Columbia River Roasters is an awesome local business here in Astoria. They roast several different blends of coffee — Thundermuck, Yes, Clatsop Spit, and World Peace to name a few. Shortly after I got off the boats, their operation moved into the old Finnish Meat Market directly under the Astoria Megler Bridge in Union Town. The space is amazing, with the roaster nestled directly behind the coffee counter with light from large windows filling the large, open building.
The coffee shop, Three Cups Coffee, is a must stop when you come to town — epic coffee (pre-starbucks-torrefazione epic), wonderfully nice people (thanks Leah and Carly!), and great baked goods. Oh, and did I mention that they ring a bell every time a boat passes? Yes. They may not even know this, but the first day I met The Gentleman I stopped in for coffee — I was so unbelievably nervous and the gals talked me off the ledge — I probably would have turned around and headed home if it hadn’t been for them. I took The Gentleman there the first time he came to Astoria, and I spilled an entire cubano down the front of me when we walked out the door. So on our first beach trip, I was wearing a sweatshirt covered in the best steamed milk, double espresso and turbinado sugar a girl can ask for — and he stuck around despite this.
We have been drinking Columbia River Roaster’s Fishers and Fallers blend for over two years, every morning. This coffee always reminds me of the first times I ever drank coffee — half full cups at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, at their wooden table, on foggy mornings with echoes of elk visible in the mist tucked into the forest. This is the kind of coffee that you drink everyday, that fills thermos for break time, that you take a last pull of before you grab your keys and go to work, that warms you up after working outside or making things with your hands, or doing what you do to take care of your family. My Grandma was a nurse, my Grandfather worked bridge crew and my Great-Grandpa was a baker. My Grandparents built their house, raised kids and animals and gardens and worked hard, and they drank coffee each and every morning. The description of Fishers and Fallers sums it up: “Dedicated to the working class, to Mom and Pop, to loggers and crabbers, to whistle punks and deck hands. To anyone who’s ever set chokers in hell-holes or pulled pots on rough seas.” Perfectly dedicated.
Yesterday, we ran out of coffee. A terrible situation in our household. Completely out. And The Gentleman came home last night with a different blend of coffee.
Wait, what?! Fisher and Fallers was a part of our wedding favors! It’s been with us pretty much since there was an us! Why does change sometimes feel like this (crazy, adulterous, bittersweet)? Okay, okay. I am exaggerating. I love coffee. I love lots of different roasts and origins and blah blah blah — I can play the coffee game better than I play the wine game — and I love changing things seasonally (usually it’s whether I’m drinking it black or with cream) — so bring home a new coffee blend to try?! I’m in. There was something about seeing Fisher and Fallers on the bag each morning that made me smile. But let’s be honest, coffee makes me smile.
So … Saddle Mountain. I’m drinking it as I type. It’s bright and earthy, there’s a greenness to it, a depth and richness to it. “Especially good when steaming from a thermos on early chill mornings: Berry-picking, mushroom-gathering, or just stopping to rest the dogs.” Sounds like us.
Here’s my Saddle Mountain story: it goes, on my third birthday, my parents and I hiked Saddle Mountain. I took three steps, threw myself on the ground yelling “Me legs hurt, me legs hurt” and refused to go any further. My dad hiked the entire trail with me on his shoulders.
I think The Gentleman and I need to hike it this summer.
So, coffee changes. It’s all good. And what makes it great? Cozy, Saturday mornings with quilts and dogs and warm mugs. (And that as soon as I finish this, I am making biscuits, sausage and mushroom gravy and putting a couple of our eggs to good use). And that my local roaster, that makes great coffees with names of local things, dedicated to local places and people and activities, is just on the other side of town. And if Astoria isn’t your town? They have a great website, or go visit your local roaster. Have a beautiful day, lovely people.