About Rocky Butte Coffee Roasters
In our kitchen at the base of Rocky Butte, an often-overlooked neighborhood of Northeast Portland, we were experimenting to brew our perfect cup of coffee. Not satisfied with options on the grocery store shelf, we began sourcing coffee beans from around the world and roasting with a small batch roaster in our garage. As it turns out, the coffee wasn't just our favorite—our friends and family loved it too! What started as a hobby blossomed into a business as we began taking orders and delivering to our neighbors.
As community “instigators,” we saw the hidden beauty in our neighborhood and desired to connect locally. We befriended our neighbors, hosted block parties, and invited people to join us in volunteering. With our early profit, we were able to give seed money to help launch Rocky Butte Farmers’ Market. Where once there was isolation, a community was quickly forming in Rocky Butte!
As orders increased, our daughter Lily began roasting, delivering, and serving coffee at farmers' markets. Nathan Dunbar became a co-owner to provide sound financial guidance. Bryan Atkinson, real estate agent and podcast host and writer of Parkrose Life, became a co-owner to lead sales and marketing. In 2019, we placed at the Cascadia Roaster's Competition above several established Pacific Northwest roasters.
We launched Rocky Butte Espresso Bar in 2020, embracing #coffeeforplace with the hope of making new friends along the way. How much the neighborhood embraces our small espresso bar brings us joy, and we look forward to growing into the space further. We plan to develop a full-fledged community space and open more coffee shops in neglected neighborhoods.
We provide ethically-sourced specialty beans to coffee enthusiasts and businesses in Portland and community-minded people around the US. Our home subscribers receive freshly roasted coffee at their front door before they run out. We invite you to become part of our story as we grow from our garage roaster and coffee stand to operating our own roasting facility and new coffee shops, places for our neighbors to connect and enjoy their best cup of coffee.
~ James & Sheryl Helms