Justin Knox has worn a lot of different professional hats (including stints in finance and running a gym), but for someone born and raised right here in Portland, a foray into roasting beans made a lot of sense.
Initially, he started Kahveology, his coffee roasting business, in 2014 as an online coffee shop, but this month he put down permanent roots in Sellwood by opening a 22-seat cafe in a former Marsee Baking outpost. Outfitted with reclaimed wood and a concrete slab bar, it offers espresso drinks and pour-overs, breakfast bagel sandwiches and, once he and his team build out the kitchen, homemade cinnamon rolls, quiches and crêpes.
The shop will also be home to a pair of taps, with one that pours locally brewed beers and a second tap pouring Kahveology's cold brew coffees.
Knox is meticulous about the coffee he imports. It's all farm-directed and grown at high elevations. But Knox has loftier goals than just helping Pacific Northwesterners properly start their day. After visiting a farm in Africa, he was troubled by the sight of young boys spending six hours a day carrying home fresh water from a wells located miles away from their homes.
So he decided to team up with NGOs to buy water filters for villagers, and funding programs that call for building bamboo condensation structures, which are used to capture moisture and fog from the atmosphere, turning such condensation into safe, clean drinking water.
But he's got his eye on his hometown, too — he's sponsoring Sackcloth & Ashes, a local company that manufactures blankets and donates one to a homeless shelter for every one sold. If all goes according to plan, Knox says he like to give away as much as $1 million to local and global charities over the next 10 years.
Kahveology: 1625 SE Bybee Blvd., 503-232-0000