By now, you probably know that we proudly serve Stumptown Coffee. But, it's so much more than that. We don't just pour their coffee...we heart them. Like, a lot. They have given us guidance, training and support since HubBub's humble beginnings and we'll never ever get over how much that means to us. But how did this coffee romance all begin?
On July 1, 2009 our founder, Drew Crockett, sent off an email that started like this:
How are you? I am starting a coffee company in Philadelphia and am looking for a great wholesaler. I know Stumptown's coffee from my travels to the west coast and have always loved it. When I stumbled upon Stumpy's being sold at Ninth Street Coffee in the East village a few months ago, to say I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement. I have since heard that you guys are setting up shop in New York, and was hoping to build a relationship with Stumptown for my business.
Drew had been reading a book called God In A Cup, part of which tells the story of folks from the big three players in "3rd wave coffee" - Stumptown, Intelligentsia, and Counter Culture, going on a coffee buying trip together. This was before HubBub was anything more than a seed germinating in Drew's dreams, but he knew he wanted to work with Stumptown and this book sealed the deal. Their philosophy really resonated with him: if we embrace everything upstream from us on the coffee chain, it will benefit everyone, not only raising standards of living for farmers but also producing a better product to hand to our customers.
Duane Sorenson, the recipient of that email is the founder of Stumptown Coffee. Duane has good deal of stature in the coffee world...what we mean is, he's kind of a rock star (see a fun article in Bon Appetit about him here). Drew's email was sent when Stumptown was only serving the Pacific Northwest, before their roastery opened in Brooklyn. But, still, it was a pretty big deal when he wrote Drew right back:
good to hr from you. yeah, we set up a roastry and training facility in NY. we'd be happy to work with you. ill have my right hand man, Rich, send ya a price list. we also can advise and provide most of yer equipment....
Soon after that exchange, Drew and one of his brothers took a trip up to the newly-opened Brooklyn roastery, and spent the day hanging with Jules Manoogian, Stumptown's then head trainer. Drew had an eye-opening moment, realizing that while the customer experience is the most visible part of the whole coffee chain, there's just so much that happens in the life of coffee before it even gets to your door.
Duane made good on his offer regarding equipment. On a super hot day that August, Eric Majka, Stumptown's head coffee tech, met Drew in Jersey where the HubBub truck was being retrofitted, and set the whole espresso station up and figured out how to bolt it down so it was totally secure and stable.
On HubBub's first day open for business, Duane and everybody from the Brooklyn Stumptown all came down. Yeah, HubBub was just this little truck on a street corner but here they all were, giving their votes of confidence and support as their first outpost in Philadelphia. Whether anyone else knew who they were or that they were here, it didn’t matter. For us, it was awesome to have them with us every step of the way.
Our love affair continues today. We're still in close contact and people from the Stumptown crew occasionally come down to train the HubBub staff. We visit them too: one day last July, Drew closed the Center City shop and took everyone up to Brooklyn to check out the roastery, talk to the roasters, and see their amazing production facility. The goal is to have everyone who is part of HubBub understand as much as they can about how everything in the coffee buying and selling chain works - that it's so much more than grinding beans and pulling shots. Because if you understand how much effort and love has gone into procuring our coffee, it opens up whole new levels of appreciation; it gives your experience depth, richness, and meaning.