Coffee Sojourn in the American Northwest: Seattle, WA - Part 5 (I-5 to Seattle, Dillanos & Atlas

After concluding the two day workshop, we cleaned and packed up the samples, saying goodbye to the folks from Sustainable, and headed out for another night in Portland; making a quick pass through Powell’s Used Books, and into a cafe on 11th street, where we spent the evening retelling the stories from the presentation, from this past harvest, and hearing others from old friends about life in Portland. 

The following morning would be an early wake up call, for 6:30 breakfast, and 7:00 departure, quickly past Sustainable to drop off a sample and say a final thank you and goodbye. We quickly redirected to Water Avenue, for a Rwandan black coffee and pastry, leaving a sample with Brandon, before locking in our track northbound, up I-5 to the Emerald City. 

Our objective was two-fold, Dillanos & Atlas. 

 

Dillanos Coffee Roasters

We pulled into the Dillanos parking lot, sometime before noon, meaning that ourselves and good friend Phil Beattie were feeling the influence of our hunger. Hopping back in the car, we made a quick run to a neighborhood pizza place, and listened to Phil talk about some incredible things he’d experience recently in Ethiopia; which got our minds rolling about eastern Africa. 

Phil had planned out a short presentation for his staff, giving them a chance to meet one of their producers, and to allow Emilio to give an introduction to the El Manzano Project, and production in El Salvador; so we took our food to go and skipped back to the Roastery to set up the projector and computers. 

The presentation went really well, and we got a lot of good feedback and excited faces from their staff, from roasters to packagers and graphic designers. 

After finishing our conversations, we sat down to pizza, enjoying custom ordered pepperoni and olive oil/some kind of basil pizza, still catching up with Phil and hearing about changes over the past year. 

We grabbed our cameras and followed Phil into the Roastery, where he gave us a tour of the fascilities and operation. Dillanos was Roast Magazines’ ‘2011 Roaster of the Year,’ and within the first few minutes of the tour one could begin to see why. 

We spent a few hours walking and talking with Phil, making stops within their lab to sample Sumatra and Rwandan coffees they’d purchased for the year.  By then it was late afternoon, and we needed to get back on the road; but very glad to have been able to tour the operation, and get an insight into and appreciation for where some of the coffee we are producing is going. 

 

Atlas Importers

He hopped back on northbound I-5, and could soon spot the Seattle skyline through the windshield; then driver side window as we passed by and into north Seattle, parking beside the offices of Atlas. 

Knocking at the front door, we were soon introduced to their staff, before heading downstairs into their lab and cupping room. It would be a short visit to the office, as this was not Cuatro M’s first visit, however it was not shy of warm conversation about probat sample roasters and experimentation, logistical export/import planning, and Rwandan coffee, prepared by Chris in the Chemex. 

We said our goodbyes, and thanked them for receiving us, before heading out to the cars and mapping out our route to a local restaurant, where we could sit and talk more comfortably. 

In the process of planning out a trip that includes El Salvador, we talked a bit about their stay at El Manzano, and about our excitement for the opportunity to host them. By 8:00, it was about time to get back on the road, in order to make it home to Portland before we fell asleep. 

Thankfully, the road was good to us, gas-stations appeared like guardian angels had placed them there, and McDonalds was still open. With full stomachs and McFlurries, we made the final stretch, directly to our beds and into dreams of good morning and SanFrancisco.