Woot woot! Last week we got the news that Nossa Familia was awarded the top place for “Best Coffee” in the Willamette Week's 2020 Best of Portland Reader's Poll!
Wow, I am so proud and humbled!
I truly could not have imagined this honor when we started Nossa Familia Coffee 17 years ago. At that time, Portland’s coffee scene was intimidating, with so many great roasters and stellar coffee professionals. And then there was me: an inexperienced outsider, with no local coffee connections, no business knowledge, no coffee roasting or serving know-how. But I had my relationships with my family’s coffee farms in Brazil, where I spent my childhood, and the desire to share it with others.
Taking the leap to start Nossa Familia was pretty scary. ‘Luckily’ I was naive enough not to overthink it, so I invited a college friend to join in the adventure. We rolled up our sleeves and got to work, slowly. I had but three simple aspirations:
To showcase the beautiful work and beans that my family has been cultivating in Brazil since the 1890s;
To build a business that me, my wife, kids and family could be proud of; and
To quit my engineering job (please ASAP, on some days this was priority number one! ;)
We only had $800 to get the business up and running, and so we embarked on this journey cautiously and humbly. We went about building a company that would share my family’s coffee story and help us build a community of people who love coffee AND want to make a difference in the world. We determined our Purpose and Core Values (which have also evolved a bit since then) and started making all our decisions based on these guiding principles, doing what was right versus what was easy.
Well, most of the time...
We have made some classic (luckily, none tragic) mistakes along the way. When these happened (and continue to happen) we return to our principles, course-correct, learn, and then try again.
And again, and again. We’re still learning!
Somehow, slowly but surely, despite mistakes and setbacks, we grew. We found you(!) our caring customers and partnered with other like-minded family farmers. We also grew our staff, who have been instrumental in helping us shape the company. As we evolved, we did our best to build an approachable specialty coffee company, that is welcoming to all.
The coffee scene in Portland continued to grow, with many, many new roasters (there are easily over 60 now!). With such healthy competition, the thought of aspiring to be the ‘best’ seemed futile. How does one define ‘the best’ anyways? Best scoring coffee? Best baristas? Best cafe design?
Instead we have aimed to be a warm and welcoming company, and we work diligently to build strong relationships with our employees, farmers, customers, and community. This award is special because it tells us we are on the right track and that you, our customers appreciate what we’re doing! We’ve never set out to be “the best” coffee company. We simply focus on authentic relationships and to serve consistently excellent coffee, sourced responsibly and roasted sustainably.
There’s much work still ahead of us (especially in these stressful times), but for now we’ll allow this indulgence and pause to offer:
A HUGE thank you to all our customers who have made it possible for us to continue to grow and do good work.
A HUGE thank you to our dedicated team at Nossa Familia (past and present) who work hard day in day out, and who have been instrumental in helping us grow and get to this point.
A HUGE thank you to my family in Brazil and all the farmers growing, cultivating and nurturing their coffee plants, so that we can enjoy this beautiful love affair we have with coffee.
Thank you, truly and humbly,
Augusto and the Nossa Familia Crew