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Finding That Special Coffee in Corvallis

This article originally appeared on the Visit Corvallis website

By Dan Shryock

There’s routine and then there’s special. When it comes to coffee, Collin Schneider, of Tried and True Coffee Company, and Paul Tostberg, of Coffee Culture, say they’ve got something very special.

Schneider and Tostberg are local coffee roasters acutely focused on specialty coffee, premium beans grown in specific climates around the world that deliver unique flavors. Much like wine grapes, where and how coffee is grown, prepared and roasted make a big difference in what you taste in a cup.

Their Corvallis coffee shops are dedicated to roasting and serving select coffees from around the world. And, if you ask, they’ll help you understand the difference between a Guatemalan, a Costa Rican and an Ethiopian coffee.

“You can go to XYZ large coffee company and have an expectation of what your drink is going to be like,” says Schneider, who owns Bespoken Coffee Roasters and the Tried and True coffee shops. “We want to fulfill that same expectation but elevate it. For us, that means quietly serving a better product. And, hopefully, the coffee itself will get you to ask the question. Why is this different? Why is this tasting better?”

Walk into Schneider’s Tried & True shop just off First Street downtown and you’ll realize he’s only interested in selling his coffee, not his corporate brand. And while most of his customers are local regulars, he notices visitors who come in looking for something special. They’ve sought out his shop.

“I’d wager most people from out of town who come here found us because of the type of shop this is,” he says, leafing through “Where To Drink Coffee,” a 348-page guide listing specialty coffee shops around the world. “There’s an inner circle of coffee people who know which coffee friend to ask if they are coming here. They have their criteria and thankfully we fall into that.”

Across town, a customer walks into Coffee Culture on Kings Boulevard and orders a double espresso. No milk, no flavors, just extracted coffee. This may be an unusual order at a big brand coffee shop, but not here.

“We see quite a bit of that,” says Tostberg, owner of Holderness Coffee Roasters and its Coffee Culture shops. “I think (customer) awareness is probably good here. There’s an awareness of what we offer. We’re always featuring some coffee we just got. And, we do a lot of sampling, so people are asking and ordering.”

Tostberg has watched the growth of specialty coffee in Corvallis for 27 years. He opened his first coffee kiosk in 1992 and has since grown his business to include the roastery and four locations across town. He says the international nature of the Corvallis-Oregon State community brings with it more sophisticated coffee drinkers.

“When somebody is able to try a high-quality single origin or even a (coffee) blend, something that’s really stellar, it opens their mind to what else is going on here,” Tostberg says. “They’ve never tasted anything like this before, so it opens up a conversation.”



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