Dolcezza + Stumptown: A New Partnership

We’ve been itching to share this news for months, and it’s finally time. Stumptown Coffee Roasters, our dedicated coffee suppliers, have now become our roomies. Our relationship has always been a special one, but recently Stumptown decided on the Dolcezza Gelato Factory & Coffee Lab as their D.C. home base.  Through a series of small miracles, an empty plumbing-ready production bay in the factory became Stumptown’s training lab instead of an additional row of gelato machines. This partnership has been in the making for over a decade, and Robb was gracious enough to tell us the story of how it came to be.  Stumptown Training Lab Dolcezza Our history with Stumptown goes back a ways, both far and deep. It came at a moment in time when there was a confluence of sorts, lots of personal transition and intersection. I moved to Portland, Oregon from San Francisco, California in 1998 after a monumental snowboarding trip to Mt. Bachelor in Bend, OR. I packed up a small UHAUL truck and drove north on a mountainous green road trip. I had just returned from Iquitos, Peru in the Amazon jungle where I had stayed with a shaman, Francisco Montes Shuna at his Botanical Garden, Sachamama for 10 days and had partaken in 3 ayahuasca ceremonies, with him and one other female shaman. It was the first time on breaking through. Now, I had been to far out places in my life, a youth of psychedelic explorations had somewhat familiarized me with the territory, but this first experience with ayahuasca re-defined it all for me. I went through the classical ego-death experience, to go so far out that you feel you will never come back is a blissful experience, blissful being defined as running the razor edge between the ecstatic and the terrifying, all the while being guided by the hauntingly visual icaro songs that both shamans sung through the night. Francisco was one of the plant collectors for the late Terence Mckenna and his brother Dennis, both brilliant and brave explorers, whom I was familiar with via their books. I would later come to be-friend Dennis and meet up with him at the first US ayahuasca conference in San Francisco in 2000 and then later at 2 ayahuasca conferences in the Brazilian amazon jungle outside of Manaus. Stumptown Training Lab Dolcezza So, after this enlightening, ego-death trip, I found myself moving into a small house on Upper Division Street in South East Portland with my brother and his lunatic girlfriend, Serenade whom had just returned from a failed Alaskan go-live-in-the-bush-connect-with-mother-nature experience. The house we moved into was right up the street from where Stumptown would eventually open their first coffee shop. I’ll never forget my first experience at Stumptown. On a less intense degree, but in the same vein, that first experience paralleled the jungle experience with the other plant, one plant(s) being the components of ayahuasca and the other being coffee. It was a paradigm shifter and changed how I approached coffee. Every detail of the experience was taken into account, the machine, the music, the pastries and obviously the coffee. The espresso, creamy, sweet, bitter, bright, chocolate all unfolded on my tongue and blew my fucking coffee train off the tracks. It was as if I had never drunk coffee before and had come upon it for the first time. Fast forward to 2004 when we opened our first little shop in Georgetown. Violeta and I flew to Portland to have a cupping with Stumptown, with the hopes of serving their beans on the east coast. I remember we had been coffee-free for a while and started to prep by drinking coffee again. The cupping was overwhelming and somewhat confusing, so many notes being described and we were only picking up coffee, lots of it. We now have a much better appreciation what it means to cup coffee and now perceive all the mind-blowing subtleties from bean to bean and country to country. So, we tried to bring Stumptown to the East coast in 2004 but failed, the only way was if we could get the beans 2 days off the roast and the result would have been paying more for shipping than for the coffee beans. That started our affair with Counter Culture Coffee, Intelligentsia, Verve, Mapcap and the likes. Stumptown Training Lab Dolcezza We ran the multi-roaster program for almost a decade, but when the time came for designing and building our factory, we wanted a place for a proper coffee training and education program, hence; the idea for the coffee lab was born. With the upcoming coffee lab, we re-visited our coffee program and had a meeting with the Stumptown folks to discuss partnering up and us buy their beans and equipment and them to assist us in the training and technical support. We have done that and they now run a satellite coffee lab in our factory, boosting our program beyond where we could take it, they are the buyer and roaster of the coffee beans and have been down that rabbit hole deeper than we could go. We master gelato and make it from top to bottom, not so with the coffee. So, the whole relationshiop and beginnings of Stumptown has a deep and resonant story, as everything else seems to have, I see this depth and connection running through our company like fat in meat, it’s seems to be the way with whatever it is we find ourself doing, from building a team, opening a shop, serving a coffee or spinning gelato and the relationship with Stumptown has come full circle.