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A Real or Imagined History.

We don’t know why or by whom coffee seeds were first roasted but we think it was a really good idea.

The theorems of how people came to roast coffee are shrouded in lore. Legend has it that 9th century goat herds in Ethiopia were seen eating unknown red berries and soon after were allegedly seen to be ‘dancing’– naturally, their trusty shepherds followed suit. Down the line, this coffee cherry was named diabolical by monks, thrown into the fire, and the fumes emitted therein were deemed divine. The only thing we can confirm is the nature of that holy roasted coffee bean.

Throughout history, people have roasted coffee beans over fires and in stoves. Later arrived the inventions of larger batch roasters and many of the machines built in the early twentieth century are the grandpaps of what we use now – in fact, most of the Probat roasters we use in our roasteries today were built mid-century. We currently have seven Probat drum roasters. Working with these old guys is like using a seasoned and well-loved cast iron skillet.

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A First Crack at Roasting Coffee.

The roasting process is essentially a chemical decomposition of green coffee beans by heating. Things are both lost and created while roasting coffee. A green coffee bean changes as it is heated in many ways, but three of these changes are common in kitchens everywhere. They are known as Maillard reactions, Strecker Degradations and Caramelization – we have these guys to thank for roasted coffee’s aroma, flavor, sweetness and rich brown color. The Maillard is a browning reaction – it’s what makes toast taste different than stale bread. Caramelization is the breakdown of sugar molecules under high heat, which unearths an array of sweet, bitter and nutty flavor molecules. These processes change starch into sugars and then caramelize those sugars.

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What We Mean When We Talk About Roast.

Very broadly speaking, at Stumptown, we tend to roast coffees at a ‘medium’ roast. The whole truth is that we source really high quality coffees and roast each coffee just enough to bring out the best and full potential of what’s inherent in each particular coffee already. Through roasting, we aim to draw out things like acidity, floral notes, chocolate, molasses, and earth. All of the coffee’s flavor potentials are presented at the first crack – an audible signal that happens at a particular point when roasting coffee. After that, we’re roasting enough to add the right amount of body and sweetness, without degradation.

In other words, the goal is to bring out the best acidity, flavor and sweetness in each coffee that’s brought to the surface through roasting, without tasting what we’ve done to it. If you continue to roast past that point, you’ll begin to taste the roast. Now some people love that roasty flavor,  and for you fine people, we make our French Roast. You can still taste some of the lovely inherent qualities of the coffee but you also are tasting the actual roast.

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“We don’t have a roasting approach in general, as much as a general guiding principle in which all the coffee’s potential is revealed to you with nothing standing in the way, ” says Jim Kelso, head of Quality Assurance in our Roasting Department. “We want to honor the coffee producers. We don’t think what we’ve done on a machine is more important than what they’ve done to grow and process this coffee.”

As always, we’re here to help! Ask your cafe barista, give us a shout at info@stumptowncoffee.com, or tweet us @stumptowncoffee for more specific roasting questions.

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Bon Appétit Present Feast Portland: A Celebration of Oregon Bounty, the flagship food and drink festival of the Pacific Northwest, and we’re jazzed to be the coffee sponsors this year. The event brings together some of the country’s best chefs in a series of events with a mission – donating the net proceeds towards ending childhood hunger in Oregon and around the country through Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon and Share our Strength.

We’ll be there at the events below doing our part to keep the masses buzzed and boozed with coffee and Cold Brew cocktails. Visit Feast Portland for the full schedule, ticket information and more details and follow us on Instagram and Twitter for updates throughout the Feast fest.

 

THURSDAY, SEP 18

Sandwich Invitational, Director’s Park, 6pm – 9pm

Dinner Series: Hot 10 Dinner, Ava Gene’s, 7 pm

FRIDAY, SEP 19

Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting, Pioneer Square, 12pm – 5pm

Dinner Series: State of the Art with Adelsheim & Willamette Valley Vineyards, KitchenCru, 7pm

Dinner Series: Ari Taymor and Sarah Pliner, Aviary, 7pm

Night Market, Zidell Shipyard, 6pm – 9pm

Bon Appetit Party, Spirit of ’77, 9pm

SATURDAY, SEP 20

Coffee Talk Hands On Class with Liam Kenna, Le Cordon Bleu, 10am – 11:30am

Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting, Pioneer Square, 12pm – 5pm

Beans and Booze Tasting Panel, Portland Art Museum, 12:45pm – 1:45pm

High Comfort, The Nines, 6pm – 9 pm

Dinner Series: Pop Stars with Elk Cove & Ponzi Vineyards at KitchenCru

SUNDAY, SEP 21

Brunch Village, Pioneer Square, 11am – 2pm

 

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Jill Stanley & Jaime Boddorff are two rad Stumptown gals who were both working in Production at our Brooklyn Roast Post until very recently when Jill jumped ship and headed West to become a Roaster’s apprentice in Seattle. Before she left, Jill and Jaime compiled a diva-heavy mix they played on delivery days when they shared a route and the boys weren’t around. Jill says, “As much as we love hearing guitars and screaming and psych-rock all day, we really, really love our divas. Sometimes a gal needs a little Beyonce boost while sitting in Manhattan traffic.” Who could argue with that? 

What do you do at Stumptown?

Jaime: I work in production.

Jill: I work in Brooklyn’s Production department. Driving and scoopin’.

What do you do when you’re not at work?

Jaime: I love taking photos and doing nail art!

Jill: I am a film nerd, a walking enthusiast, and I love to travel. Copenhagen, here I come!

Favorite things to eat right now in New York?

Jaime: Tacos and Ramen and Ice Cream.

Jill: The lamb sandwich and fries at Balthazar. Bee Sting pizza at Roberta’s.

Favorite corner of the city?

Jaime: Oh geez there are so many corners. I like Rockaway Beach Blvd and 96th, because you get fish tacos and the beach all in one.

Jill: Morton Street in the West Village. I’ll move in as soon as I win the lottery.

What can you tell us about this mix?

Jaime: As much as we love hearing guitars and screaming and psych-rock all day, we really, really love our divas. We can’t really get away with listening to divas at the Roast Post. Maybe in Cold Brew…

Jill: Our crew tries to maintain a happy medium with the stereo. There’s
lots of diversity, but we typically shy away from anything that’s considered too wacky or divisive. It’s a fantastic policy.

The van is a different animal, especially if those divisive tastes align. I lean toward classical music to keep things calm, but Jaime and I discovered a shared love of Beyoncé on one of our “Ladies Day” delivery routes, and from this a tradition of listening to pop music was born. Beyoncé is the best.

Radical. Thanks ladies.

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On view September 10th – October 20th, 2014

Opening reception Sunday, September 14th (4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.)

Posters for nothing. Begetting and beheading. Breakout hits, not enough. Genuine excellence in cratering.  Fake drips, late to the game.  Everybody loves distribution.  Brancusi playing golf.  Maybe later for the win.  Lost and found flavors.  I want the information.  Hooray no one’s here.  Let’s rebrand them as terrorists.  Production life.  There’s always coffee.  Everything takes forever.  You/me a small part of forever,  and everything.

Born in Portland, John Brodie has been painting for more than 20 years, with explorations in book art, prints and multiples, and sculpture. He was included in Disjecta’s PDX2010: A Biennial of Contemporary Art, and from 1996 to 2006 was a member of the notorious 333 Studios, a loose collective and fine arts studio.  In 2007, he founded TodayArt Studios in a 9,000 square-foot building in Southeast Portland.  He opened Monograph Bookwerks, a fine art bookstore, in 2010 with artist Blair Saxon-Hill.  He also owns Le Happy, a frenchy restaurant, and for 20 years was in the music business, managing the legendary club La Luna,  and also the globe-trotting band Pink Martini.

For more information, please contact May Barruel (may@stumptowncoffee.com)

Stumptown Coffee Roasters (Downtown)

128 SW Third Avenue

Portland, OR

503-295-6144

 

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Bo Thunell is our resident Camp Coffee Expert and wilderness pioneer. Besides being an ace coffee educator in our training department, he’s also a bike racing, Coors Light swilling, cliff-jumping road dog, who’s the first one up brewing coffee for his buds in the woods and taking cool photos of his exploits all the while. He shared with us his favorite methods for brewing camp coffee and some of his recent photos from the field.

What’s your current go-to camp coffee method?

Currently my fave is the Snowpeak Dripper. I’m all about its design and functionality. I use it with V60 filters when I can remember to pack them but I’ve used the bottom half of a T-shirt before as a filter.

What have you been up to this summer?

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the Gorge and around Mount Hood. I’ve been riding mountain bikes, drinking a lot of Coors Light and finding the best swimming holes that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. I also have been spending a lot of time staring at the stars at night.

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Any favorite trips in recent memory?

A recent favorite was a bikepacking trip with Yonder Journal in Northern California. We tried to connect land to sea via an old mule trail. I was invited along to make the coffee – I was responsible for making coffee for eight of us. I took a Snowpeak French Press and an AeroPress for my special “night coffees.” I would wake up and get the Jetboils going to get coffee to everyone. The mornings were cold and everyone was appreciative.

Are you always the one who makes coffee when you go camping with friends?

I like early starts and I’m usually the first one up fueling my friends with coffee. I’ve trained all of them to make coffee themselves in case I have a sleep-in, but it’s usually me.

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Got any pro-tips for brewing coffee in the woods?

If you have a lot of people drinking coffee and time or weight of your pack is an issue, take pre-ground coffee. Otherwise, I love the mini Porlex grinder. An AeroPress is rad if you’re in the middle of nowhere on a road trip. You can pop in a gas station to get hot water and make your AeroPress in the parking lot.

What type of coffee do you take camping?

I typically take one of our Latin American single origins – The molasses and nutty coffees go super well with camp breakfast, like eggs and bacon or dehydrated milk and granola.

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What are your camp coffee brewing parameters?

I have a custom spoon that holds 21 grams of coffee, which is ideal for Snowpeak. The AeroPress scoop is about right, holding 17-18 grams. I grind both slightly finer than a cone drip. I try to keep it as simple as possible. No timers, no scales.

For the Snowpeak, I preheat the filter with water. Add coffee. Saturate all the grounds. Give it a good stir with a stick. Fill it up all the way to the top and let it drain through.

For the AeroPress, I use the upright method. Pre-heat the filter with water. Add 17 grams (one AeroPress scoop) and fill it all the way up to the 4 and stir it. I place the plunger and pull up slightly to create a pressure seal. Then I look at the sky for about 1 minute 15, uncap, stir, and plunge.

 

All photos by Bo Thunell except portrait, by Steven Chaprnka. Try to keep up with Bo and his adventures on Instagram.