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February 2014

johnnycashjunecarterjohnnycashcoffeeThis morning, with her, having coffee. 

- Johnny Cash, when asked for his description of Paradise.

The man in black would have been 82 today. His rebellious, world-weary music and legendary love story live on.

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The AeroPress was invented in 2006 by American inventor and Stanford engineer Alan Adler, famed founder of the Aerobie frisbee line, in an attempt to create a combination of total immersion brewing, pressurized extraction, and filtered coffee.

Adler-&-Prototypes-620Alan Adler with the AeroPress and some early prototypes. 

The AeroPress is such a flexible brewer that it inspires ingenuity in coming up with a favorite way to use it.  We have a couple methods of our own that we love – check out our inverted brew method here and our on-the-go upright method here.

It’s taken the world by storm and there are countless ways to brew a great cup – just check in with the World AeroPress Championships, and you’ll start to understand the obsession. There’s even a mobile app to help you keep your time and methods straight.

It has inspired in other ways too – check out these posters from championships around the world.

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On view February 25th - April 2nd
Opening reception 4 – 6 pm Sunday, March 9th

There will be an after party hosted by the AUSLAND SCHLÄGE LABEL at the Aalto Lounge beginning at 7PM. It is a cassette release party for RIGAS DEN ANDRE – EPHEDRINE SKIES (Alex created the art for their album).Screen shot 2014-02-25 at 10.41.39 AM

Alex Chiu describes his art as strange and nonsensical. He creates fantasy landscapes using cartoon characters. There isn’t too much meaning behind it all, but it has given him a platform to connect with others. He feels that he has met some of the most amazing and inspiring people through his journey as an artist. Creating artwork has given him a sense of purpose and identity. Alex would like to think that what he creates will help him understand more about himself and the world around him. He hopes that others may be moved by that exploration as well.

Alex currently lives in Portland, Oregon, working as a teacher and coffee barista. He likes weirdo art, burritos, zines, punk music and kung fu movies. To see more of his artwork, please visit his website at http://alexdoodles.com

 

For more information, please contact Wendy Swartz (wendy@stumptowncoffee.com)

 

 

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February 2014, Portland, OR
Jim Kelso: Head of Quality Control

Recently, while pushing a shopping cart down the aisles of the fruit and vegetable section of one of our local castles of abundance, buzzed from a long day of cupping and with no coherent plan for that evening’s meal, I had a sudden (caffeine-inspired, I’m sure) inspiration: The wide spectrum of tasting notes from the new coffee release cuppings could serve as a blueprint for the meal I was trying, at the last minute, to pull together. Almost every meal at our house involves beer and chocolate to some extent. The beer is usually for the chef and the chocolate is our go-to for an easy dessert. The Peru Cecovasa arrival sample that Steve, Craig and I had tasted earlier, with its cocoa, toasted white nut and citrus zest reminded me to pick up a porter ale sixer and to restock our dessert supplies.

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We are also about to release Sulawesi Toarco Flats to compliment the Toarco Peaberry already on the menu. Its sweet and savory combination of navel orange, toasted hazelnut, roasted yam and marshmallow was a recipe in itself for the ideal side dish. And just now, when Steve opened the jute bag for the first test roast, the smell of fresh alfalfa suffused half the building. The Ecuador Cariamanga, also slated for release within days, supplied me with the framework for an accompanying white wine, with its clean white grape acidity, light honey and golden raisin-like sweetness.

A couple pre-ship coffees also served as signposts for my journey down the aisles. The utterly unique cups of Colombia Esperanza served as a framework for a salad dish, as it consistently spanned the most dynamic ranges possible from a viscous, Port-wine like bottom end that had the weight and sensation of new olive oil, to sparkling berry, cranberry and cherry tomato in its upper registers. And finally, the pre-ship sample of Ethiopia Chelbessa, with its intensely floral aromatics and perfumed lime served as a reminder to grab flowers for the table as well.

As for the main dish? I just roasted a chicken.

Look for these new coffee arrivals to hit the shelves on March 11.

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Colombia Nariño Borderlands – A Closer Look

We casually talk about Direct Trade on a regular basis, probably since it embodies just about everything we do here at Stumptown Coffee Roasters. The one question folks ask that we’ve never really addressed is how does Direct Trade begin? Like so many things, the answer can be a bit complex since each country has nuances that affect the way we purchase coffee and each farm or washing station has unique goals, needs and challenges. And yet, each relationship rests on a few basic tenets: improving coffee quality, incentive based rewards to the farmer and transparency of the supply chain.

We’ve just embarked on a journey that marks what we hope are the first few steps for a long-lasting Direct Trade relationship and we want to share the experience. We’d like to introduce Colombia Nariño Borderlands. This is a cool opportunity to hop in and examine the relationship at the inception.borderlands-(2)

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This year’s harvest is the first from the Nariño Borderlands Coffee Project, started by Catholic Relief Services. The project began in 2013 as a way to empower local farmers, encourage quality coffee cultivation and improve livelihoods in the Nariño Department based on new relationships built upon mutual commitment to quality. CRS plans to research the impact of Direct Trade on a farming community with empirical data collected over a period of years.borderlands-(3)borderlands-(5)

CRS invited six leading US roasters and importers to work with the project. The project has begun by providing the opportunity for buyers to pay premiums for high quality coffee. The price incentives will encourage community members to take the risk to focus on quality. The participating farmers will regularly complete extensive surveys on everything from schooling and occupation of family members, to healthcare access, diet and non-coffee crops cultivated – not to mention the very detailed questions about coffee cultivation. The project seeks hard numbers on the impact of Direct Trade and price premiums on the livelihood of farmers and the surrounding community.

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The Nariño Borderlands project began by helping to establish a new farmer organization. In the next stage, the project will build the first farmer-managed washing station in Nariño. Over the next two years, they plan to install a second centralized washing station which will purchase and process cherry.

Historically, coffee from this area was sold as a bulked lot at a baseline price, which prevented any traceability to individual farmers or incentives for quality. This year, some of the more established farms in the area received premiums to begin establishing the correlation between quality and incentives. Next year, when the first washing station is built, we hope to see more participants in the wet mills. Cupping at the washing stations will encourage a greater understanding of cup quality. The project employs agronomists and technicians who will assist with education and other support in the field. They will design the washing stations and select the best spots to build them.borderlands-(7)

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Currently, farmers deliver parchment for payment. Payment for cherry is inevitably cheaper than for parchment since the cherry still needs to be processed. One of the challenges of this project will be to communicate how much time, energy and resources the farmers will save by delivering cherry for sale, rather than processing the coffee themselves. They will then be able to invest their extra time, energy and resources into cultivating high quality coffee on their farms.

Like the beginning of any relationship, this is an exciting time. We all get to know each other. We know they have the materials and passion to grow and process great coffee. They know we have years of experience working with farmers and the determination and incentive to build a lasting relationship along with the ability to pay more for great coffee. We look forward to the outcome of this exciting project.

 

We’re huge fans of the handwritten word around here, which is why we’d like to help you send a Valentine to someone you care about and we’ll pick up the postage. Go to one of our cafes, pick up a Vday postcard and drop it off in the box at the counter. Snap a photo of your handiwork and share the love with us using #StumptownExpress. For inspiration we draw from Letters of NoteShaun Usher’s blog, which is “an attempt to gather and sort fascinating letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes, and memos,” via Fast Company‘s Co.Design blog. From the tender to the creepy, love knows no bounds.

Johnny Cash to June Carter CashJohhnyCash-to-June

From Elzie Segar, the cartoonist of Popeye, to his then-girlfriend (future wife) Myrtle Johnson

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