Recently, Carolyn Reddy, a visual artist and our Stumptown Trainer in Seattle, sat down for a conversation with Jesse Hughey, Stumptown Roaster and frontman for Grey Waves, Hughey’s visual and musical collaboration with drummer Brandon Hughes and visual artist Alison Pate.

The band is preparing for the release of their first record, Faith/Void, on January 30th, on the label People In A Position To Know. The 7-inch record will be for sale in a limited pre-sale on their Bandcamp page, and at their record release party on January 30th at 9 pm at the Lo-Fi in Seattle. The release party will also showcase a really cool project he’s spearheading – Jesse solicited 100 record cover images made by visual artists, including eight current and former Stumptown employees from both coasts.


Congratulations on the first Grey Waves record! This project has been a broad collaboration with visual artists as well as musicians. Was that the plan from the beginning, or did it evolve as you went along?

It’s definitely been an evolving project. But a lot of it was that I felt kind of alienated from my artistic community when I moved to Seattle.

I spent about seven years playing music really seriously in Portland, and then it was all just gone one day. And I feel really lucky for the community I have here at Stumptown in particular, and for the artists I’m surrounded by, and I guess I wanted to do a project that was representative of an artistic community, not only of the artistic community that I’m placed within, but just to showcase the generosity and talent of those around me.

You know, I have some really, really talented friends who were happy to spend time and energy and creativity on a project that I’m spearheading. And it’s humbling, and a reminder that you are a part of a community when sometimes its easy to forget.

I met Patrick, one of our roasters out in New York, when we got snowed in there a year ago, and sent him an offhand note like, “Hey, I’m putting out this record and I’m trying to get visual artists on board to make covers, I really like what you’re doing.” He met me for fifteen minutes and he sent me four absolutely beautiful covers that he’d clearly put time into but also had actually engaged with the work I was doing. That’s a pretty awesome level of generosity.


You’ve worked with artists from both coasts at Stumptown to make this – how has working at Stumptown with these kinds of colleagues impacted your work as a musician and artist?

It’s an awesome community to be a part of and I feel really lucky to be able to work in such a creative place. At any given moment you could book a really awesome festival with just Stumptown people. In music, in visual art, in spoken word, in poetry – there is a really cool creative group of people here and that’s been inspiring and supportive.

I remember the first show I played after starting to work at Stumptown. I had like twenty coworkers show up! You’re just encouraged to take care of the people around you – I’ve never spent time anywhere like that before.


How long have you worked at Stumptown?

I’m three and a half years in right now, and I’m a roaster here in Seattle, but I worked in production as a delivery driver in Portland for about a year before I started here.

Is this process of curating visual works new for you?

I’ve never been engaged in visual art at all – just as an observer. It’s all been very new and I actually did some covers myself and that’s been a cool process also.

And I think it’s cool to remind myself that the divisions we make in art are fake, you know? And ultimately restrictive to expression. To kind of draw these lines – a band makes music and a painter paints – to make these restrictions is just limiting on our ability to say things, and I think that art should be more collaborative and less medium-oriented.

So with Grey Waves, to honor the idea of not putting divisions between visual and auditory work, I asked one of my favorite artists [Alison Pate] to be a member of the band so she’s in control of the visual element of what we do.


So the visual element makes this different from your work in the past. Musically, how would you compare it to work you’ve done before? Is it a departure? A progression?

Yeah, it is a pretty big departure from what I’ve done before. I played in a band for a really long time and I’m primarily a writer – that’s what I feel most comfortable doing – but I feel like when you are in a band, there are certain things that maybe you can’t say, like you feel like you are speaking for a group of people when you’re the person writing for a band.

It’s different because I’ve done a lot more of it on my own. I really spent a lot of time writing, and on the recording I play everything except for the bass, which is different. I’ve never done that before.

I was always in bands where the goal was to make a little bit of money and go on tour, sell a few records, that kind of thing, whereas the goal here – it’s a 7-inch. It’s just an art project. I’m not really worried about if my voice sounds perfect and I’m not really worried about if it’s going to get played on the radio.

I am happy with it. To me it says what I want it to say and that’s my only goal for it. And that’s new. I haven’t felt that way in work before… I’m not trying to please anybody with it – I’m just sort of over that, which is very freeing. I can just make it sound the way I want it to.


Where did the name Grey Waves come from?

“Grey Waves” is very much an homage to my home in the Pacific Northwest.

I grew up on a little  island in Southeast Alaska, and the shared color of the sky and the sea through most of the year in the Pacific Northwest is a really beautiful thing to me and I think that there’s something about the subtlety of that beauty. Like, people complain about the grey all year long but it is sort of beautiful, and it is the thing I always miss when I’m away. Kind of that point on the horizon where you can’t tell if you are looking at the sea or the sky – that right there is what the name is.


What’s next for you? Will we see more from Grey Waves?

Yeah, so this is two songs from a much larger collection. Releasing two songs was maybe just a way for me to get it moving and these are two that represent the extremes – the lyric extremes – on the record. I’m really excited to get in and do a full length record as soon as I have time.

Thanks, Jesse – and we’ll look forward to it!


“If you love coffee, you have to watch this film. If you want to understand what makes coffee freaks so passionate about their brew, you have to watch this film. If you want to understand the global coffee economy, watch this film.” -Boston Globe Review, A Film About Coffee


Get 30% off the film with the code : STUMPTOWN.

Our Rwanda Huye Mountain coffee has just landed back on our menu this week, coinciding with the On Demand release of a beautiful film we’re very proud to be featured in called, coincidentally, A Film About Coffee. The film is an informative deep dive and a love letter to our favorite thing. Director Brandon Loper traveled the globe offering a peek behind the curtain of the specialty coffee industry, revealing how and why we go so very far and wide to source, process, roast, brew and drink it.AFAC_6AFAC_12AFAC_5AFAC_13

The specifics of the global coffee economy and the complexities of how we source coffee are often difficult to explain on the back of a bag card or in a source post. But here Loper and his team get it right: The filmmakers caught up with our green team traveling in Rwanda and filmed the coffee harvest and the Huye Mountain washing station, where coffee is grown in the surrounding mountain highlands.AFAC_7AFAC_4

The Huye Mountain company works towards economic, social and environmental sustainability, and with help from Stumptown premiums, they also reinvest in the community through social payments. A Film About Coffee shows the effect of one such payment – a water station which provides fresh water to the community and a flush supply of for washing coffee, too. Before this station was built, folks in the community had to walk two kilometers to collect fresh drinking water. This year’s social payment was a food security payment through a distribution of cows.AFAC_8AFAC_3

The film successfully and thoughtfully captures how many hands and hours of work go into that pristine bean before it ever even reaches the roastery, let alone your Americano.

If you love coffee, watch this movie.

Watch it here. For more information on Rwanda Huye Mountain, click here.


Cassandra Troy-Walker, co-founder of Clover Juice cold-pressed juice bar in LA, created a Cold Brew coffee shake to keep us going strong and productive all month long.

To make the Rise & Grind: Combine all ingredients and blend on ‘high’ in a blender for 45 seconds. If you don’t have the Clover ‘Le Lait,’ you can substitute almond milk.

Clover Juices is super keen on supporting local and organic farms and strive to juice and bottle all fruits and vegetables within 24 hours of harvest in order to keep as much integrity of the produce as possible. They’ve got locations on La Brea, W. 3rd Street and one on Loz Feliz coming soon. Our Stumptown LA shop also stocks a colorful selection of fresh Clover Juices everyday. Cassandra deciphered the health benefits of the ingredients (aside from the coffee, which we included in case you need another reason to brew.)

Read more on the nutritional benefits of Clover Juice ingredients here.

Coffee: A rich source of disease-fighting antioxidants. Recent studies have shown that it may improve moods, stop headaches, reduce the risk of some diseases such as type 2 diabetes, liver cancer, Parkinson’s and it promotes a healthy heart. Also, it tastes amazing, elevates your productivity and makes you feel invincible, in our humble opinions.

Nut Milk: It’s dairy/lactose free for those trying to avoid it, high in protein, good for skin health, and full of antioxidants.

Protein Powder: This helps rebuild muscle mass and helps keep you satiated longer.

Cacao Nibs: Super high in antioxidants!

Coconut Flakes: Healthy fats, good for heart health, full of fiber, gives you energy.

Thanks Cassandra and Clover Juice!



On view January 14th – February 10th
Reception 4-6pm Sunday, January 18th 

For this series of paintings, Azad Sadjadi made up an isolated world for two luchadores in training.  Michael Smith and Christopher Schank are just a couple of guys from the Midwest, pursuing a life in the ring without a clue on how to get there. Acting here as satires of the overeducated, underutilized youth of America, our “heroes” have big dreams but these seem hauntingly unattainable in a world where coming up with the monthly rent or trying to find a second job are continuous struggles. Goals like home ownership or paying off student loans become as far fetched as a couple of twenty-something guys from Omaha becoming luchadores.  And yet, there is something beautiful and amusing to be found in their pursuit. One could call them modern day Don Quixotes.

Originally from California, Azad Sadjadi has called Portland home since 2006. His work has been shown at Nisus Gallery, Graeter Art Gallery, and Lewis & Clark College among other places.


Stumptown Coffee Roasters
128 SW Third Avenue
Portland, OR


On view January 6th – February 2nd
Reception for the artist 4-6pm Sunday, January 18th

Give me the bearing to jeopardize the mature period, what, plus technique to that cleaving awful much, to so-so so much, plus modification, sorry Seurats included, and palliation, apart from first and last readings, that might go to whisper down a struck up thing.” Chris Mullins

IMG_4825Belmont Stumptown
3356 SE Belmont Street


It’s a new year and it’s time to freshen up. Here are some tips to get you brewing your best in 2015.

Clean Machine 

It’s a good idea to clean your daily coffee maker on the regular. Oils from coffee cling to your trusty brewer and eventually go rancid, which is, unsurprisingly, not delicious. When cleaning your brewer, say nope to soap! Soap leaves a residue and doesn’t break up coffee oils. We recommend avoiding the dishwasher for the same reason. In all of our cafes, we use Purocaff to regularly clean our espresso machines and coffee brewers. You can find home packets of cleaner by the same company here.


Mind Your Burrs

The more you clean the burrs on your grinder, the longer they’ll last. Coffee fines and oils build up in your grinder – you’ll want to take the grinder apart and use a dry toothbrush or a dry cloth to clean out all the old coffee that collects there. Urnex makes a product called Grindz, which is great for a deep clean. It’s flavor neutral, composed of food grade products, and does a great job eliminating stale oils, flavors, and residue from the burrs and grinding chamber. Here is Baratza’s recommended cleaning parameters using Grindz. Please note! Baratza does not recommend using rice (a common home practice) to clean your grinder. If you do, it may void your warranty!


A word on Baratza: Burrs need to be replaced every few years on Baratza grinders. If your machine is clean and you are getting lots of dust-sized fine particles, slow dripping coffee and little-to-no grind size variation, regardless of grind setting changes, it may be time to replace your burrs. You can buy them here.

We love Baratza electric grinders because they are super solid, do a great job and have easily replaceable parts, so they’ll last forever. They also have a rad grinder repair program – they’ll do a full service, clean, calibrate and replacement of worn parts for $45-90 with return shipping.freshup3_640

Clean Water Act

Always use fresh, filtered water when brewing coffee. Water chambers in electric brewers build up lime and calcium deposits from the water. Descaling your machine removes these deposits and keeps your coffee tasting clean. If you live in a place with hard water, it’s a good idea to descale the water chamber a couple times a year. Urnex also makes a good descaling tablet available here. Make sure you rinse everything really well before brewing again.

Out with the Old

Coffee is best consumed within two weeks of the roast date. Time to throw out the old freezer stuff and start fresh.


In with the New

Venture out of your usual habit. Try a new brew method or type of coffee this year. Here are some brew videos to get you jazzed.

You might find you love Kenyan coffees or that Indonesian coffees are your cup of tea. (If you really do want a new cup of tea, Steven Smith Teamaker knows what’s up. We started serving his teas in our cafes last year and they are just great.) If you are looking for a blend, try our Blend Trio to see what suits you. We have rotating single origin tasting trios, too. Right now we’re all pretty sweet on the Ethiopian Trio.


We are also feeling very excited that our Nitro Cold Brew landed on Bon Appétit’s Food World Predictions for 2015! Our Cold Brew wizards have lots of good stuff bubbling this year that we’re very excited to share with you soon.

As always, we’re here to help. If you have any questions about clean machines or which coffees to try, holler at us at or tweet us @stumptowncoffee.