Sprudge.com's “Build-Outs of Summer” soldiers on, this time with a new cafe space being built right here in our home city of Portland, Oregon. To say it's been a big year so far for Portland Roasting Coffee would be an understatement. From brewing at the Oscars to getting churned into Ben & Jerry's, to hosting noteworthy cuppings from a recent trip to India, we've watched with keen interest as PRC has managed scale and growth while still doggedly pursuing quality. The next big step in that evolution comes with the opening of their first fully staffed proprietary retail space, called The Cupping Room and located in their headquarters and roastworks in SE Portland.
Because this build-out is happening in our back yard (as opposed to, say, Winnipeg), Your Sprudge Editors enjoyed the opportunity to actually photograph this feature ourselves, and get some first-hand info from Portland Roasting. R&D prior to open has been extensive, and Portland Roasting's team of staff baristas were buzzing around the training space during our visit. Head barista Davis Tant led the tour, during which we were joined by another staff barista, Dan Bindschedler. Construction was still ongoing, but we did a chance to see PRC's legitimately sweet custom La Marzocco Strada (tricked out by Clive Coffee), and sample tasty shots of PRC's Sorano espresso blend.
Like many in specialty coffee (including Sprudge co-founder Zachary Carlsen), Mr. Tant got his start in coffee at Starbucks, before going to on to work at a few “Mom and Pop” Stumptown wholesale clients in the Portland area. Mr. Bindschedler is a veteran of JOE Coffee in New York City, having worked at their Chelsea and Waverly locations. For the Q&A portion of this feature, we reached out to PRC's head trainer, USBC judge, and occasional Sprudge contributor Nathanael May, who talked us through the design process and concepts behind The Cupping Room.
As told to Sprudge.com by Nathanael May.
Who are you working with for the new space?
The new space is being constructed by InSpec, with Nick Lettin being the architect.
What's the concept behind the space?
Our concept for the new space (named ‘The Cupping Room’) is to give us a venue for people to explore and purchase our coffee, much like a wine tasting room. We’ll have a large variety of brewing methods, a menu full of traditional café drinks, and bulk coffee purchasing options. As part of the construction we’re also putting in a brand new training room and a SCAA certified cupping lab. Both of these will have large windows looking into the café, so our visitors will be able to watch sample roasting, training etc.
Will it be a full-service cafe? Will there be events there?
We’ll be open to the public M-F from 7am-5pm, but we’re most excited to have the opportunity for more public events. Once we’re up and running we plan to have weekly cuppings, brew method comparisons, coffee flights and such. We’re already set to host #TNTNW in December, and I’m sure once we’ve worked all the kinks out we’ll be hosting a lot more public events. We’re all really thrilled about the opportunity to really connect with the coffee public and offer and exciting and comfortable place to learn about and enjoy our coffee.
What's your target opening date? What's the address?
We'll 100% be open on Friday, August 30th – less than two weeks from today. The Cupping Room is located at 340 SE 7th in Portland, Oregon.
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