Search CPDX

Coffee News and Information
ABWG adventure advertising AeroShot airplanes ambition America Angel-in-us art Australia bakery barista barista championship baristas basketball beer Beijing birds blogging bonk book book review Boston bravery Brazil brewing methods Briggo buildings bus station business cafe cafe review Cafe Show caffeine caffepdx cappuccino Case Study celebrations censorship championship cheese China Chinglish class Coava coffe coffe shop coffee coffee book Coffee Fest coffee review coffee shop coffee shops coffee tour community competition contest courage create culture cupping cups dating Datong Dayton decaffeinated decisions diversion dreams driving dunkin' eating economics economy education entrepreneurship environment espresso ethics exercise family farming five questions flowers food Fox News freelancing friends funny goals Godin graffiti Great Wall green coffee Greyhound grinders Guillebeau guitar hacking Happy Cup harmony harvest Heart heat HFC history holidays hood river hostel how to brew how to roast humbug humor iced interview Italy Johns Landing judging junk food keep it weird kid-friendly kind strangers Kobos Korea languages latte life links love marketing Massachusetts mead Milletto MIlstead MistoBox Mongolia Trip music new perspectives new year news Nicaragua non-conformity Nossa Familia nutrition NWRBC obesity pastries PDX people persistence philosophy picture pictures poetry politics Portland power presentation private equity quality rain Ralph Waldo Emerson rant restaurants reuse review Ristretto roaster roasting running San Francisco SCAA SCAA 2012 Seattle self-reliance Seoul service shakerato shopping single origin sivers Smyth snow social media society sounds specialty coffee Starbucks Steampunk Sterling Coffee Stumptown subscription suburb success sustainability Tacoma tasting tea technology Torque tour traffic travel traveling Trust30 USBC Vancouver varietals videos wandering water WBC weather whisky wine winter work writing
This form does not yet contain any fields.

    Connect and Share

    Follow CaffeinatedPDX on Twitter facebook button

    Tweet, tweet...

    Entries in travel (10)


    Third Wave Coffee Tours: a great introduction to Portland coffee

    When you visit somewhere new for the first time, one of the best ways to get a feel for your new surroundings is to find a local guide. Whether you are looking for museums,  restaurants, or other attractions that don’t always make it into the guidebooks (or to the top of the Google search rankings), a good guide can make your experience much better.

    The same holds true if you are looking for good coffee. Portland’s reputation for coffee is well-known around the world, yet it can still be a challenge for tourists (or even locals) to choose where to go when they want to explore the city’s coffee scene (granted, one of the challenges is that there are so many options). A new company, Third Wave Coffee Tours, owned and operated by Lora Woodruff, is making it more convenient to find good coffee, whether you are making your first trip to Portland or have lived here all your life.

    Lora Woodruff, Third Wave Coffee Tours owner and tour guide

    I first heard about Third Wave Coffee Tours when I saw one of the company’s flyers on the coffee bar at Spella Caffè. Curious, I reached out to Woodruff for an interview, and she invited me to join her on one of the several tours she operates each week. Tuesday was the best day of the week for me to join her, which meant we would be exploring The Pearl District and Northwest Portland.

    Click to read more ...


    CaffeiNation's Coffee Road Trip Comes to PDX

    Do you think you drink a lot of coffee? You might not think so after watching the video below. Brandon Davenport, a barista at the Pancake Epidemic in Los Angeles (serving Stumptown Coffee), and his video-maker, Jesse Meeker, record their road trip around the West, hitting a wide variety coffee stops along the way. The video below is a recap of the duo's Portland stop, the second city on the tour. You might recognize a few of the names and faces (Liam Kenna, who manages Stumptown's Annex, has an especially prominent role).

    In total, there are seven videos in the series, covering  San Francisco, Seattle, Spokane, Boulder, Cheyenne, and other cities. The rest of them can be found at CaffeiNation's YouTube page.


    Come visit Dayton (you’ll love it)

    Late August/early September might be my favorite time of the year. The weather is as good as it gets all year, the tomatoes finally ripen, and people get out and really savor the waning days of summer. For me, the end of August signifies it is time to head back to my hometown of Dayton, Washington, to help out with wheat harvest. My family has a farm there, and returning to work for a few weeks is my way of staying connected with the family and the town where I grew up. In the last thirty-six years, I’ve missed just one harvest (and I didn’t like it). These days, I don’t usually work the whole thing, but I try to pitch in when I can. The hours are long, but it gives me an opportunity to work outside and enjoy the foothills of the Blue Mountains (see below).

    A friend of mine starting a new photography business took the picture (click to enlarge). I’m driving the combine on the left. To see more of Nick’s work, visit

    It is always fun to return to my roots, to see friends I’ve known forever, and visit with people from the community who played such an important role in making me who I am today. With a population around 2,500, Dayton is what many writers would call the idyllic small town (I just call it home). Tucked into the Touchet River Valley, the town is a jumping off point for a wide variety of outdoor recreation. Local motels fill up for hunting season (deer, elk, and pheasant hunting are most popular). Fishing for trout, steelhead, and salmon in the nearby Touchet, Toucannon, and Snake rivers also brings people to the area. During the winter, skiers carve up the crisp, dry powder at Ski Bluewood, a short drive up into the mountains. Dayton has a bustling downtown, with several shops, restaurants, a brew pubs, a brewery, two museums, and a few art galleries.

    Farming is still the main industry in the county, and when wheat prices are good (and interest rates are low), the town economy seems to do well. Recently, wind power has become an important part of the economy. A few hundred wind turbines add to the county tax rolls and provide several good-paying jobs. In June, PGE announced it would build a large wind generation project—116 new turbines—just north of Dayton. Construction on the new project will start this month.

    Tourism plays a significant role in the county economy too, and foodies can get their fix here. Dayton has a French restaurant, Patit Creek Restaurant, well-known throughout the Pacific Northwest. The Weinhard Café serves varied dishes created from local ingredients. An upscale chocolatier, Alexander’s Chocolate Classics, moved over from Washington’s West Side a couple years back. The Monteillet Fromagerie, a traditional French fromagerie, produces a variety of artisanal cheeses from the milk of its Alpine goats and East Freisan-Lacaune sheep. Some Portlanders may already be familiar with Pierre-Louis Monteillet, the owner, who can be found several Saturdays a year at the Portland Farmer’s Market at PSU, selling his cheeses from a booth toward the north end of the market. 

    Besides wind power and French cheeses, Dayton has a couple other connections to Portland. Toward the end of the 19th century, Henry Weinhard’s nephew, Jacob, moved to Dayton from Portland to establish his own brewery. The brewery is no longer around, but the Weinhard name still resonates with Dayton’s residents. Two businesses, the Weinhard Hotel and the aforementioned café, bear the famous name.

    One of the newer additions to Dayton is Mace Mead Works (mead is a type of wine made from honey). Reggie Mace*, the owner, would fit in well in Portland. Sporting a robust set of lamb chops and thick-rimmed glasses, he looks like a hipster from the Hawthorne District. In addition to his signature “dry mead”, Mace makes a couple different wines. He sells a lot of his mead in Portland (if I can catch up with him before I head back to Portland, I’ll do a more in-depth profile). He brings a little bit of Portland to Dayton, offering cured meats from Olympic Provisions.

    To celebrate the town’s history and its food culture, Dayton is hosting the Heirloom Weekend, a celebration of food, wine, and local cuisine, from September 20th-22nd. The event includes wine and cheese tastings, garden tours, live music, and a special dining event at TamiJoy Farms.

    If you’re looking for a new place to explore, Dayton’s diversity of food and drink makes it a great place to visit. I could go on and on about the town, but it’s better to see for yourself. An easy four-and-a-half-hour drive from Portland, come visit Dayton for an early fall getaway. You’ll be glad you did.


    * Prior to opening his own business, Mace worked several years at Walla Walla Roastery, probably Walla Walla’s best coffee roaster. Coincidentally, Walla Walla Roastery’s owner, Thomas Reese, lived in Portland for a while during the 1980s, where he did a lot of skateboarding with Din Johnson, who owns Ristretto Roasters. Years later, both were surprised to find that the other had ended up going into the coffee business. 


    Not-so Laconic* Links

    Looking for a way to keep your coffee warm? Apple’s latest iPad will keep it warm for you (do the wonders of Apple ever cease?). Some enterprising programmer, taking advantage of the fact that the new iPad runs hotter than previous models, wrote an app to turn the tablet into the world’s most multifunctional hot plate. I bet Steve Jobs never thought of that one… [update: the site seems to be down as of 3/26, so here's an alternative link.]

    It was time for the Starbucks annual meeting last week, so there’s lots of news about the Big Green Apron. Starbucks announced it would be bringing some manufacturing jobs back to the U.S., opening one factory in Ohio to make coffee mugs and another in Georgia to produce instant coffee (VIA). The company continues its evolution toward becoming the next big consumer food conglomerate (a la Kraft or Yum! Brands) with its recent purchase and rollout of its Evolution Fresh juice bars. The rollout was a little rough, though, at least in the spelling department. Starbucks is also trying to get into the fast-growing energy drinks industry, selling a new line of beverages with green coffee extract in them.

    In other news, Andrew Revkin of the New York Times interviews Todd Carmichael on his project to make the coffee trade in Haiti better support the farmers. As always, Carmichael calls things as he sees them.

    If you’ve ever tried to like coffee but just could not do it, you can probably identify with the author of this article in the Washington Post.

    Another reason for Bostonians seeking alternatives to Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks to rejoice: Counter Culture is coming to Somerville as early as this summer.

    Drip coffee enthusiasts, tip your hats. In 1972, two friends came up with an idea to brew better coffee at home, creating a home brewer called Mr. Coffee. One of the friends, Samuel Glazer, died this week at 89. 

    Portland’s coffee scene (and this blog!) got a mention on this week. Fox must have sensed the love that the New York Times has been giving Portland lately and did not want to miss out, writing an article called “10 Reasons to fly to Portland, Oregon right now.”  The news outlet, known for its ‘fair and balanced’ coverage, did not win any points for being ‘accurate,’ however. Whether intentionally or not, the author misspelled not one, but two local roasters’ names. Perhaps some editor at Fox wanted to tweak Portland because of its left-leaning politics.  

    Don’t forget to sign up for Happy Cup’s Roaster for a Day contest. You can win the opportunity to learn how to roast your own coffee, plus win 52 bags of coffee to take home. To enter, “Like” Happy Cup on Facebook or enter at the company’s website. The deadline is March 27th.

    *brief, short, to the point


    Tacoma to PDX: it shouldn't be so hard, right?

    [I spent a couple days in Tacoma last weekend as a judge at the Northwest Regional Barista championships. I’m still working on an article about that experience, but I wanted to first share my misadventures trying to get back to Portland.]

    Under most circumstances, I’m a big fan of mass transit, mostly because it means I don’t have to drive and can focus on doing other things. However, when you rely on someone else to get you places, you are at the mercy of forces beyond your control. Most of the time you get where you want to go when you want to get there, but not always.

    Riding up to Tacoma (I came with Brandon Arends), I figured I would be able to find someone who was headed back to Portland from the NWRBC on Friday afternoon. The barista competition runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but I needed to leave early to get back to Portland. If my efforts failed, I knew I had some friends leaving Tacoma for Portland on Saturday morning, so I had a backup plan.

    Unfortunately, my original plan was faulty. It was a parade of bad luck and even worse timing. It seemed like the universe had conspired against me to slow my travel down.

    Swing….and a miss!

    When Friday’s competition ended, I asked around to see if anyone was headed back to Portland. I was told that ‘someone named Jeff’ was going back, but that he had already left. Rats. Another person suggested I take the train. That sounded like a good idea. Amtrak is a nice way to travel between Tacoma and Portland. I pulled out my laptop and checked the schedule. The next train to Portland was leaving about 3:10pm, which would  put me in Portland by 5:30. Perfect—except that it was already 3:00 and there was no way to make it to the station, buy a ticket and get on the train in time for its departure. The 6pm train was sold out, so Amtrak wasn’t an option. Double rats.

    That was two near misses, and I wasn’t even out of the convention center yet.

    Brandon, who was staying until the next day, and I went back to the hotel about 3:20pm. The first thing I did was check the Greyhound bus schedule to see when the buses left. There was one leaving at 5:10pm that still had seats available. I almost bought a ticket, but then I remembered that sometimes you can find people on Craigslist (CL) looking to share rides. What the hell, I thought, I’m up for an adventure, so I went to CL to try to find a ride.

    If you’ve never used CL to purchase or anything, the site is a free online classified ad site that has a very unique etiquette model. Whenever you try to sell or buy something, you have to accept that people won’t necessarily give you a response. If they don’t call you, you have your answer—no. Therefore, when you are trying to get something on CL, you have to send out multiple feelers. Some bite, most don’t. It’s not that people are being rude—rather, that’s just how the game is played. You just have to accept it.

    On the Seattle rideshare section, I found a few different possibilities. One person named Josh was leaving Tacoma at 3:30pm with room for three people. He left a phone number to call.  He didn’t answer, so I left a message and a contact number. Another ad said that two students planned to leave around 2pm. Two o’clock was already long past, but people’s intentions don’t always work out, so I sent them an email in case they were behind schedule.

    A third ad said that she was leaving Seattle for Portland that evening (see picture).

    I sent an email, trying my best to convince her I wasn’t dangerous, creepy or looking for more than conversation, but I must have failed, because I got no response.

    Finally, I found an ad saying that someone was leaving Tacoma for PDX about 3:45pm, asking $20 for help with gas. That was better than the $35 that Greyhound wanted. I sent the person a text, saying that I was in Tacoma at the La Quinta hotel, right off the freeway. No response. About 10 minutes later, I wrote and was more direct: “I have $20 and I’m right by the freeway exit,” I clarified.

    I waited another 20 minutes, figuring that if no one responded I still had time to buy the bus ticket. About 4:15, I decided to go ahead and buy the ticket. Reluctantly (should I wait?), I pressed the ‘Confirm Purchase’ button. I received a confirmation email that told me to be at the station an hour before departure to pick up the ticket, which made no sense because it was already less than an hour before departure. I love computers. They give such great customer service.


    As I closed the screen of my laptop, I heard the familiar bzzz-bzzz of my phone, indicating an incoming text message. The person I had texted earlier said that he would be there in a few minutes and asked for the address of the hotel. Aaaggghhh! I knew I should have waited (I had bought the cheaper, nonrefundable ticket, of course). I texted back that I had just bought my bus ticket and that I didn’t need him to pick me up. Damn. That was about 4:20. Had I ridden with him, I would have gotten back to PDX about 6:45pm. As it was, my bus was scheduled to pull into Portland at 8pm.

    Since I was supposed to be at the station an hour before departure, I left the hotel at 4:30 and walked toward the station with my bag. It was a beautiful day in Tacoma, the sky was blue and the crisp air was invigorating as I walked briskly toward the bus stop. It felt good to be traveling on my own again, even if it was only from Tacoma to Portland. There was an extra bounce in my step as I made may way down the hill to the Greyhound station.

    When I got to the station, it was dark, and locked. A man waiting outside told me that the station doesn’t open until 5:00. But doesn’t the bus leave at 5:10? Didn’t Greyhound’s email tell me to be at the station an hour early? Who’s in charge of the  computer system?

    It wasn’t much fun standing there on the street, waiting with nowhere to go. In the back of my mind, I was marginally worried that the station might open late and there not be enough time to get the tickets printed out before the bus left. I was prepared to try to talk my way onto the bus using nothing more than the confirmation email on my phone. The message clearly stated that a paper ticket was needed for boarding, but if you couldn’t get the company to print it out on time, that wasn’t my fault, was it?

    It turns out my worries were unfounded. The customer service rep was on time, and he printed out my ticket by 5:05pm, though it would not have mattered if I had shown up late. The attendant soon informed us that the bus was running “20 minutes late.” Of course it was.

    At fifteen minutes to six (35 minutes late), the bus pulled in. We boarded the bus and were on the road ten minutes later, 45 minutes after the bus was scheduled to leave. At that time of day, the traffic is pretty bad in the region and the driver had to fight stop and go traffic until almost Olympia, where the bus stopped to drop a couple people off. Our expected PDX arrival kept getting later and later. I spent time writing about the NWRBC experience until my laptop battery quit, then I shut off the light and sat in my seat staring into the dark night.  

    In all the excitement, I had forgotten to eat, so I sat there staring out the window trying to ignore my growling stomach. One of the rules of the road is that you should always have some backup eats for situations like this. I had violated the rule. One more thing.

    We finally pulled into Portland at 9:00pm. I checked the Tri-met bus arrivals at the nearest station for my route home. The next #19 bus was coming in three minutes, which meant that by the time the bus finally parked, the opportunity was gone. Yep, that’s just how the whole trip was – one more missed connection. The next #19 was not coming for another half hour. I could do nothing but throw my hands up and laugh (and swear, if I’m being honest). To kill time, I decided to walk from the Greyhound station up to PSU. The exercise felt good after sitting around for so long.

    As I was waiting at the PSU stop, my phone buzzed as it received another text from the mystery driver who nearly gave me the ride. He offered to take me back to Tacoma on Sunday. In my reply, I thanked him for the offer and said I lived in Portland, taking the time to lament that I still wasn’t home. I could picture him laughing as he responded with the news that he was headed out to a bar. That was the end of an anonymous conversation with an unknown fellow traveler. Craigslist has a funny way of bringing people together.

    Thankfully, the #19 arrived on time – ahhh, the last leg of the trip. At 10pm, I finally walked in my front door, tired and hungry. Instead of taking two and a half hours, the trip took just over five and a half hours from door to door.

    An iffy day

    The day could have been much better, if only:

    If I had found “Jeff” before he left, I would have probably made it back to Portland by 5:15pm. No dice.

    If I had checked the Amtrak schedule 15 minutes earlier, I would gotten on the train and made it back by 5:30. Nope.

    If I had waited one more minute to buy the bus ticket, I would have ridden back with the mystery texter and made it back to Portland by 6:45. Negative.

    If the bus had arrived at the Tacoma station on time, we would have made it back to Portland at 8pm, and someone would have been available to pick me up at the Portland station when I got back.  Afraid not.

    If the traffic between Tacoma and Olympia had been lighter and we arrived a few minutes earlier, I would have caught an earlier Tri-met bus home. Instead, I missed the bus, which cost me an extra half hour. Go figure.

    Like I said before, I like mass transit. I enjoy seeing and meeting new people, I like the fact that people share resources and I really like letting someone else do the driving. But after a day like Friday, I remember why people drive. Mass transit can be a real pain in the ass. But it does make for some interesting stories....



    I'm not sure who Ed is, but he has some advice for travelers passing through the Greyhound station in Tacoma, Washington. Take heed.



    Nossa Familia – bringing Brazil to Portland


    [Part 1 of this story can be found here]

    Nossa Familia (“Our Family”) Coffee was founded by Augusto Carvalho Dias Carneiro. Augusto grew up in the city of Rio de Janeiro, but the family’s farm was never very far from his mind. Dias would spend 3-4 months each year there, riding the horses that his grandfather used to herd cattle. The time in the country made a deep impression on him, and each year he looked forward to returning.

    Fate brought Augusto to Portland from Brazil. He knew he wanted to study engineering and play tennis at an American college, but did not have a strong preference for a particular place.

    “It was the luck of the draw. I sent letters to over 120 schools. I wanted to play tennis and go to school, and I just ended up here.”

    The University of Portland responded, and Augusto decided to come to Portland, sight unseen. Before he came, he envisioned himself needing to learn about American sports like baseball and football. When he arrived on campus in the fall of 1996, the university’s soccer-crazy culture made him feel right at home (if you haven’t heard, soccer is fairly popular in Brazil too). The Portland area’s numerous opportunities for biking and the city’s love of coffee also made Portland a good fit for him.

    Augusto Carvalho Dias Carneiro, with a notebook containing pictures of the family's coffee farm in Brazil

    After graduation, Augusto got a job as an engineer, but quickly found that engineering was not what he wanted to do. He missed Brazil, and was looking for a reason to travel there more frequently. Starting a coffee company was one way to make that happen. Visiting the country in 2004, he spoke with one of his cousins, telling him he was considering importing coffee from the family’s farms to Portland.

    The cousin thought it was a good idea, so he sent Augusto back to Portland with 70 pounds of coffee roasted on the farm in Brazil. Augusto brought the coffee back and shared it with family and friends. It was a hit, and Augusto, along with one of his friends from college (no longer invested in the business) decided to start a company.

    Each partner put in $400 to bring the first shipment up via FedEx. The coffee sold well. In those days, coffee was much cheaper and the Brazilian real was much weaker than the US dollar, so shipping the coffee up in small quantities was profitable. Still, they knew that bringing the coffee to Portland this way was not going to be the long-term business model, and began looking for other ways to supply Brazilian coffee to the Portland market.

    As the company’s wholesale customers began to ask for different types of packaging, various lead times and freshness levels, importing the coffee eventually became too difficult, so they had to come up with another way to bring the coffee to Portland.

    Augusto decided the best way to do that would be to partner with a local roaster. He found one in Kobos Coffee. Augusto had met David Kobos and Brian Dibble, Kobos’ owners, when he stopped in to see if they might be interested in buying some green Brazilian beans. Eventually, they came to an agreement where Nossa Familia would import the green beans and Kobos would roast them.

    “Partnering with Kobos has been good for us. We can combine my family’s coffee knowledge with their roasting knowledge,” Augusto said.

    Nossa Familia employees unload and store the green coffee in Kobos’ warehouse, and Kobos’ roasters roast the coffee twice per week, using specifications that the family’s coffee experts in Brazil supply.

    Currently, much of Nossa Familia’s coffee is sold through supermarkets, especially New Seasons. The company’s coffee is also available at some local cafés and restaurants. In the future, Nossa Familia plants to start roasting its own coffee and have its own branded café. Augusto said that when they open the roastery/cafe, it will be easier to share seasonal coffees and micro-lots with their customers. The company may also bring in coffee from other farms in Brazil or other countries that share the same values, creating an “extended familia”.

    Farm, family and fun – The adventure of a lifetime

    For someone who wants to see firsthand how coffee is grown and processed, Nossa Familia has started the tradition of taking groups of people to Brazil on its annual Coffee Tour. The next trip, which is the fourth one, will take place May 4-14, 2012. The date coincides with the beginning of coffee harvest.

    The origins of the trip share a connection with Augusto’s passion for cycling. He is an avid biker, and Nossa Familia has sponsored Cycle Oregon for several years. For a long time, the ride’s director kept asking Augusto when they were going to Brazil, until one day they finally decided to go ahead and plan the trip. The first one, in 2008, was just a group of friends biking around the countryside. Most of the people brought their tents and camped out at night under the stars. The weather cooperated—most of the time.

    “One day a huge storm came in, and we were in the house and you could see the tents being folded flat by the wind.  Everything got soaked.” Augusto recalled.

    Unplanned weather events notwithstanding, the trip was a success, so they decided to do it again the next year. The first tours were focused on biking, with lots of planned activities. The group  covered many miles on their bikes as they rode around the rolling hills of the countryside. The second and third trips were different. The group spent less time biking and more time doing other things.

    “You can go biking everywhere,” Augusto explained, “so the goal became just to experience the culture and everything there is to see.”

    It is not only rural Brazil that the travelers get to experience. Fazenda Cachoeira is located about eight miles outside Poços de Caldas, a town of about 200,000 people, so in addition to experiencing life in the country, you also get a glimpse of life in the city.

    “We do the cultural thing as well. There is a lively arts and crafts market in the city, and you can visit several restaurants. You’re not just sitting around the middle of nowhere.”

    Augusto leads the trip himself. One of the highlights is to observe and participate in the coffee operation. Travelers can help pick the coffee cherries from the trees and then watch as they are processed into green beans, ready to be exported throughout the world.

    Sarah, who went on the 2011 trip, recalled picking some unique coffees: “We were able to harvest coffee from these hundred-year-old coffee trees [Fazenda Santa Alina has a “centennial grove,” where none of the plants have been taken out since they were planted in 1907], and you could take a cherry off the plant, toss it in your mouth. When you bit into it, it tasted like honey—super sweet, but it doesn’t have the depth of fruit that a typical cherry would.”

    For people nervous about traveling to a country where English is not the main language, Augusto said that a majority of the middle-class Brazilians have taken some English, so they at least know the basics. At the farm, though, very few people speak English, which can lead to some entertaining cultural exchanges. He recounted returning to the farm one evening to find a group of Americans and Brazilians sitting around trying to teach each other their language.

    “Someone would pick up an object and say the name in English, then someone from the Brazilian group would try to repeat the word. Everyone would get a good laugh when the person mispronounced the word. They were doing the same for Portuguese.”

    Cultural exchanges like this one are an integral and invaluable part of the trip.

    Lasting impressions

    When I asked what he thinks is the best part of the trip, Augusto responded that  it is “not so much the coffee, but the family. It’s something you can’t sell.” 

    For example, Augusto’s grandparents still live on the farm and one evening, they invite the trip’s guests into their house for dinner. It is an opportunity to share stories, culture and great Brazilian food.

    Sarah, who went on the most recent trip, also shared what impressed her the most.

    “For me, what I came back with—not having been in the coffee industry for a long time—was that I had no concept of what it took to get a green bean to the United States. It did not occur to me the effort, the level of care, all of the processes it took to get there. We were talking about the beans being dried to the correct humidity, but the coffee also has to sit and rest for 60-90 days before it can be shipped. There’s the storage and all the equipment and above all, the people. The best part was meeting Tuca [one of Augusto’s cousins, and manager of one of the farms] who said ‘I’m not a grower of coffee, I’m a leader of people.’ I really forget that’s what it’s about. You can have a product at the end of the day, but if you don’t take care of the people, it’s not worth it. That made a huge impact.”

    Coffee has a way of bringing people together, and Nossa Familia was founded on the idea that coffee could provide a bridge between Portland and Brazil. In Nossa Familia’s case, the coffee brings cultures and family together. After speaking with Augusto and Sarah, it was clear that above all, family is the focus of Nossa Familia. One of the sayings at Nossa Familia is that instead of “fair trade,” the company engages in “family trade.” For generations, the Carvalho Dias family’s coffee heritage has been cultivated by people who care about sustainability and high-quality coffee. In these values, Portlandians and Brazilians have something in common.

    Finally, the giveaway!

    This year, for the first time ever, Nossa Familia is giving away a free trip for two to Brazil! 

    Taking the trip to the farm would be a valuable opportunity to learn about coffee production and to soak up the culture of Brazil. The eleven-day trip is full of activities, and a complete itinerary can be found at Nossa Familia’s website. If you don’t happen to win, you can still go. The full cost of the trip is $2950 per person, plus airfare, so start saving up.

    No purchase is necessary to be eligible for the sweepstakes. The easiest way to enter the contest is to go to Nossa Familia’s contest page on Facebook. If you do not have a Facebook account, you can still enter. Click on the link to the contest and then click on "Read the Official Rules." Towards the bottom of that page there is a link to an "Alternative Method of Entry." Click on that link and enter your information.  People aged 18 to 99 who reside in the US are eligible to enter. Don’t delay—the sweepstakes ends November 1, 2011, at 4:59am—you don’t want to miss this opportunity.

    Good luck! (and if you win, feel free to take me!)

    [Special thanks to Kevin, who worked hard to make sure my shot of espresso was pulled just right. It was tasty.]