If I Owned a Roastery

“Coffee’s benevolent Mr. Bean”


Saw this article on one of the coffee industry’s more interesting personalities, Duane Sorenson of Stumptown Coffee. With the continued developing interest in Pittsburgh (i.e. Aldo Coffee, 21st Street, Tazza D’Oro), Stumptown has a story that explains a lot about where the industry is headed:

This article appeared in The Tacoma News Tribune (Tacoma, WA, my hometown!), March 23, 2008

“Sorenson looked like many other customers in the coffeehouse, but despite appearances, he isn’t some indie rock geek hunkered over a latte and a laptop. Sorenson owns the joint, along with five other Stumptown coffeehouses and a roastery that supplies nearly 200 cafes and restaurants in this coffee-soaked city. As founder of 9-year-old Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Sorenson is among a small group of artisans and entrepreneurs who are jolting the business of beans by nurturing relationships with coffee growers, demanding training standards for baristas and turning on consumers to varietals.

Born and raised in Puyallup, Sorenson, is both unassuming and larger than life. A caffeinated, down-to-earth 36-year-old man-child in grunge couture, he not only rolls up his sleeves to befriend family farmers in developing nations but also pays premium prices for their beans in exchange for promises to improve their crops.

“Most of my employees are ex-bike messengers,” Sorenson said, shrugging off any fundamental differences between the guys who pull shots of Stumptown espresso and the guy who calls the shots for Stumptown’s business. “I tend to recruit the tattooed, hard-core types.”

The article gets a little deeper into the business practices and relationships Stumptown has developed with coffee growers around the world. If you have the time, it’s worth the read. Someday Stumptown may show up in a coffee shop near you…


2 responses to “If I Owned a Roastery

  1. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, I have to admit, I am really impressed with the imporvements of coffee in the ‘Burgh. I now live in Portland, and have been in Oregon for almost 11 years now, and own a coffee shop here in Oregon which serves Stumptown. About 2 years ago, I came to work for Stumptown. Its a fantastic company, a great group of people and outstanding coffee and coffee education. I am proud to say that I work for this company and be a part of this coffee revolution, but also very proud of my roots, and Pittsburgh ( GO STEELERS! ) and I think that the coffee culture in the city has greatly improved and can onlly continue to go that way. Whenever I am in town next, I will stop by, because I have not had a chance to come by this shop!! Great to see a little stumptown love in Pittsburgh 🙂

  2. As a former resident of the great NW I am pleased to announce that Stumptown has reached our shores! Now if I could only find it in Observatory Hill (at least outside of my kitchen cabinet)! Aldo’s in Mt. Lebanon is carrying it. Holla!!!

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