Profile: Kobos Coffee

in Buying Coffee

I have a personal connection with Kobos Coffee of Portland, Oregon.  I spent a weekend in Portland while deciding whether or not I wanted to move here.  I arrived late one night, and checked in at the Marriott downtown.  I was so excited for the following day’s coffee adventure, that I pushed the vacuum-sealed stuff in my hotel room to the side and took to the streets of Portland.  The closest cafe to the Marriott?…the SW Market Street location of Kobos Coffee.  My first cup of coffee in Portland!

Production Manager Kevin Dibble invited me for a tour of Kobos’ roasting facility on NW Vaughn.

Founded in 1973 by David and Susan Kobos, it is not only older than both Kevin and I, it is a pioneer and stalwart of the coffee scene in Portland.  Only one other roaster has been at it longer.  The result is that their wholesale relationships in the area are entrenched, and the loyalty of their customers speaks volumes.  Kobos has seen so many trends come and go, that Kevin laughed about a 30-year old picture they have of a pourover coffee maker, before it became fashionable to make coffee in this way.

In fact, Kobos unseated Starbucks at every coffee outlet in the Oregon Health and Science University, whose campus as Portland residents know, is virtually a city within a city.  It reminded me of a similar victory of Old Soul in Sacramento, CA who at the mayor’s request, bought and made a success of a closed Starbucks location.

Read: Profile Sacramento’s Old Soul Roastery and Bakery

It’s very telling when a company has been such a directing force in a local market for as long as Kobos.  In short, it means they’re doing something right.  In the world of coffee, it means they’re making good coffee.  In the Portland coffee market, it means they’re making exceptional coffee.  I took home a half-pound of Organic Peruvian coffee that I’m enjoying as I type this.

Lots of unroasted green coffee from around the world.

 

The original Kobos roaster, still operational, and on-hand when the capacity is needed.

 

Kobos' 160-pound roaster. Here, the beans have finished roasting and are in their cooling stage. Without this stage, the heat generated in each bean would continue to roast and burn it.

 

Not a jar of beans, it's a jar of stones extracted from the coffee after it arrives at Kobos so that you don't find it in your bag of coffee.

 

A mini roaster for sampling batches of new coffee so that Kobos can determine whether they want to sell it, and how they will set its roaster settings for it.
 
A special thanks to Kevin and the Kobos coffee team! A great and informative tour.

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