Sometimes good stories don’t begin with one specific incident, but rather a series of culminating events that lead to a result. Much like if you threw a stick in a river and allowed it to flow freely, so begins the tale of Still Vibrato. It was 2008; Clint Rowan was attending college in Denton, Texas and started working as a barista for a local coffee roaster. Like most of us, he was allured by the freedom and expression that was represented by café culture. His passion grew the more he learned about different roasting styles, shaping taste through extraction, and the beauty of single origin coffees.
After graduating college, Clint decided to dive deep into the world of coffee. (What else would you do with a degree?) He purchased a small home roaster, packed up the car, and moved from Denton to Portland, Oregon. Living in a studio apartment, roasting with the kitchen window cracked, and working various barista gigs to gain experience. In 2012 Clint landed a job working for Extracto Coffee Roasters. It was there that he found a wealth of knowledge. They taught him the roots of coffee in the pacific northwest and the multitude of approaches to taste that can be explored by understanding the play between roast, terroir, and extraction.
Fast forward a few years of steadfast learning, and you’ll find the beginnings of Still Vibrato. At this point Clint had acquired his next roaster, a 2 barrel Joper sample roaster, which is still used regularly to roast coffee samples that we receive from our importers. In these beginning stages it was friends and family that kept him roasting by placing orders online and signing up for Still Vibrato’s monthly coffee subscription. Feeling restless and ready to take another leap, Clint decided to move to Bend, OR to be closer to family and ponder the idea of how and where he wanted to lay the foundation for Still Vibrato.
One step closer to his dream and in desperate need of a bigger roaster, Clint found a deal on Craigslist. Located in Sacramento, CA was a 6lb San Franciscan roaster that was ideal for Still Vibrato over the next few years. So he did what any normal person would do; borrowed his brothers van, drove south, and bought it, landing back in Bend to roast in his parents garage for the next couple of years.
It didn’t take long for the perfect roasting space to practically fall from the sky.
While working as a barista at Palate Coffee, Clint networked with many coffee lovers, local business owners, and supporters of entrepreneurial endeavors alike. Across the street, the new Project Bike location was opening for business, and they happened to have an empty area in the back of their warehouse.
The guys at the bike shop were friends of his brothers and practically made their entire business plan perched at Palate. They knew Clint was a roaster and offered the space to him. For a new business the rent was quite steep, but luckily Clint had already made plans of finding a roasting space with a previous co-worker that he met through the ever supportive Palate. Together with R.C Gartrell, a local chocolate maker who runs Seahorse Chocolate, they leased the space, setting the stage for them to create a custom roastery to build their businesses.
Months later the roastery has opened! People are welcome inside where they can view the roasting operations as well as buy beans, chocolate bars, enjoy a cup of coffee or taste various single origin chocolates.
Thanks for following along on a brief history of Still Vibrato. Stay tuned for news and updates on our soon to open café inside The Humble Beet!