There’s nothing better than waking up to a clear, cool Central Oregon morning than with a steaming hot cup of locally roasted coffee. The high desert has had its foot in the door with local coffee for decades, and experienced the roaster boom in the early 2000s, with many of the original roasteries still standing today. Backporch Coffee Roasters, Sisters Coffee and Junction Roastery (being the most recent) are three Central Oregon coffee roasters with unique histories, built around community and great coffee. They have settled into the high desert roasting scene over the decades, beginning in the late eighties to 2022.
When it comes to serving up coffee in the high desert, local roasters do it best; they know the climate, and spend hours of time and dedication serving the community with each mug, to-go cup or demitasse (a fancy word for an espresso cup). The geography of Central Oregon makes for a unique place to roast coffee. Dave Beach, CEO and founder of Backporch Coffee, said that roasting at a higher elevation and in a desert climate changes the way coffee roasts as well as how it needs to be stored. Due to thinner oxygen levels and less moisture, coffee roasted in the region roasts faster than at lower altitude. Time the roasting process just right, and it leads to some excellent coffee.
Coffees Roasted to Perfection in Redmond, Sisters and Bend
In Central Oregon, roasters import their beans from around the world, and bring them to roasting perfection in the arid, dry climate of Bend, Redmond, Sisters and surrounding towns. As these roasters search for high-quality beans, Central Oregonians can enjoy an espresso or dark roast just down the road. Mitch Thisius, co-owner and primary coffee roaster at Junction Roastery, said that they mainly work with Colombian, Ethiopian, Papua New Guinean and Brazilian beans. At Sisters Coffee Company, head roaster Bubba Abbajay said they have strong relationships with farms in Rwanda, Guatemala, Brazil and Papua New Guinea to source their coffee beans. Beach with Backporch Coffee said they source their raw, green coffee beans from all over the globe, but their popular single origin roasts come from Ethiopia.
While local roasters may source from some of the same countries, the experience and style of each roaster can lead to vastly different blends which gives coffee drinkers a reason to try each and every blend. Thisius said that other than having high-quality beans, the process is up to the roaster’s style. “I like to roast in a way that allows the natural sugars to caramelize,” he said. This gives the beans a rich, smooth, sweet nutty flavor while still preserving the original flavor of the beans. Aside from the roasting process, Junction Roastery’s cafe is located in the Patrick Building—Redmond’s original hospital—giving the environment another edge to its character. Thisius hopes for Junction Roastery to be a place that brings all Central Oregon communities together through coffee, food and friendship; their mission is to be the social junction of the region. Junction’s Railroad Spike blend is a medium-to-dark roast with full-body flavor; featuring notes of dry cherry and dark cocoa. Experience it at their cafe in Redmond, located on Southwest Deschutes Avenue.
In their newly built facility across town from the original location on Hood Avenue, Sisters Coffee takes the roasting process to passionate heights. Consistency is key for Sisters Coffee which was founded in 1989. The dedication to the pursuit of consistent quality is important to Sisters Coffee. “For our staple blends, we work tirelessly to ensure our roasts match the flavor profile our customers have grown to love,” Abbajay said. As for their single-origin coffees, Abbajay said they endeavor to find a roast for each coffee that both exemplifies the innate qualities it possesses while still adding sweetness through caramelization in the roasting process. When visiting Sisters, try Sisters Coffee’s flagship roast, the Black Butte Gold blend. Abbajay said he notices notes of dark chocolate, roasted almonds, clove and even pipe tobacco. This moody roast is perfect for an early morning walk.
Beach, a 19-year veteran roaster and a mentee of Alfred Peet of Peet’s Coffee, is heavily involved in the roasting process at Backporch, and creates all their coffee recipes. He said the most important part of the roasting process is proper heat application at the right time. “You have to know how each coffee will react to varying temperature applications and what that will do to the flavor of the coffee when it is finished.” Next time you head to one of their four cafes in town, be sure to try their Backporch Blend. With notes of citrus, dark chocolate and berries, it makes for a great pour over before you start your day.
More Coffee Roasters in Central Oregon
Looking for more carefully sourced and expertly roasted coffees in the region? Thump Coffee has three locations in Bend. There, find sustainably sourced coffees and from-scratch pastries including flaky croissants. After opening in 2009, Lone Pine in downtown Bend became a steadfast staple of the Central Oregon coffee roasting scene. For those looking to venture out in the later hours, Lone Pine also has apero hours from 5pm-8pm. Megaphone Coffee Co. spreads the joy of their local roasts throughout Central Oregon. Looking for a midday caffeine kick? Find their coffee at El Sancho and Boss Rambler in Bend or Sweet Spot in La Pine. Brewed Awakenings in Sunriver is the perfect stopover (to and from) an adventure on the river.
More inspiring stories, adventures, and tips & tricks for planning and experiencing the best Central Oregon has to offer.
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