Thursday morning I had the pleasure of visiting Portland Roasting Company (PRC) to take part in the company’s “Cupping for the People.” This is a free event that PRC puts on once a month to educate people about its coffee and roasting operations. I tried to go last month, but the class was already full, so I had to wait. The wait was worth it and I had another great day of coffee education.
Nathanael May, PRC’s coffee educator and trainer, was our guide for the day. Only three of us were there to participate—apparently several people had cancelled. It was their loss, as we had a very interesting and tasty morning. The first thing we did was take a tour of the warehouse and roasting facility. PRC is located in the building of a former bulk popcorn producer (I didn’t know such companies existed, but then again, maybe they don’t, which could be why PRC has this space).
Nathanael explained that the facility was a good fit because it included both food storage and production areas. As we passed through the warehouse, we could see that here were hundreds of boxes of Muin syrups on the shelf (PRC is the nationwide distributor for the syrup maker). At the back of the warehouse, there were large jute sacks of coffee piled high, each bearing the name of a country or growing region. Coffees from Asia, Central and South America and Africa were all present .
In addition to the regular coffees, there was also a small section of coffee that was labeled “Swiss Water”. Contrary to what you might think, Swiss Water is not some exotic coffee from northern Europe. Rather, it is the name of the method that Portland Roasting uses to decaffeinate its coffee.