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fb_mixteca (1)Summer 2014, Oaxaca, Mexico
Adam McClellan, Coffee Buyer

I’m used to being awakened by cranky roosters and dogs barking at the crack of dawn when visiting the small coffee communities across rural Latin America. There was nothing unusual about those sounds on this particular crisp morning, but the peculiar noise that rustled me awake this time was different. Once I came to I could make out a muffled, echoing human voice projecting on a loud, crackling P.A. system – the morning news and announcements for the town. The news was mostly communicated in the local indigenous Mixteca dialect, but there was enough Spanish mixed in on one featured point that I could make out some of that message. The voice was announcing a reminder to the village: “Our coffee buyer is in town today, and he wants to meet with all of the local coffee farmers at 11 AM in the town square community center.” I distinctly remember thinking nervously, oh man, this could get interesting. This sure was shaping up to be an exciting day in the remote mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico.

After driving six hours or so over hot, dusty roads from Oaxaca city, we had arrived in the darkening evening just after sunset. It’s always fun to arrive to a place you’ve never seen in the evening. The excitement builds as the light of day reveals a new landscape. I rolled out of bed while the rest of the quiet, clean, organized town was still slowly waking up to their morning routines, and walked out to see an incredible sunrise and stunning view from the town which is high enough to look out over the rugged, morning mist-shrouded Sierra Madre Mountains, all the way to the Pacific Ocean in the distance.mixtera (8)pacamaramixtera (10)

I started the day with a hearty breakfast of fresh steak, eggs, tortillas, and salsa with tomatoes from Cecilio’s garden. Then spent the morning visiting several inspiring farms with thriving, pure, heirloom Bourbon and Typica plants. I walked to the farmer meeting which started right after the local youth brass band rehearsal finished. I wanted to bring a clear message to the assembled farmers: let’s start something special here together with Stumptown and La Sierra Mixteca, a newly formed small group of 100 or so focused hard-working small holder farmers eager to access a new market that rewards quality with top price premiums.

Still buzzing from the community discussion, we walked out of town to spend the afternoon under the hot sun checking out plant nurseries, worm composting stations, and more farms. We finally sat in the shade outside the breezy storage warehouse and polished off a few crates of Corona while sharing stories with several farmers. Sometimes it just all clicks, right place, right time.

I couldn’t be happier or more excited to present the fruits (well seeds, actually) of this pilot project in its first year. This soft, mild, pleasantly citric coffee with lingering chocolate sweetness, is best served at dawn.

Get more information on Mexico La Sierra Mixteca here.


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.


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.


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.



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

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


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


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


Brunch Village, Pioneer Square, 11am – 2pm



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.


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