Portland coffee roasters, cafés and the restaurant industry have faced some of the toughest obstacles to survival in decades. There’s been no way around the major ups and downs. This holiday season reminds us to give thanks for things we have. I reached out to local coffee roasters and asked them, “Despite the circumstances, what are you most thankful for this year?” Read on for what they had to say.
(SE Portland), 5120 SE 28th Ave.
Ardent Coffee has a big backstory and coffee to match in partnership with Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters. While most people think that slavery is a thing of the past, it is still prevalent today. Ardent Coffee is an advocate for the end of modern slavery and supports the International Justice Mission to that end. I spoke to Joe, a lead volunteer, and co-founder, to find out how Ardent is doing:
“There’s so much! We’re surprised daily at people’s response to what we’re doing and excited to partner to help make the world a better place. I would say we are most thankful for the culture and atmosphere that we’ve seen Ardent create for the community. Several customers have communicated how the space has been a place of sanity in an insane world these days with Covid. The lack of quality human interaction has led several customers to come here regularly to connect while working, studying, or meeting a friend, telling us that there’s a “gravitational pull” that Ardent has on them.
All along our planning process for starting Ardent we knew that we wanted the space to be a place of belonging, a place that was the best part of someone’s day and feel like the old television show Cheers. What we weren’t expecting was the pandemic would expose people’s unmet longing to have meaningful daily interactions to the degree that it has. At the end of the day, we’re thrilled to be a part of meeting that need and helping people thrive.”
Ardent Coffee is the place to get your morning, noon, and night coffee. Not only are they all volunteer-based, but 100% of their profits go towards helping to end modern slavery.
(NW Portland), 1350 NW Lovejoy St.
Located in Northwest Portland, Nossa is a one-of-a-kind company that has sourced its coffee beans from their family-run farm since inception in 2004. Brazilian-born owner and founder Augusto Carneiro initially brought Nossa Coffee to Portland so customers could experience fresh roasted specialty brews from beans roasted on the most environmentally friendly equipment. Since then, Nossa has expanded its sourcing to other coffee growers around the world, including Guatemala, Kenya, and Peru. Portland and Los Angeles each now boast Nossa Familia Coffee outposts. When I reached out to the business, they offered these sentiments:
“Nuestra Comunidad. Y no hablamos de la comunidad alrededor del café, sino la comunidad de gente Latina, BIPOC, y todos los demás que han tomado el tiempo para apoyarnos de una forma u otra. Aunque el reto ha sido grande, este movimiento ha sido mucho más voluminoso. Y aunque estemos en medio de algo tan grave como esta pandemia, su apoyo nos ha cargado hasta la meta. Y por eso estamos tan agradecidos.”
“Our Community. And we are not talking about the community around coffee, but the community of Latino people, BIPOC, and all the others who have taken the time to support us in one way or another. Although the challenge has been great, this movement has been much more voluminous. And although we are in the middle of something as serious as this pandemic, your support has carried us to the goal. And for that, we are so grateful. “
With a core focus on sustainability, Nossa Familia Coffee, and its family and friends, are passionate about their mission and it shows.
(NE Portland), 2012 NE Alberta St.
Proud Mary Coffee didn’t start out in Portland, OR, but has a great backstory of how the flagship shop came to be. Besides being an incredibly cool brand, Proud Mary was founded in Melbourne, Australia by Nolan and Shari Hirte in 2009. They started out with a passion for coffee and since then they’ve expanded their horizons to focus on healthy, sustainable, and locally sourced bean producers. Matt Lounsbury, Senior VP at Proud Mary Coffee, shared how they leveled up with community support.
It was difficult at first, as you can imagine, to pivot once the shutdown happened, and then again once another shutdown happened. By April, the community and regulars supported us, and once we created an online presence, it was a learning curve; but it was something that was a blessing in disguise since our system needed updating anyway.
Our team was up for the task of learning, and above all, coffee is something that still gets people out to converse and bond over, so we really want to be a place where they can do that. We’ve created an outdoor sidewalk area with heaters that people enjoy, and we are now doing delivery, so that has really expanded our business for the good.
The community of Portland coffee roasters continues to show the compassion and resilience needed to keep going and look towards a brighter and hopeful future.
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