown, we do everything possible to source the best coffees in the world. This begins with our commitment to spending copious amounts of time with coffee farmers in order to ensure they grow, pick, and process the ripest and most intensely flavorful cherries. Wherever possible, our aim is to work as directly and transparently as humanly possible with each and every one of our coffee farmers.
Stumptown's Direct Trade program is a reward-based purchasing strategy designed to create incentive for farmers to produce the best quality they can. The objective is to create and control a transparent supply chain from farm to cup. Our Green Coffee buyers are the backbone of our Direct Trade program. Throughout the year, they constantly meet with coffee producers in order to source the best coffees possible while ensuring that the producers' lives are improved. The farms and the communities they support benefit greatly, as we pay top dollar for the most excellent of their fruit. These prices provide a sustainable, predictable and successful future. Stumptown guarantees that you will experience some of the sweetest and most complex coffees available anywhere.
Stumptown- In the Press
Entrepreneur Magazine, June 2011
Duane Sorenson, the Coffee Connoisseur of Stumptown Coffee Roasters
"This innovator elevated coffee to a level of appreciation on par with gourmet food and fine wine. An inside look at how the company helped launch a culture of coffee aficionados."
IMBIBE, May/June 2011
"Sorenson took his passion for relationship coffee and his belief that coffee drinkers should know who and where their beans come from, to a new level..."
New York Times Magazine
Ristretto, My Caffeinated Valentine by Oliver Strand
"On any given day, Stumptown Coffee Roasters (20 West 29th Street) in the Ace Hotel offers around 20 different freshly roasted coffees. It's the largest variety in the city and one of the most impressive selections anywhere."
the story of how we wound up meeting the folks at stumptown coffee and deciding to work with them goes something like this.... i was in the office talking to my manager about a cupping we had just gone to at a local coffee shop. i walked out of the office and saw a strange man wandering in to the basement looking lost... turns out he was from stumptown. i still to this day have no idea how he wound up outside my kitchen office door on a random tuesday morning (and i have no idea what day it really was but tuesday sounds good), but after chatting with jon for a few minutes i knew i wanted to learn more about stumptown. on my next trip to new york, we headed out to brooklyn to meet up with jon at their ny roastery. we saw some beans being roasted, talked about the beliefs of the company, and they gave me rotten milk to put in my coffee. the first two parts were awesome, rotten milk not so much. but considering i was probably the only person in the building who doesn't take their coffee black, i understood. as a whole, stumptown is a company that not only puts care into the roasting of the beans and creating the perfect blend, but also focuses on first steps of good coffee.... the farmers. to find people to build relationships with, they visit with farmers in regions all over the world, and not just to buy beans. just like our goat or other products... we put time into making sure the goat belly and legs and other bits taste good when we cook them, but we also took time in finding our goat farmer and try to help his business grow and succeed.
all in all, it seemed like stumptown was a great fit, and my first question, of course... when can i go to a coffee farm?
so this past may, off we went to colombia. my boyfriend, our friend/photographer huge (also a great magician), and i tagged along with darrin and jon of stumptown (a different jon from portland) on a buying trip to meet up with their colombian exporter alejandro of virimax coffee. i am pretty sure my two hour trip to REI beforehand buying survival gear was a bit excessive, but i honestly had no idea what to expect. turned out to be one of the most amazing and eye opening trips i have been on. we started off in bogota which in itself would have been a great place to explore for a week. the day was filled with an afternoon of cupping, which taught me that i have a looong way to go before my palate can pick up even a third of what alejandro and darrin were tasting. then we headed to this completely off the wall super-sized restaurant andre carne de res that housed thousands of trinkets, multiple kitchens and hundreds of people on a monday afternoon. just cheesy enough to be funny without overkill. one thing is for sure, people in colombia know how to eat.
the rest of the trip was entirely different. we spent hours at a time in the car, driving on 'roads' (dirt and rocks) through some of the most beautiful mountains i have ever seen. one minute we are in desert terrain and the next in a tropical rain forest, driving through small towns hidden amongst the jungle. i know we were there to learn more about coffee, but just being immersed in such a different culture was what made it such a unique trip. walking around a small coffee farm and seeing that there are feathers on the ground next to the chicken coup, then sitting down for a chicken stew lunch are things we just do not experience on a day to day basis here. on top of that, i know that the huge meals we were given were not served every day, and it was just amazing that the families were so generous and welcoming.
as for the coffee? pretty unbelievable. to be honest, i think the only coffee plants i have seen have been in pictures at coffee shops. i have done cuppings in chicago to make blends and have learned bits about the process, but nothing compares to seeing coffee plants in person. if only we could find some way to get the fruit that is pressed off of the bean back to the us... we could make the best energy drink there is. like natural red bull.
most impressive, and scary, to me was how steep the hillsides were that the coffee grows on. i could barely walk through the farms much less hand pick berries, being careful to only pick the ripest, while standing on a 80 degree incline. crazy. plus watching me pick berries was like watching a snail chase a lobster across the floor, no way would i be hired (pretty sure i just made that expression up by the way. feeling good right now).
after the beans are picked, pressed and allowed to ferment, they are then laid out to dry for days. some farmers still go old school by just laying tarps by the side of the road, while others have set up large enclosed tents with layers of drying racks in place to assure less cracking. alejandro has dedicated his time to helping teach famers various ways they can improve techniques to end up with better beans that companies like stumptown are looking for. beans that are not given as much care are often purchased by larger companies who are not as concerned with the nuances in flavor. pretty sure the guys that make folger's crystals are not worried about drying rack systems... actually i am not sure if those crystals are actually coffee? hmmm. deep thoughts.
aside from being a great trip and fun way for us to learn more about where coffee comes from, it was nice to get to know the guys from stumptown more and see just how crazy about coffee these people are. the trip got me even more excited to work with them for the shop at little goat. we hope to offer not only cool blends but also single farm coffees to showcase the difference even a just hundred miles can make. i think it will be great for coffee enthusiasts as well as folks that just need their morning pick me up.
cheers! i think we can cheers coffee too.