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Junior’s Expands in Portland, Releases Cost of Production Template

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Inside the new Junior’s Roasted Coffee location in Northeast Portland. Daily Coffee News photo by Howard Bryman.

Portland, Oregon-based roasting company Junior’s Roasted Coffee (JRC) has published its in-house tools used to ascertain green coffee producers’ costs of production.

The public sharing is intended to support more sustainable coffee sourcing practices among other green coffee buyers, according to the company.

The initiative follows the opening earlier this year of the first cafe under the Junior’s name, in Northeast Portland.

Cost of Production Template

The recently released template is part of Juniors’ ongoing Cost of Production Covered initiative, which is geared towards supply chain transparency and equity, while also encouraging other roasters to more deeply consider their pricing strategies.

The initiative is based firmly in the cost of production theory of value, an economics theory in which the cost of a product is determined by the costs that went into producing it.

“If you’re a green coffee buyer from a business that believes that contract prices should be based on something more meaningful than quality based metrics alone, you’re in the right place,” Junior’s wrote in an announcement of the initiative. “A coffees value should be based on what it costs to produce it. [sic]

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Daily Coffee News photo by Howard Bryman.

For its part, Junior’s has released a set of Google Docs materials, including a questionnaire available in English and Spanish, that asks coffee producers a set of questions related to the volume of coffee they’re producing, the farm’s permanent and temporary labor costs, the costs of agricultural inputs such as fertilizer, soil nutrients, herbicides, etc., and more. 

A spreadsheet organizes the information gathered by the questionnaire and automatically calculates a base price. The company has been using the working document in-house since 2018.

“Running a farm is running a business,” JRC Co-owner and Green Buyer Mike Nelson said in a company announcement last week. “We want to support their business, and coffee producers want to support ours… As a green coffee buying company we have the power to dig deeper into what a ‘farm partnership’ can look like, and into what questioning and advancing equity and ethics could do for our businesses and hopefully the industry.”

Junior’s Roasted Coffee Cafe

In January of this year, the company opened its third retail location, and first to bear the name of the roasting brand, Junior’s Roasted Coffee.

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Daily Coffee News photo by Howard Bryman.

Located across the street from the north end of the Roseway Park Blocks in a mostly residential area of Northeast Portland’s Cully neighborhood, the shop shares an approximately 1,000 square feet of space inside the Upright Brewing taproom.

Coffee drinks served at the new location mirror the offerings of the coffee company’s “Princess Bride”-themed Guilder and Guilder Cafe locations. The food at the JRC cafe consists of packaged items prepared at Guilder, as well as pastries by Shoofly Vegan Bakery and Jen’s Bagels & Pastries. The Indian food cart Chaat Wallah has been parked outside.

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Daily Coffee News photo by Howard Bryman.

“We wanted Junior’s to have its own retail operation,” JCR Co-Owner Caryn Nelson recently told DCN. “We want the coffee to be the star there since we don’t have a hot food menu or our own alcoholic beverages like we do at the other locations. The branding also was a better fit at a co-located space than making Upright adopt our Princess Bride theme.”

Junior’s Roasted Coffee was founded by Caryn and Mike Nelson in Tallahassee, Florida, in 2014. With business partners Toby Roberts and Carrie Lind the company relocated to Portland, Oregon and opened its first cafe, Guilder, in Portland in 2017.  The fantastic fictional references continued into the company’s second cafe that opened inside the Portland landmark bookstore Powell’s City of Books in 2021.

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Daily Coffee News photo by Howard Bryman.

“We don’t have plans to open more retail locations. We’re focused on continuing our mission of furthering equity in the supply stream through COPC,” Caryn Nelson said. “The COPC template being released is the big news for us, and we want to see it used by other roasters.”

Junior’s Roasted Coffee retail shop is located at 7151 NE Prescott St. in Portland.