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welcome to coffee country


In Ollantaytumbo, Peru, Café Mayu carries bags of Stumptown’s Hair Bender at its roasting facility. home in tokyo Different Portland-Themed coffee shop, paddlers coffee Shibuya also serves Portland-roasted beans. In South Africa, one of the country’s most successful Java ranges is called Seattle Coffee Company, even though it was founded in Great Britain in the 90s by two PNW expats and has no other ties to the city.

Pacific Northwest is a global polestar for specialty coffee. It is also an area in search of a more ethical coffee industry, as roasters, cafes and nonprofits focus on specific growing areas, transparency in business and shade-grown beans. But as the flavor trends of the region – and that of corporate coffee chains – have become the determinants of success and acclaim, the conversation around coffee in the Pacific Northwest has often eroded and obscured some of the roasters that have long defined the style. advancing. The result is a flexible, often manipulated definition of the meaning of the morally produced and sourced; Megabrands like Starbucks tend to entice tourists to compare their Seattle roots with the ethos and efforts of independent roasters whose relationships with farmers are more deeply invested.

Of course, coffee in the Pacific Northwest is more than just award-winning baristas and corporate giants. As the region wrestles with a depressed economy, a pandemic, and Calculation in heart of Identity of Cascadia, its coffee industry is relocating. Talented roasters are specializing in beans from their home countries, BIPOC baristas are carving a niche for themselves and long deserved recognition, and cafe owners are honoring their family and cultural traditions. Now, people are raising money for immigration advocacy groups and promoting fair wages for coffee growers. There are roasters actively challenging the inaccessibility of coffee culture, either in their marketing or in the design of their drinks. Similarly, some shop owners are pushing against the gentrification of their neighborhoods by creating places that emphasize community over vague tasting notes.

These efforts are not limited to the hyper-local, however: many of these mobilizers are conscious of the industry’s impact on a global scale. With climate change and labor issues weighing on coffee-growing regions, the lofty goal of maintaining a humane coffee culture seems harder than ever. But communities in Seattle and Portland are still fighting to mold the local scene into something that reflects its ideal. The Pacific Northwest is still a coffee destination, and when it comes, the answer lies in the roasters, baristas and cafe owners who are constantly challenging and redefining the culture for themselves. The stories that followed are not only a glimpse into the past and present popularity of the region but also a look at the people who determined its future. Welcome to Coffee Country. – Brooke Jackson-Glidden and Gabe Garante



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