In the last 10 years, Portland has grown from a great place for foodies to a destination restaurant city. Maybe it’s the cheap rents, maybe the liberal populace, but definitely the adventurous appetites of Portlanders—who jump at the chance to try experimental wines, craft beers, and microroasted coffees—that helped make it this way. It’s also the big names who live here: Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon and Little Bird, Andy Ricker of Pok Pok, Ping, and the Whiskey Soda Lounge, Naomi Pomeroy of Beast and Expatriate, and of course, Duane Sorenson, who pioneered artisan coffee for the people with Stumptown, and has made recent and successful forays into the restaurant world with The Woodsman, Ava Gene’s, Roman Candle, and others.
I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else this weekend than Portland, Oregon, USA, where some of the best chefs and sommeliers in the country are gathered to explore the food and beverage of this fine city, try new concepts, hob nob, and indulge. Such big names as April Bloomfield of the Spotted Pig; Hugh Acheson of The National; Andrew Carmellini of The Dutch, Locanda Verde; Chris Cosentino of Incanto; Tom Douglas of, well, Tom Douglas; Stephanie Izard of the Girl and the Goat; Francis Lam of Clarkson Potter; Michael Voltaggio of Ink, and many, many, many more are here in Portland this weekend to experience food and beverage, Pacific Northwest style.
With such a concentration of chefs, foodies, wineries, breweries, restaurants, roasters, butchers, and eaters in one place, there’s time and space to get down to the parts that make the whole. Like, there are several salt seminars. Honey has it’s own section of the program. And coffee—though we in the industry view it as a whole and most certainly NOT a part—is being plunked down right in these chefs’ faces so they can see, taste, smell, experience what we know is one of the most special edibles around.
It so happens that FEAST coincides with the release of Stumptown Coffee’s very special Gesha Road Trip Box Set, which you can preorder now. This is a really unique project—super creative and unlike anything else out there. It all starts with Duane’s decision to carry precious Gesha varietals from Ethiopia to Central America, and plant them on some of his friends’ farms, among them Arturo Aguirre of Finca El Injerto in Guatemala, and Marysabel Caballero of Finca El Puente in Honduras.
Fast forward a bunch of years, and those coffees have developed and are ready to harvest. When Stumptown’s head roaster Steve Kirbach tasted the fruits of the most recent harvest, he was blown away. And that’s when he got together with Stumptown’s buyers, Darrin Daniel and Adam McClellan, and Duane himself, and they decided to blow the whole thing up with the kind of send off such coffees deserved. Introducing, the Gesha Road Trip Box Set.
So these visiting chefs and a few special friends of the Stumptown family were invited to the green coffee lab at Stumptown’s headquarters this morning for a cupping of these coffees. This is how special they are: there’s less than one bag of the Gesha from El Puente. And the green Gesha from El Injerto? Stumptown paid $87 per pound for that.
It was cool to have some awesome and renowned chefs cup these special coffees—Darrin and Adam explained the story behind the coffee really well, and I think the chefs totally understood what a special offering this was, and how lucky they were to get to try them.