Thursday, December 4, 2008

december @ thump

12/24 Close at 3:00pm
12/25 & 12/26 CLOSED

CUPPING: No Cupping in December. Join us in 2009 for more adventures in coffee tasting.

featured coffee: Kenya Gaturiri Reserve, direct trade
(Stumptown's first East African Direct Trade coffee)

from Stumptown:
Location: Karatina de Nyeri
Elevation: 1700-1800 meters
Varietal: SL34, SL28 Region: Africa
Flavors: Sweet sugar browning aromatics introduce dark fruit flavors of raspberry, huckleberry and black currant which compliment the coffee's stout body and honeyed finish.
Notes: The members of the Gaturiri washing station within the Barichu Cooperative are the proud producers of our first ever East African Direct Trade coffee! To be able to guarantee such a phenomenal price to the association members of Gaturiri, under the Barichu Cooperative umbrella, is the first step towards transparent coffee business in Kenya. Stumptown worked on the ground directly with growers and washing station managers in the Central Kenyan Highlands. This grand cru lot, from the peak of the harvest, represents the finest quality coffee produced at Gaturiri this past harvest.

ART: Mosaics from Bear Creek Elementary Students with Donna Lutzky
Retired art educator and mosaic artist Donna Lutzky collaborated with Mimi Graves’ fifth-grade class at Bear Creek Creek Elementary to create the vibrant mosaics on display at thump this month. The mosaics incorporate bits of broken cups, bowls and plates from the coffeehouse, and they will be available for purchases to raise funds for the school’s otherwise un-funded art programs.

Lutzky introduced “some simple design elements to the students and then discussed what a mosaic is,” she says. The students used 6-inch tiles as their bases and individual pieces of "tesserae," including actual pieces of broken dishes from thump, to create their designs, she explains.

Graves describes Lutzky as a “gifted teacher, who is generously volunteering one to two days a week at Bear Creek.” Graves says that Lutzky’s donated work allows Bear Creek students an opportunity at a school that has “no funding for art or artist in residence opportunities.”

Lutzky, who will also show her own works here this month, writes in her artist’s statement: “My passion for patterns, textures, color and form naturally led me to the exploration of mosaics. I abandoned the traditional mosaic technique I learned in college and use a more free-form style, a ‘spontaneous’ intuitive search for the right pieces, resulting in accidental encounters. I have to ‘think’ in mosaics to create with the aesthetic traits of the materials I possess. Pique assiete (using pieces of broken china or shards) is a style I also incorporate into my own pieces.”

“All of art creation says something about its creator, and I hope my use of broken pieces shows the beauty and new wholeness of RECONSTRUCTED BROKENNESS!”

Because Graves recognizes the importance and value of arts education, she also annually orchestrates the Evening Art Gala in May, where all Bear Creek students have the opportunity to showcase their artwork for the public to appreciate and to purchase. For more information on the Evening Art Gala, contact Mimi Graves at 383-6120.

This is the second year Thump has showcased the artwork of local young artists from Bear Creek Elementary School during December. Thump owner, Hazel Chapple, was a teacher at Bear Creek, and she hopes “to offer ongoing opportunities for young artists to publicly show their work and take pride in their artistic accomplishments,” she says.

thumpology: Coffee Producer from El Salvador Aida Batlle & Stumptown Owner Duane Sorenson

On November 18, Hazel, Kent and Finley zipped over to Portland and back for an evening "Meet the Producers" event, hosted by Stumptown. The guest of honor, Aida Batlle, is a rarity in the coffee producing industry — a woman(!) managing not one, but three, of her family's coffee farms. We tasted her award winning coffees and a traditional tea made from dried coffee cherries. Sweet, earthy and potent with caffeine!

Aida is known for her meticulous farming and harvesting practices, as well as the generous wages she pays her workers. In her presentation, Aida described the farming methods she uses including skilled tree pruning and transitioning her farms to certified organic practices. She also described how she is experimenting with fertilizing the soil by digging compost holes amongst the coffee trees.

In a conversation with Stumptown owner, Duane Sorenson, Hazel asked how he found Aida and other coffee producers with whom he establishes Direct Trade relationships. He shared that it's through word of mouth, asking lots of people throughout a given country, "Who has the best coffee?". Duane explained that it takes anywhere from 16 months to 3 years to transition to a Direct Trade relationship between Stumptown and a given coffee producer. Time is needed to build relationships, and insure transparency — making sure that money paid to a farmer or co-op makes it to the worker; that standards in coffee quality, farming and harvesting are consistently high; and that workers and the land are well cared for.

Duane lamented that only about 1% of the producers he or Aleco Chigounis approach are able to sell them coffee. Many farmers are already under 10 - 20 year contracts - being paid minimum prices for outstanding coffees. Some of the farmers have to break these contracts to grow more profitable crops, such as bananas. When reflecting on this, it saddens us to think what happens to the coffee trees that had been so carefully maintained for possibly generations, as the land and resources are now needed for a different crop like bananas.

For the coffee producers who are able to earn generous prices for their coffees by working with roasters like Stumptown, we are honored to do our part by serving their coffees, such as Finca Kilimanjaro and Finca el Injerto, at thump. Each sip is the result of great effort put forth by every hand that touched the bean: Duane and Aleco who established the relationship, the coffee producer who is the steward of the land and the local community, the farm worker who laboriously and skillfully tends the land, harvests and processes the coffees, the roaster who artfully roasts the bean, and the barista who carefully prepares your drink! Drink up in honor of them all!

Grind In The Flavor
Buy a Baratza conical burr grinder at thump and the first bag of beans is on us! Coffeehouse-quality Baratza burr grinders uniformly grind your coffee without changing its roast, and they consistently deliver the proper particle size, from very fine espresso to coarse French press. You’ll get a better tasting cup with these specially priced commercial-grade conical burr grinders. Learn more.

Thump Coffee

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