JACKSONVILLE — This is a Good Bean and Pony Espresso town, smack in the heart of a region that percolated Dutch Bros., Human Bean and Melellos into the coffee world.
The width and breadth of coffee options was no deterrent to James Collins, who has opened Stim Coffee on the corner of Fifth and California streets in Jacksonville, not far from Doc Griffith Park and right on the tourist town's main drag.
Name: Stim Coffee
Service: Coffee shop
Owner: James Collins
Location: 310 E. California St., Jacksonville
Hours: 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Phone number: 541-622-2085
The newcomer will serve Stumptown Coffee, a Portland brand that has gained a national reputation, whose one outlet in Southern Oregon has been Mix in Ashland until now. (Correction: see below)
When Collins moved to Portland a dozen years ago, he quickly discovered the Northwest's coffee culture reflected in an array of roasts.
"I lived on a street that had 12 coffee establishments and most of them served espresso," Collins said. "I was completely blown away — how could there be 12 separate coffee shops in a one-mile stretch? But it gave a chance to experiment with small-volume roasters."
His days on Northwest 23rd Avenue afforded a testing grounds for Collins' coffee tastes and planted a seed for future entrepreneurial efforts.
"People's palates are different," Collins said. "It's like wine, in that coffee taste is highly personal and changes with time. My wife likes a smooth pinot noir and I like an earthy Syrah. Some people may prefer Dutch Bros. or Good Bean, but people like to explore."
Collins said Stumptown pays a premium price to growers to secure bright red coffee cherries rather than a general mix.
The result is an espresso lacking bitterness and acidity, he said, that is "more earthy and chocolatey."
"We know Stumptown is a brand that will draw people," said Collins, adding that skeptics are easily won over with their first samples.
Collins, vice president of finance for Whittle Construction, desired to create an urban, hip feel at his shop.
He started by hiring Mark Dean, a Stumptown veteran who had worked in Portland, to manage the shop.
"Finding him was like finding a purple unicorn," Collins said. "There aren't many walking around in Southern Oregon. Our environment is right out of Portland and transplanted into Jacksonville — we're on the leading edge in what's going on in coffee."
Collins has put in 18-hour days, training in Portland, getting local approvals, hiring staff and stocking the shop.
Going back to his grad-school days at the University of Oregon, Collins figures the venture will be successful based on its merits.
"Entrepreneurship is about filling a need," he said. "We've spent months and hours figuring out the details and specifications for what we needed to create a product and experience to fill that need."
Correction: The spelling of "Mix" has been corrected in this version.