The tide of quality coffee is rising rapidly in the coastal Oregon town of Rockaway Beach with the recent opening of Rockaway Roastery.
The shop is notably co-founded by Alliance for Coffee Excellence Executive Director Darrin Daniel, who helped devise the coffee program in between criss-crossing the globe to represent the renowned Cup of Excellence competition and auction program.
Within the spacious establishment just one block off the beach and within walking distance of the train station, Rockaway Roastery is offering a variety of blends and single-origin offerings from Portland’s Stumptown Coffee Roasters, where Daniel was formerly the green coffee buyer. The shop plans to also introduce coffees from its own house roasting operation, including some beans sourced through Cup of Excellence connections.
“As [a] former buyer at Stumptown, we are very aware of the quality that goes into their purchasing,” Daniel recently told Daily Coffee News. “We especially are excited to feature Hair Bender as our espresso offering, as well as their House Blend and other single origin offerings on brew, as we pepper in our own roasted offerings for hand brewing or batch brewing.”
The family business is co-founded by Daniel and his married partner Maria Bernhard, a finance and real estate professional. The couple’s kids will pitch in on a seasonal basis, as well, Daniel said.
Rounding out the Rockaway Roastery ownership team is a couple of longtime friends of Bernhard’s, musician Julian Sakata and tech-oriented music and branding entrepreneur Cosmo Jones. Live music and other performances will be hosted in the space that includes a stage platform surrounded by an arch of glass tile in the brand colors of red and black.
“This Rockaway Roastery project is a labor of love, and a project that all of our partners see as a team effort to build a central location for both tourists and the local community here,” Daniel told DCN via email from Korea ahead of a trip to Indonesia for CoE events.
A red brick wall behind the stage features a neon logo and artificial fireplace that is flanked by red mid century modern lounge chairs. Wood structural pillars and beams, combined with other surfaces made from 250-year-old cedar add more warmth to the space.
Beyond coffee and espresso drinks, the shop offers baked goods from nearby Cannon Beach Bakery along with house-made biscuit sandwiches, flatbreads and pizzas. Under the name Brewster’s Lounge, the bar also features a selection of craft beer, cider and wine, the latter soon to focus on natural wines.
“We’d love to see additional locations down the road, but our primary goal is to really produce excellent food and coffee/beverage service at the highest level we can do,” said Daniel. “We want to foster community events such as music, poetry, open mic nights and other community meetings. We may even host the high school prom.”
The company also plans to incorporate roasting at the Rockaway Beach in the future. For now, roasting will occur offsite in a facility in Portland, approximately two hours due east by car.
“We really want to leverage any and all direct trade relationships, which will include Cup of Excellence and other special coffees,” said Daniel. “We do plan on retailing our own roasted coffee, and we certainly are interested in online sales and subscription, and are already in discussions for other wholesale clients in the North Coast area. We want to take baby steps in our growth to essentially ‘get it right’ as we grow into this great local community here in Tillamook County.”
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Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.