Monday, September 26, 2011

Labor Day Weekend: Compassion, Haiti, Coffee

This is so very overdue, it's embarassing! But I spend Labor Day weekend in Portland doing my favorite things, meeting new people, talking about Compassion & Haiti, and drinking stellar coffee and I really wanted to share it with you.

Saturday: Jill  & Coava

After anticipating visiting Coava (koh-vah) for 2 months, I admit I was a little intimidated when I walked in. See, Coava shares a building with a bamboo workshop (the smell of bamboo sawdust and fresh roasted coffee is intoxicating) so they have two counters and some of bamboo furniture on display that made the whole thing feel more like a workshop than a coffee shop.

I wasn't sure exactly what to do, it wasn't a displeasing feel, like I said, it just threw me. And, let's be honest, I'm still new to the world of "third wave" coffee, and always feel a little bit like a putz asking about brew temps, extraction ratios and varietals.

Fortunately, my baristas, Jeremy and Justin, were incredibly kind and willing to hold my hand (figuratively, we had just met, after all) as they each brewed me a lovely cup of coffee, Guatamalen Xeucalvitz (shoo-kahl-veets) and a Honduran bean (the name of which escapes me at this moment) respectively. They were both really interesting (the coffees...though I'm sure the guys were very interesting themselves) but the forgotten Honduran was my favorite. Oh, and I got to see the Kone in action (it's on my Christmas list!).

But the best part was getting to meet Jill  (and her two adorable girls!) from Compassion Family in person. We drank coffee for over an hour, talking about family, Compassion, Too Small to Ignore, and the weird places God takes us. It was a huge blessing getting to talk to such a seasoned Compassion vet and getting to meet a "virtual friend" in real life :) And I got a free compassion cause-band, you're all jealous aren't you?

Jill, I forgot to take a picture!! :(

Sunday: Beaverton Foursquare and Java Nation

After a mind-blowing breakfast at Tin Shed with my cousins, I headed off to Beaverton Foursquare Church, or "B4" as it is known by the locals to talk to Mark, their missions pastor, about Haiti.

I loved Mark. His enthusiasm washed over me as we talked for nearly an hour about their vision for Haiti, Mark's job description, their team dynamics and the logistical processes and the challenges they face during their Haiti trips. Mark concluded the conversation by inviting me to join one of their teams, offering to help work out logistical challenges or train people at my church, and actually calling one of their team leaders (who was on vacation) and giving him my name.

I also loved B4 for many reasons but especially because they really, truly love Haiti.  There's is the kind of missions ministry that excites me, the kind fueled by partnerships rather than benevolence. They've made a three year commitment to supporting Foursquare Haiti in order to equip them for their own mission. They've erected buildings, provided medical care, taught vocational skills, dug wells, and sent missionaries. I talked to Jim, a retired irrigation engineer, one of those awesome hard-working guys who will never really "retire", who designed an entire plumbing system.

But, even more telling, every person I spoke to gave me an email address or phone number, they've got some good people over there at B4.

After spending far too long at the very disappointing Ava Roasteria, though I should say that the balsamic hummus and pretty patio almost made up for the less than enthusiastic barista and the glut of noisy students (bah humbug!), I remembered Java Nation, a stuffy little coffee shop tucked away in a strip mall off of Highway 217 in Beaverton. So, I whiled away the steamy afternoon drinking coffee from Kenya and learning about density and genetics. This was my second trip to Java Nation and I'll definitely be making a third...and fourth...

Monday: Stumptown and home.

I debated making a stop on Monday morning because I was in a hurry to get home but the siren call of Stumptown made me make the 2 mile detour to Belmont. See, I've never been to a Stumptown coffee shop, I've bought Stumptown beans but I've never drank it from the source. The busy little coffee shop was a bit chaotic, so I wasn't inclined to stay. I decided to go for the medicine-bottle/red stripe cold brew and a bag of Gajah Aceh (remember the Gajah Aceh from Broadway Coffee??) rather than rush my coffee experience. And, to be honest, I always feel a little guilty drinking good coffee from a paper cup.

The cold brew left me, well, cold. Sadly, so did Stumptown. I like my coffee shops really chill; I like my baristas friendly and slow. Maybe it is because I'm such a chaotic go-go-go person, but hectic coffee shops and super efficient baristas are a bit of a turnoff.

I realized too late that the real place I wanted to visit was the Annex next door :( So my first Stumptown coffee shop experience was a bit of a bust, but there will be more in the future and, in the mean time, I'm enjoying my beans!

Last but not least, be it ever so humble, there's no place like...

*sigh* I miss Portland.


  1. It was great meeting you, too. I thought about the photo as we were driving home. I guess that means we have to do it again : )

  2. Sounds good to me!

    P.S. I linked up to your blog (again) on my "To Haiti" page for some letter writing tips, I hope that's okay :)