So happy. So happy. So happy that I might even go out for a coffee after work rather than a beer! Shocking, I know.
Brief synopsis before I direct you to the brief article in the NYT: Stumptown, started in Portland, is a direct trade coffee importer, roaster and distributor. Their dedication to the bean is unparalleled as far as I have found. Direct trade, going beyond what people consider so great called fair trade, means that the people that own this company (yes, the actual owners of Stumptown) travel to South America/Central America/Africa/Indonesia to meet with growers and farmers of coffee beans, negotiate a good price for their worth and continue a relationship with them for years.
Genius subversion of traditionally horrible capitalistic principles. Oh, and guess what, if you're literally in a relationship with someone who is growing beans mostly for you and your company, you're probably going to be able to tell them what you like, tweak the amount of shade the beans get for example or say, you know, please don't put pesticides on the beans.
In the end, this is not an elitist pursuit--it is quite the opposite. Their espresso a their coffee shop in the new (and wonderful, had friends stay there and checked it out) Ace Hotel on 29th Street is 10 cents more than at the Starbucks around the corner.
They roast the beans at a facility in Red Hook (Brooklyn) and my co-worker met with the owner (friends of friends) to hear all about the company and its pursuits. I can tell you, at least second hand and from taste/sensual experience, this stuff is the real deal. These guys are an amazing example of shifting the traditional paradigm in beverages.
NYT Article here.
Stumptown website here.