Nossa Familia Coffee is a Pedal Pursuit sponsor this year. Learn about Nossa Familia’s story, and how to brew the perfect campsite coffee.


Pedal Pursuit: How did Nossa Familia Coffee get its start in Portland?


Nossa Familia Coffee: Nossa Familia was founded back in 2004 by Augusto Carneiro, a native Brazilian who came to Portland to attend the University of Portland. He studied to be an engineer, but it turns out engineering wasn’t really his thing! A while after graduating Augusto and a friend started shipping his family’s coffee from Brazil to Portland, and Nossa Familia (“Our Family” in his native Portuguese) was born. The company has evolved a lot since those early days – we started roasting on an environmentally-friendly Loring roaster, opened our Espresso Bar in the Pearl District, and have expanded our coffee lineup to many other origins. We also have further expansion plans in the works: Watch out for a few new Nossa Familia Portland cafes in the next year or so!


Pedal Pursuit: What is the work culture like at Nossa Familia Coffee?


Nossa Familia Coffee: Augusto has nurtured an incredible work environment here at Nossa Familia. When I first met him, he revealed his goal to me to make the list of Oregon’s 100 Best Companies to Work For. And this year, we made it on the list for the first time! I can honestly say that I look forward to coming to work, every single day. We have a fun and caring environment, and we really are like a little family. We’ve grown a lot in our current location, and in fact are out-growing it. Because of the close quarters around here, it helps to like each other. I’m really good friends with many of my coworkers, and Augusto is extremely conscientious about creating a positive environment for everyone to work in. We recently started a program called the “Care Package,” which stems from one of our core values: Care. Each quarter has a theme and there are several self-improvement workshops around those themes. We do sessions on finances, physical fitness, and relationships. 


I also feel like my workplace pushes me to make better decisions as an individual. As a Certified B Corporation, we have extremely high standards as a company in terms of environmental and social practices. This challenges our employees to follow suit. For example, we offer paid volunteer time off to promote volunteering in the community, we have bicycling and alternative commuting incentives, and we have a great waste reduction, recycling, and composting system.


We also try really hard to be the friendliest coffee company there is, and that comes through in our company culture. We love coffee and have really high standards for quality, but at the same time we don’t judge people for how they want to brew or drink their coffee. Whether you want to appreciate a straight shot of espresso, mix it with some foamy milk and chocolate, or even put your butter in it – we’re here to help you out! Coffee can be both a personal and community experience, so we like to say that however you want to enjoy it is great. We teach a lot of classes on how we like to prepare coffee, but it’s really a jumping off point for constant experimentation to find the perfect brew for you.


Pedal Pursuit: Where does Nossa get its coffee beans?


Nossa Familia Coffee: Our main suppliers for green coffee (the term for unroasted coffee, straight from the farm) are still Augusto’s family in Brazil. He has several family members who grow the coffee we get from the Cerrado and Sul de Minas regions of Brazil. This coffee goes into what we call our “Family Line” of coffees. We always carry these roasts that are named after Augusto’s family members, like Uncle Teodoro and his daughter Camila. We also source some other excellent organic coffee and smaller lots of beans for our Microlot Series through direct-trade relationships with other farms in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Kenya, Ecuador, and Cameroon.


Pedal Pursuit: Do you have any advice for brewing up the best camping coffee?
Nossa Familia Coffee: If you haven’t tried it yet, I definitely recommend trying out the Aeropress – especially for camping trips! It’s a fairly new brewing device that has a lot of lovers (and haters). There are so many ways to brew with it, there are even competitions around the world for it. It’s basically two tubes of plastic with a filter that uses pressure to brew the coffee and push it through the filter. It’s really compact, quick to brew, and the best part is that the cleanup is super easy. There’s also very little waste – just a small circular paper filter that can go straight into the compost with your grounds. If you are interested in trying out different brewing methods to find the perfect one for you, I highly recommend taking our Home Coffee Brewing Methods Class on a Saturday, where we go through each device and how to brew with it.