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April 2011

Another example of pop-up goodwill is the summer-long stint that Stumptown founder Duane Sorenson put together in Amsterdam last year. In his frequent layovers in the city during sourcing trips to Ethiopia, Sorenson had never found the kind of coffee he wanted. He was approached by the Montreal-based advertising agency Sid Lee to do a three-month pop-up after the agency opened a studio in Amsterdam. Sorenson sent over his own baristas and a steady supply of beans (roasted at Stumptown’s New York roastery), but there wasn’t much else he had to do. “One side was the design studio, and in the back of it was a sort of private space where they already had their own personal coffee bar set up,” says Stumptown’s Matt Lounsbury. The bar had a street entrance onto the busy Albert Cuyp Market, so foot traffic wasn’t an issue. Stumptown secured a loaner espresso machine from La Marzocco, the Sid Lee folks decaled the back wall of the space with their own interpretation of Stumptown’s logo, and they were up and running.

Lounsbury says locals embraced the Pacific Northwest pop-up, and Stumptown kept the focus on education. Baristas held free daily cuppings and tastings, where they demonstrated various brewing methods and gave “try this at home!” instructions to locals who might want to brew Stumptown-style coffee long after Sorenson’s traveling coffee band packed up and left town. “Some people were really into it, and some were like ‘What the hell is this?’” at first, Lounsbury recalls. “But then they loved it.”

Maybe there’s permanence in pop-up culture after all. “I like the idea that, with a pop-up, you can reach out to people who might not have had an appreciation for coffee before, and stay there long enough to change that,” says Lounsbury. “In our case, it was like, ‘Hey, this is what coffee can taste like and you can ask for this level of quality from the people you usually get coffee from.’ It gives people a chance to ask questions, and to become interested in tasting more great coffee.”

Read the entire article here.