You have died of dysentery.
No, you didn't! Phew. That was close. But, if you loved playing Oregon Trail as much as we did growing up, you can empathize with the elation of fending off snakebites, broken bones, and any number of deadly diseases to reach the Willamette Valley. Congratulations! You can safely return to your 90's childhood bliss of playing Twister, watching Hey Arnold!, and having the entirety of your mental wellbeing hinge on whether or not the name of your school scrolled across the bottom of the screen of a local newscast on a snowy winter morning.
Also, being scolded for writing run-on sentences.
In January, we camped out in Southern California with our friends at Canyon Coffee. February calls for a jaw-droppingly gorgeous drive north along Highway 101 into Oregon's Rogue Valley. (Truth be told, taking 101 would be a rather inefficient way to get there. But, we'll trade those views for saving a few hours on a road trip any day).
The Rogue Valley is home to the world renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival, a fast-growing population of ultra marathoners and mountain bikers, and a small group of coffee nuts who aren't afraid to push the envelope. We're excited to partner with our most decorated roaster yet.
Presenting, from Ashland, Oregon, Noble Coffee Roasting.
"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin." Troilus and Cressida
Like many towns in the West, the reason for Ashland's original population boom in the mid-19th century were the dreams of gold prospectors looking for a quick fortune. The importance of natural resources only grew as the city matured. Its economy was a benefactor of the railroad that connected Portland to the north and San Francisco to the south, as pears, peaches, and apples were highly valued in trade. To house, clothe, and feed all the settlers, a sawmill, woolen mill, and flouring mill were built as the city continued to expand.
Nature and Ashland to this day have an inextricable relationship. As Noble Coffee Roasting founder Jared Rennie puts it, he's never seen more "Subaru's and Tacoma's with bike racks." As the pandemic wore on and more folks were struck with the reality that they could work from anywhere, Ashland became a popular destination. Ultra-marathoners, trail runners, mountain bikers, and any other number of outdoor endurance athletes began to call Ashland, "home."
Much like Noble's coffee, once you get a feel for the charm, beauty, and pace of Ashland, it's hard not to want to stick around for more.
"There is a tide in the affair of men. Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune." Julius Caesar
The namesake for Noble Coffee Roasting is Jared's grandfather. And what a name it is.
Noble Dukes is one of those people you hear about and ask, "why isn't there a book about this guy?". He was a pilot, an engineer, an adventurer, and an inventor. His inventions were so ahead of their time that he also had to create the machinery to build them. He had the curiosity of a wide-eyed child, the brain of a polymath, and the spirit of a saint.
Noble's unceasing quest to innovate was the inspiration for Jared to open the roaster that shared his name. Striving to be kind to the planet, Noble simply doesn't roast coffee that's not organic. Also, they created a drink called Noble Tonic that transformed the typically composted fruit of the cherry into an incredibly tasty, antioxidant rich carbonated treat. It's a 10 out of 10.
If you're curious to see where the coffee industry goes next, keep Noble on your radar.
"Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown." King Henry IV
Shakespeare's mastery of the English language allowed him to be malleable in its use; when he needed a word to be prescriptive, he used it as such. But the true genius was his often comedic flair for innuendo, entendre, and double meaning.
Describing a coffee as "good" only tells part of its story. Critical acclaim can be shortsighted in this regard, but the, uh, good people of the Good Food Awards recognize that there's so much more to coffee beyond taste.
Oh, and that crown? No coffee roaster in the United States has won more Good Food awards than Noble Coffee Roasting. And they've won them all roasting exclusively organic beans.
Here are the standards by which the Good Food Foundation judges coffee:
Reigning from the home state of the company that tells us to "Just do it", Noble Coffee Roasting is a story of action, continuous improvement, and pushing boundaries in an oftentimes otherwise complacent industry.
Oh...and they roast some damn good coffee, too.
Want more? Check out our interview with founder, Jared Rennie and wholesale manager, Nate Aviles. We added chapters for easy navigation!