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Stumptown's Duane Sorenson, the Coffee Connoisseur

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This story appears in the July 2011 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

That was November 1999, and Sorenson had just quit his head roasting job at Lighthouse Roasters Fine Coffees, bought a 5-kilo coffee roaster for $8,300 (emptying out his savings account) and set up a small roastery and café called Stumptown Coffee Roasters in a run-down area in Southeast Portland, Ore. It was, Sorenson felt, his duty.

"Coffee is as complex and beautiful as the finest wines in the world, but the majority of coffee being served and brewed is rubbish," he says. "It was the right thing to do, for coffee, my community, my customers and my employees."

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