Portola Coffee Lab Expands in 2015
Award-Winning Craft Coffeehouse Opens New Orange County Locations with Its Innovative Model & Sustainable Sourcing
On the heels of being named 2015 Micro Roaster of the Year, Portola Coffee Lab has announced that it will open four new Orange County locations in 2015, with the first three opened in February. At each of the four new locations, Portola Coffee Lab Owners Jeff and Christa Duggan will focus on creating a 100% single-cup craft brew coffeehouse designed and constructed as a nod to craft, quality, and freshness.
Following is an overview of the projects set to open in 2015:
Portola Coffee Lab Union Market, The District at Tustin Legacy just opened
Portola Coffee Lab 4th Street Market, Downtown Santa Ana Artists Village April, 2015
Portola Coffee Lab Provisions Market, Old Towne Orange Late-April 2015
Portola Coffee Lab Union Market, Kaleidoscope Center in Mission Viejo Summer 2015
“When we opened, achieving quality meant slowing down and focusing on ingredients. Today, we are fortunate that, thanks to technology and technique, the line between speed and quality is starting to blur, making it possible for us to extend our reach in the region,” explained Jeff Duggan, who, with his wife Christa, opened the flagship Portola Coffee Lab location in Costa Mesa in 2011 and brought a never-before-seen concept and style of coffee to Orange County. “Now, four years later, we have gained enough momentum and a significant enough following to support our expansion to three unique spaces that all reflect and support the pioneering spirit that has fueled our growth. Still, for us at Portola, speed will never trump quality our coffee is a craft beverage.”
SOURCING & SUSTAINABILITY
Portola Coffee Lab prides itself on having access to some of the highest quality coffee beans in the world. Owner/Roaster Jeff Duggan has achieved an astonishingly robust direct trade coffee program in record time. While it usually takes a coffee company several years to establish direct trade relationships to start sourcing coffee at origin, Portola was able to do it within two years.
“While we have gained access to some of the best coffees in the world, the fact of the matter is our work will never be done. However, with greater buying power, we will be able to source and support the producers in ways we were unable to prior based on the small quantities we were purchasing,” added Duggan. “With more stores, we will not only see more unique coffees, but coffees from regions we have not directly purchased from before.”
To focus on sustainable outreach, Portola Coffee Lab has special interest projects at the farm level in several countries with a goal to expand this effort to every country with which it has farmer relationships. “We have spent thousands of dollars and countless hours supporting farmers in improving the quality of their coffee to generate higher prices – which is the key to sustainability in the coffee industry,” continued Duggan. “Immunity to commodity market fluctuations is only attainable through quality. Our growth will give us more resources to continue our efforts in more countries.”
2015 MICRO ROASTER OF THE YEAR
In an annual competition held by Roast Magazine to honor the industry’s most talented specialty coffee roasters around the world, Portola Coffee Lab was named 2015 Micro Roaster of the Year.
For the Micro Roaster of the Year award, Portola was evaluated on its company mission; company’s commitment to sustainable practices; quality of coffee; commitment to employees and educational practices; commitment to and Involvement in the industry; and innovations in roasting, marketing and business practices. The competition focuses on small-scale roasters producing less than 100,000 pounds of coffee annually. After being selected as a finalist, Portola Coffee lab was asked to submit three unique roasted coffee samples to be judged on aroma, color, imperfections, bean size and a clean cup. The finalists’ coffees were then blindly judged by three separate professional tasting committees, who ultimately named Portola Coffee Lab as 2015 Micro Roaster of the Year.
2015 US BARISTA COMPETITION
Portola Coffee Lab was honored to have been tapped to be a host for the past two Big Western Barista Competitions, qualifying competitions for the US Barista Championship. The Big Western Barista Competitions were held in February and October of 2014 and are a combination of the Northwest and Southwest regions of the U.S. – arguably the toughest to compete in. Portola’s very own Jon Paul Doerr was recently awarded one of the six finalists positions to move on to the national competition for the 2015 US Barista Championship. The United States Barista Championship is presented under the watchful eye of the Specialty Coffee Association of America and the Barista Guild of America to serve as a platform for baristas to enhance their espresso beverage making skills through an exciting and challenging competition. This event will take place in Long Beach, California on February 19-22, 2015.
ABOUT PORTOLA COFFEE LAB
What began as the selfish pursuit for delicious coffee turned into a decade-long fanatic passion for home-roasting coffee for Jeff Duggan, who first opened Portola Handcrafted Coffee Roasters in Irvine in 2009. Using a very small batch roaster, Jeff worked feverishly to keep the pantries and hoppers full in many homes and food establishments throughout Orange County, but roasting meticulously sourced coffee beans and serving them ultra-fresh was not enough. He found that far too many great beans were destroyed at the hands of poor equipment, flawed technique, and coffee service dispensers. With a focus on quality ingredients, brewing science and freshness – all still relatively uncommon in the industry – Jeff and his wife, Christa, created Portola Coffee Lab in 2011. The goal was to create a quality-centric coffeehouse that re-focused on the most important ingredient coffee.
Within a year of bringing a never-before-seen concept and style of coffee to Orange County, Portola Coffee Lab began creating a distinct brand that revolves around producing an artisanal culinary product, Craft Coffee.
In 2015, Jeff and Christa Duggan plan on expanding to five locations within Orange County. Their focus will remain on empowering the community with quality, traceable, fresh-roasted and fresh-brewed coffee, presented in an artful context one cup at a time.
For more information, please visit http://www.portolacoffeelab.com.