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The Art of Crafting Coffee: McMenamins Take on Local Roasting

Saturday, September 27, 2014


Ever sip on your coffee and wonder where it came from? Many places in Portland pride themselves on roasting local coffee and McMenamins is one of those places. Their roastery is small, and for a specific reason - they want to focus on quality.

Mike and Brian McMenamin opened up their first pub in 1983. Two years later they created the first post-Prohibition brewpub in Oregon, the Hillside Brewery & Public House, which was located in Portland. In 2010, Martyn Leaper became the head roaster and drove the company to explore direct-to-farm relationships when it came to resources for beans.

McMenamins Bag of Coffee Beans

El Salvadorian Coffee Beans Photo Provided By: Kathleen Nyberg, McMenamins

Leaper managed to achieve the business’s own direct trade relationship with the Valdivieso Family Estate in El Salvador as a source of one-third of its green beans since 2010. What makes McMenamins so unique is that coffee isn’t even their primary business. Roasting upwards of 70,000 pounds of green beans a year in small batches at their Coffee Roasters, running them through German-designed Probat L25 drum roasters weekly, and then serving them in their pubs, restaurants, and hotels in both Oregon and Washington is no small feat. 

Over the years, McMenamins has branched out its source of coffee beans to small farmers in Central and South America, East Africa, and Indonesia as well as a 120-year-old farm of Finca Las Isabellas in the El Salvador’s Apaneca-Ilamatepec Mountains. The close attention to where they purchase makes a huge difference. All beans are shade-grown, organic, fair trade, and Rainforest Alliance Certified.

“As a company, quality is our main focus and buying coffee directly from a farm just solidifies our commitment to quality," says Leaper. "This direct trade farm relationship helps us maintain our consistency throughout the year and is central to our overall coffee profile in the company,” . 

Handful of Beans

All Organic Beans Photo Provided By: Kathleen Nyberg, McMenamins

With 56 locations all over the Northwest since 2001, it’s easy to find a McMenamins at which to sample their coffee. Look out for their espressos to wake you up after staying at one of their hotels, in cocktails to cap off a perfect (or not so perfect) evening, and in their spirits and beers.

Believe me, these people put coffee in things you've never imagined. 

Not only is their roasted coffee available at all 56 locations, but purchasing online is also an option.

Also, if you’re curious about how they work and fascinated by their uniqueness, visit the McMenamins Roasters for a tour they hold between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Wednesday. The Roastery is located in Portland’s Eliot neighborhood off Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard at 421 NE Knott Street.

Homepage Photos Provided By: Kathleen Nyberg, McMenamins

Photos Provided By: Kathleen Nyberg, McMenamins


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