We are huge fans of filtered pour over coffee around here – and we’re big on experimentation, too. So we decided to do a little coffee filter tête-à-tête with our Coffee Education team to find if a filter affects the final outcome in a cup of coffee. Spoiler alert: It does.

First, a bit about our experiment – one of our main objectives here was to find out how much the filter alone affects the taste of the brew. To do this, we knew we needed to isolate the filter from the brew method.


For our first experiment, we poured water through the filters to see what the paper tasted like. Then, we poured water through a second time to find what was being imparted into your coffee after you rinse your filters.

Barista tip: you should always rinse your filter before you brew! This rinses out the paper taste and dust and warms up your brewer.

Our second experiment was to taste coffee poured and brewed through each filter. So we brewed all the coffees the same way through each filter to taste the difference.




The Chemex filter itself was the cleanest and the most neutral. The Chemex cup of coffee had a thinner texture, brought out the floral notes, and a bit of dryness in mouthfeel.


The Oxygen Bleached Melitta filter had little residual paper taste when rinsed. This cup was a bit heavier with a fuller texture, and no notable paper flavor.


The natural Melitta filter imparted a notable woody sweetness after the first and second rinse. This filter imparted a papery flavor to the coffee, with a very noticeable dryness.


The Hario V60 filter was grassy at first taste, but rinsed clean on the second pass. The V60 coffee was bright and very crisp with high citrus notes.


The Sock cloth filter imparted the strongest flavor, and let us tell you, it wasn’t pretty.  The coffee had a noticeable finish that was a bit like a wet wool coat. Somebody said it reminded him of “a thrift store in Eugene, Oregon.”


Our Recommendation?

Choose an oxygen bleached filter, like the Melitta white, Chemex or Hario V60. If you insist on using a natural, rinse the hell out of it. Toss the sock.

Other Findings:

We were surprised how much of a difference the Hario V60 filter made – the paper is a high quality paper made in Japan. It is a lighter weight, with more texture and the result was floral and bright, with a lighter body than the Melitta and bringing out more citrus notes in the coffee than any of the others.FilterSelects_680_6



The Able Kone is actually a brewer, not a filter. It’s essentially a stainless steel cone with small holes in it.

It is designed to fit neatly inside a Chemex, but you can brew it into anything that supports it. The difference in taste between a Chemex paper filter and the Able Kone is a big one.

The Chemex is one of heaviest paper filters, resulting in a very clean cup, while the Kone’s brew produces a much thicker, chewier cup of coffee with more fines (tiny coffee particles), oils and sediment. It’s actually a brew with the mouthfeel and texture similar to the French Press.


Able also makes stainless steel reusable disks for the AeroPress, called The Disk. It comes with two options, Standard and Fine, which have have different sized holes and levels of durability. The Standard Disk brews a fuller body cup of coffee with a bit more fines and can take a bit of a beating – this one should last for years of brewing and is three times as thick as the Fine Disk. The Fine Disk brews a sweet clean cup of coffee with very little fines – it is much more delicate and should be handled with care.

Again, here you’ll find a big difference when brewing paper versus stainless steel. The paper collects much of the fines and oils that you taste when brewed through a metal disk or cone, so your cup will be less nuanced.  If you prefer a cleaner cup, stick with the paper. For a fuller-bodied cup, or if you’re looking to go paper-free, try the Disk.

As always, we’re here to help! For more brewing information, check out our brew guides here. If you have any questions about this or anything else, call us at (855) 711-3385, email us at, or tweet us @stumptowncoffee.

JG_3 On view March 10 – April 6th
Reception 4-6pm Sunday, March 22nd with music by Jonathan Sielaff (of Golden Retriever)

John Gnorski was born and raised in Virginia and lives and works in Portland. He writes and plays music with the band Houndstooth.



For more information about this show or exhibiting your artwork with us, please contact the curator, Wendy Swartz –

Division Stumptown
4525 SE Division Street


Bolivia Buenavista is our featured coffee this month. Completely unique compared to other South American profiles, it is elegant and distinguished and worthy of a close taste. It’s elusive, yet rewarding, and as comforting as the day is long.

Andrew and Steve from our Coffee Sourcing & Roasting team recently visited some of our producer partners in Caranavi and came home with some incredible coffee, bundles of coffee flower tea to share and some interesting takeaways.

Caranavi, Bolivia
Late August 2014

To get to Buenavista in Caranavi, Bolivia, you take a 9-hour flight to Peru from Los Angeles, get up at dawn the following day and hop another 2-hour flight from Lima, Peru to El Alto, Bolivia, flying over Lake Titicaca, the largest lake in South America.  El Alto lies just above the very dense city of La Paz. The climate is cool and humid to semi-arid; just right for growing potatoes, which are a staple crop here.

By the time you land in El Alto, you might be struck with altitude sickness–you are 13,325 feet above sea level, after all. It’s basically like being dropped out of plane on top of a mountain. Couple that with the quick transition to speaking Spanish, and navigating work visa logistics can be tricky.Source_Bolivia_Aug14_SK-1Source_Bolivia_Aug14_SK-12Source_Bolivia_Aug14_SK-4

After arriving in El Alto, we met Pedro Rodriguez and his daughter Daniela, who along with his son, operate five coffee farms and the Buenavista wet mill in Caranavi. They also own and run Agricafe and Agrinuts, exporting coffee and peanuts.

After our hellos, we began the long, treacherous drive down to Caranavi, which is the main source for coffee production in Bolivia. To get there you must drive a formidable road, wide enough for only one car to pass at a time.

It took us five hours to go about 100 miles.


The Altiplano looks harsh and barren. As you descend slowly the landscape begins to change. It starts with small ferns, which gives way to larger ferns and azalea-look-alikes growing out from the rocky walls. When you start to get closer to the Yungas valley, the vegetation bursts into lush greenery.

It was dark by the time we reached the Buenavista Mill in Caranavi. We sat down for a classic Bolivian dinner with Pedro and his family, which was a spicy chicken dish called Sajta y pollo con aji and chuno. Chuno is a dried potato from the Altiplano, with a rich earthy flavor.

We stayed in rooms in the “villa” behind the mill. As we drifted off, we could hear the sound of the slow, cyclical churning of the drying coffee in the drum dryers called gaurdiolas.



We woke up to a beautiful breakfast spread of crepes with caramel and scrambled eggs with cheese and went straight to work.

Pedro runs a tight team. He told us we’d start at 9am, and he was ready. We cupped through three tables of coffee that day.

The cupping lab is perched above the valley looking over Caranavi – a beautiful place to spend the day tasting coffees. After each cupping, we’d break, eat some fruit, adjourn to a separate room and we’d all view our scores and notes on a screen.

There was a constant bustle of taxis bringing cherry to the mill – the farmers hire taxis to deliver the cherry. Pedro pays for the taxis, and the farmer usually stays, has a cup of coffee and watches his lot being cleaned.

Source_Bolivia_Aug14_SK-11 Source_Bolivia_Aug14_SK-5Source_Bolivia_Aug14_SK-15

Pedro has created a mini-school here, where farmers can cup, learn about best practices, enjoy lunch, and even brew coffee, all within the mill.

The next day, we arrived at Pedro’s farm, and he showed us his unconventional method of growing coffee. The forest has been mostly cleared except for some tall canopy of shade, which is counter to the tangles of wild growth in the jungle that we usually see.

Despite our surprise at his approach, what he was doing was working.

We saw some Caturra varieties planted 7 months ago at a year old, that were already producing flower. Usually it takes two to three years.  The flowers of the Caturra plants smell (and taste) like jasmine and the sweet smell hung heavy in the air around us.



We sipped cups of French Press coffee from the farm in the chilly, misty morning, which is the way most of the coffee was brewed while we were there.

Pedro and Daniela laid out coffee cherry for us to taste. It was an unusual treat for us to taste each of the different varieties produced at Buenavista separated out.

The SL28 was sweet but simple and pulpy. The Bourbon cherry was less complex with a candied sweetness, while the Yellow Caturra was floral. The Java variety and the Caturra were our favorites: the Java was juicy and very tropical and the Caturra intensely sweet and complex.

The Bolivian Buenavista now on our menu is made up of Caturra, Typica and Catuai varieties. The profile that we are getting from this season is incredibly delicate and nuanced. It is not a heavy coffee. It is elegant, with lots of champagne grape, lime, cocoa nibs, clove, honey and a buttery mouthfeel. The sweetness is like a sprinkling of white cane sugar.

Sourcing great coffee from this region is getting harder and harder because of competition with Coca, which is easier to pick and often more profitable. Change in climate is proving to be problematic, too – rainfall patterns are changing, which is complicating harvest and delaying coffee shipments.

We’ve also seen poor infrastructure and training, with most producers relying on old trees and a prevalence of Roya (coffee rust) destroying established coffee trees.

Pedro and his team at the Buenavista mill are helping us to remain hopeful, though, with impeccable processing and extensive education.



On view March 3rd – March 31st

Michael Rutledge makes work about himself. He makes work about the places and people in the world that provide him with a great sense of feeling. He makes the artwork that he would like to see hanging at home, which sometimes makes letting go of it difficult. Until its finished, he doesn’t usually think too much about what he’s making or why he’s made it.


For more information about this show or exhibiting your artwork with us, please contact the curator, Wendy Swartz –

Belmont Stumptown
3356 SE Belmont Street

maria.joan.dixon.1On view February 25th – March 31st, 2015
Opening reception 5-7 pm Sunday, March 1st

For Medicine Paintings Vol. 1, her second solo exhibition at Stumptown Downtown, Maria Joan Dixon documents the gorgeous and luminous worlds she has seen in her most recent visions and dreams. Mixed with a bit of what we know as physical images of our space and universe, her paintings express the ‘as within, so without’ aspect of our surreality.

Maria Joan Dixon is a born and raised Portland painter. Having taught herself acrylic painting since childhood, she has recently moved on to oil paints. Her work was previously exhibited at New Image Art Gallery in Los Angeles, CA and in Portland, OR at Breeze Block Gallery, Sugar Gallery, and Stumptown Downtown. Dixon is a staple of Portland identity, having created album covers for Adrian Orange, Valet, Swan Island, and Eternal Tapestry and murals for Rad Summer, The Box Social, and Sol Republic Headquarters.

Stumptown Coffee Roasters
128 SW Third Avenue

On view February 6th – March 9th
Reception for the artist 4-6pm Sunday, February 15th


“I believe that the Universe is one being, all its parts are different expressions of the same energy, and they are all in communication with each other, therefore parts of one organic whole.” - Robinson Jeffers

I have always found myself drawn to naturalist writers: Whitman, Thoreau, Jeffers, Abbey, Snyder. Through them, engrossed with an idea of monism, traveling from city to country, my computer screen to vast expanses of landscape. Feeling comfortable with each.

These photographs are of the Painted Hills, Oregon. Shot in the new year, no one around for miles. The stillness was intoxicating.

They are printed on bond paper using a plotter — a large format printer mainly used to produce architectural prints. While I enjoy the textural aesthetic of the image using this method, I am also drawn to marrying an image of a natural creation, with a method typically reserved for man made constructions.

- Evan Kinkel


For more information about this show or exhibiting your artwork with us, please contact the curator, Wendy Swartz –

Division Stumptown
4525 SE Division Street