A week ago I visited Portland Roasting Coffee Company in Southeast Portland and talked with owner Mark Stell and national sales director Marie Franklin. The almost 14 year old coffee company is one of Portland’s first direct trade roasters. On average PRC pays coffee growers 30 percent more than Fair Trade. I learned about the history of the business and current goings-on while drinking a Clover brewed, lightly roasted cup of their tasty morning blend in the cupping room. I also got a tour of the 18,000 square foot space which used to be a popcorn roasting facility.
Stell owns a coffee farm in Tanzania, situated right next to Ngorogoro Conservation Area, with his two brothers and a Tanzanian partner. The farm is 1,000 acres total but only 160 acres are devoted to coffee. The last couple years the farm has produced two shipping containers worth of coffee per harvest that’s been used exclusively for PRC’s Tanzania brew. In the future as the farm produces more they’ll distribute excess to other roasters. When Stell and his brothers bought the farm two and a half years ago it employed 12 farm workers, PRC now has 70 full-time Tanzanian employees on payroll.
If you want to participate in a free Portland Roasting Coffee Company tasting (afternoons Monday through Friday) call the office at least 24 hours in advance. Tastings can usually accommodate up to 10 people and last about an hour.
Portland Roasting Coffee Company
340 SE 7th Ave.