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Stumptown Annex

October 6, 2012

I moved to Portland back in 2006 in large part because of the great coffee culture.  And once I acclimated to the city, I moved into inner Southeast Portland because of the high concentration of great coffee houses.  And I moved into the Sunnyside neighborhood because of the Stumptown Annex.  It is, to my knowledge, THE BEST COFFEE CUPPING ROOM IN THE WORLD.

Twice daily, Duane Sorenson’s coffee guru crew hosts free – yes, you read that correctly, FREE – coffee cuppings for anyone that happens to wander in.  Twice a day.  Every day.  Seven days a week.  For free.  And one of the things that makes it so amazing is that these aren’t “token” cuppings designed to sell a few bags of beans.  This is science.  It is a laboratory.  It is where Stumptown gathers information about the coffees, develops descriptions, experiments with brew methods and specifically which brew method works best for which coffee and with what variables.  And you are invited to be in on it every day.  For free.

Honestly, I’m not sure exactly WHAT is their motivation behind their cupping room.  I’ve watched them for 6 years and the model seems to have changed a bit here and there.  I’ve asked various insiders about the seeming discrepancy between having an entire shop for this purpose and the bottom line (I can’t imagine that they are making money doing this).  They usually give some passionate monologue about the Annex, its purpose, and usually coming back to Stumptown Coffee founder Duane Sorenson’s heart for coffee education.  And that is the best I can figure.  They do this because Duane wanted to present coffee to the community in the most transparent, accessible way possible, so the Annex was born.

On a recent visit Carissa and I bopped in on a date (most of our dates involve visiting coffee houses) to try some new coffees we hadn’t tasted recently.  We went for an El Salvador and an Indonesia Gajeh Aceh, and chose the Beehouse dripper as our brew method, partly on the recommendation of Haley, the coffee goddess on duty that day.  The experience was great.  The coffees were excellent, opening up beautifully as the temperature came down.  And I took a few pics, thinking to myself:  “Self, you better give the Annex it’s own write up – it’s a part of Stumptown Coffee that is special enough to deserve its own space”.  And my self thought that was just an excellent idea.

Coffee for two at The Annex

Want beans? The Annex has got ’em!

…and all SORTS of brew equipment!



One Comment
  1. Gwen permalink

    I still don’t drink coffee, but I remember you taking me to this place and explaining how it all works…lol and even when i noticed how certain coffees cost more per pound than I’m sure gold, you made it sound completely reasonable…see I paid attention 🙂

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