Portola Coffee Roasters
t hit me last week that I haven’t yet written an article on Portola Coffee Roasters. Shocking, considering I am sipping on one of their vanilla soy lattes at least once or twice a week (if not more). I am in love with everything about this company, from their interior design, coffee (obviously), incredible ingredients, picture-perfect pastries, sophisticated brewing methods and genuinely enthusiastic staff.
Portola Coffee Roasters: The Coffee
Even without understanding all of the precision Portola Coffee Roasters operates under, upon your first taste of their coffee, you will know something magical is happening behind the scenes. If I had zero self-restraint (and an unlimited budget), I would be drinking their coffee everyday, multiple times a day.
Co-owners Jeff and Christa Duggan regularly roam the world searching for the highest quality beans available. Their commitment to what they call “At Origin” sourcing is an enormous testament to their perspective as business owners. I had to include this quote from their website beautifully describing how they value the farmers they work with:
“They [the farmers] are the foundation of what we consider to be the most important element of our company. This is very much a symbiotic relationship. We rely on one another and we intend to uphold our end of the bargain with every coffee we purchase. We have learned that quality-driven pricing is the key to sustainability.
It is our goal to reward those who commit to quality by paying a premium price for the coffee they produce. We look for stewards of the environment and people who care about other people. Sustainability is multi-faceted and we truly believe that good people do good things. At Portola, those are the producers we want to do business with – and we do.”
I am no coffee connoisseur, but even I know that where the beans come from and how they are roasted are potentially the most important factors in creating an unmatched cup of coffee. The more I learn about coffee, the more I realize there are only two motivators behind starting a coffee shop: 1. To make money or 2. To celebrate a deep love for coffee and attempt to honor that love by producing the best coffee possible.
Which one motivates Portola Coffee Roasters is undeniable. I find myself as often as possible trying to support businesses, like Portola Coffee Roasters, who maintain such commendable values. How admirable is it that they look at their business first and foremost as a relationship? A relationship with their farmers, their ingredients, their employees and their customers.
Portola Coffee Roasters: The Atmosphere
Walking into any one of Portola Coffee Roaster’s locations, their passion and energy is something you can tangibly feel. Interacting with the baristas I don’t feel like customer 2,135 of the day…I feel like the customer they cannot wait to explain the latest coffee beans to or how all of their syrups are house-made or how their mocha is created from real Belgian chocolate.
Almost every time I visit I learn some new seemingly minuscule element about their operations that leaves me stunned by their intentionality. As someone who is a huge stickler for tiny details, I am in heaven feeling the precision that goes behind every aspect of Portola Coffee Roasters. Everything from the cups to the lighting to the painting on the walls feels thought-out and chosen for a specific reason. It is this incredible attention to detail that wraps me in comfort as I sip my coffee in one of their chairs and calls me back again and again.
Their commitment to quality rather than quantity is the cornerstone of their success. I was driven to share their story because Portola Coffee Roasters is so much more than just another coffee shop. They are creators, experimenters, investors, discoverers and their story inspires me to put quality first in everything I do.
Well…I’ve finished my vanilla soy latte and vegan pumpkin muffin (oh yeah, they have vegan and gluten-free options) so I guess it’s time to start my real job now….but, maybe after one more latte…