Through his association with his family's old fourth-generation Homestead along Highway 26, Tim Hurd has learned to revere family place as much as family itself. As founder of this company, he considers this to be his own homesteading endeavor.
In July of 1992 Tim and partner Nancy Montgomery opened the simple doors of our beginning in a well-worn outbuilding that they restored for the occasion. The heart of the business was an antique Royal No. 5 coffee roaster, manufactured in New Jersey some time in the 1910’s, which we affectionately named Grendel, the beast from the ancient Scandinavian tale of Beowolf, for all his temperamental smoke and fire. Our success led us to a larger roaster of the same make and vintage, a Royal No. 7, 125-lb batch roaster (Grendel’s Mother). With these we learned well the art of classically hand-roasted coffee, accompanied by a few cherished employees with the same love of the bean.
After five years in business we realized our work could mean more than the provision of work and money and delicious beverage, and that's when we founded and sponsored the opening of the now-former River Theater (it was 10 years running) and became “The Coffee that floats the arts” for this theater initially, and now for many other artistic, educational and social service organizations of this region.
Come 2008, after another decade of coffee and community exploration and growth, we made a huge leap renovating and moving into an historic building in Union Town Astoria, the old Finnish Meat Market -- with the gracious support of Craft3, a nonprofit, community development financial institution with a mission to strengthen economic, ecological and family resilience in Pacific NW communities; and the reliable Rickenbach Construction.
Two new coffee roasters, still American-made (manufactured by Idaho’s Diedrich Coffee Roasters), now do the roasting duties, along with Josh Olson and David Yuill, who operate under Director of Coffee Jon Reimer. Though to this day the new roasters remain nameless, we're grateful be to working with excellent equipment in a beautiful building with the same family of employees, along with some new ones…all loving the smell and taste and chance to share our freshly-roasted coffee.
We celebrated our 20th birthday by bottling up several kegs of Thundermuck Coffee Stout beer made by Fort George Brewery, and gifting it out to our friends and wholesale accounts up and down the coast; and marked our 25th by canning up a few kegs of Buoy Beer's rendition of the same. We love collaboration and community interaction, and believe strongly that one's work should also build one's community. We donate to local organizations like CASA, VOCA, The Foster Club, The Harbor, North Coast Land Conservancy, and more, and also have fundraising opportunities for students willing to work for their endeavors: we'll help, too.
The coffee shop in the front portion of the building is Three Cups Coffee House, a separate business run by Carly and TJ Lackner. This clean, well-lighted place for coffee (and much more) affords a clear alley-view of ship traffic on the Columbia River and a clear interior-view of the roasting and packing floor behind them, with our wholesale offices in the mezzanine above. Three Cups' focus on excellent espresso, fresh baked goods and customer experience has won numerous Daily Astorian Reader's Choice awards over the years, and we're grateful to have them as neighbors, and representing our coffee. Come by and enjoy a cup of freshly roasted coffee or espresso, hot or iced tea or smoothie; bite into a fresh-baked scone, savor a grilled panini, a salad, quiche, and more from their on-site bakery. A great place for just about everything, with spacious tables, couches and counters for gathering or sitting solo. Many an art group, photography class and board meeting has been held here. You can also grab some fresh-roasted beans and other gifts to take with you. Three Cups is open seven days.
Operations Manager Jon Reimer cupping coffee on a trip to El Salvador's Apaneca-Llamatepec Mountains to visit the Menendez family, growers of our direct trade El Salvador coffee.