Stumptown Coffee Roasters has a die hard following of loyal fans who can’t go a day without it. With coffee shops in Seattle, New York, L.A., Portland (where the company is based) and more in the works, serious Stumptown Coffee love is quickly spreading across the globe. Behind-the-scenes and hard at work in the headquarters is an eclectic crew of musicians, artists, chefs, writers, cyclists, surfers, skaters, blacksmiths, printmakers, enthusiasts of books, gardening, making things, getting outside, doing creative work and of course, drinking coffee. When Duane Sorenson founded the first Stumptown coffee bar and roastery in 1999, he looked for people who were first and foremost passionate about something, so they could understand his passion for coffee. Some of those first employees are still working for Stumptown, where company events like employee art shows and barbecues with employee bands as the performers are a regular occurrence. Stumptown’s Social Media Manager and Blogger Katie Bernstein says of the special culture — “It’s one of the only workplaces I’ve ever seen that really nurtures your creative work outside of work.” From ping pong sessions to as much espresso as your heart desires, come along for a tour through their capital of caffeinated cool headquarters.
photography by morgan blake
Jenny Censky (left) and Katie Bernstein are part of the in-house Creative Department. Jenny is a Designer and Illustrator and Katie is the Social Media Manager and Blogger. The Stumptown Portland office balances its clean industrial architecture with pieces of art from local artists that have shown in Stumptown cafes, including this neon piece “Vacation” by artist and designer Emma Barnett.
The Stumptown breakroom is loaded with vintage Olympia Beer signs (the founder is a huge fan). Kegs are stocked with Northwest beers (naturally) and Stumptown cold brew coffee (obvs) on tap.
Katie Bernstein first joined the company as a barista in the cafes before her current post as the Social Media Manager. “People looked forward to their daily coffee so much, and it was a true pleasure to facilitate that. Our cafes are the places that you meet your neighbors,” she says. “Through social media, I now get to see how people around the world are taking their coffee breaks, and it’s very cool to still be a part of that experience.”
Marian Miller just relocated to Portland to work as the Customer Support Representative. She is a printmaker and collector of all things colorful and is currently filling her little greenhouse with veggie and flower starts and settling after her recent move from Seattle.
Megan Heger, the Wholesale Customer Support Manager, is a self-proclaimed book nerd, dog lover and Oregonian by way of Iowa.
Office detail of a hand-painted Jute Bag from Tanzania. Burlap coffee sacks are donated to the Portland Community Gardens.
All Stumptown coffee is roasted on Probat drum roasters. This is a vintage G90 roaster that Probat found for Stumptown and brought back to life. They roast about 4,500 pounds of coffee a day from their Portland headquarters!
Bo Thunell and David George are Stumptown’s resident ping pong champs. Bo is the head Wholesale Coffee Trainer and races bikes when he’s not working or dominating the ping pong table. David is the Assistant General Manager of all Stumptown retail cafes — lending a hand wherever needed in any of our cafes, from opening new locations to organizing events. He just celebrated his 7th anniversary at Stumptown.
The Portland Annex is a brew bar and education hub inside Stumptown’s main offices that is open to the public. Visitors can enjoy public cuppings everyday at 3 p.m. or take a tour on Wednesdays at 1 p.m.
Detail of a La Marzocco New Mistral espresso machine in the training lab. All of the Stumptown cafes use La Marzoccos — the espresso machines in New York and L.A. are custom-designed as a homage to each city.
Look for Samantha Rogers and her laid-back style at the cafe on SW 3rd and Pine in downtown Portland where she is the assistant manager.
The Teacher — Jonathan Sielaff is the Portland coffee educator and retail trainer. For new Stumptown baristas, training takes anywhere from 2 to 3 months before their first shift behind the espresso bar ready. Continued education is constant and rigorous, as baristas have trainings or education classes at least once a month no matter their experience. Jonathan is also an incredible musician — he plays his grandfather’s bass clarinet through a chain of effects pedals in the electro-acoustic duo Golden Retriever.
The World Traveller — Adam McClellan is Stumptown’s green coffee buyer. He spends many months out of the year traveling to different coffee farms around the world, sourcing, cupping (the industry standard way of tasting coffees side by side) and working with farmers to build relationships and set goals for quality, discussing price, volume and timing expectations. You can listen to an amazing mixtape he made of his favorite coastal Colombian cumbia music here.
The Visionary — Duane Sorenson founded the first Stumptown coffee bar and roastery in 1999, with a commitment to high quality coffee sourcing and economic transparency of the supply chain. Since then, Stumptown has opened up cafes and roasteries in Seattle, New York and L.A. (And Duane has gone on to open some of Portland’s best restaurants: Ava Genes, the Woodsman Tavern and Roman Candle Baking Co.)