by: PHOTO BY TIFFANY EVANS - Lisa Halcom gets ready to prepare the perfect cup of espresso at Americas Best Espresso Competition, held in September in Seattle. The holidays are here, and Happyrock Coffee Roasting Co. and the Gladstone Class of 2013 are ready to help with gift choices.

Seniors will sell Happyrock’s Dark Roast Columbian coffee, either in whole-bean form or a ground version, for $15 a bag. Each bag will also have a specifically designed label just for the GHS Class of 2013, said Traci Pardee, a volunteer parent with the GHS 2013 Senior Graduation Party Planning Committee.

“This particular fundraiser is a win/win for both Happyrock Coffee and our senior class. The quality of the coffee is wonderful, and we are thrilled to support a local business at the same time. Lisa Halcom was generous enough to offer us a great return on the fundraiser; we are excited to raise money for our senior party and support a local Gladstone business at the same time,” Pardee said.

The fundraiser ends on Dec. 7 so that the bags can be ready for distribution on Dec. 14. Funds raised by the sale will go to the 2013 Senior Class Graduation Party.

Bags of coffee make good Christmas presents, noted Lisa Halcom, the owner Happyrock Coffee Roasting Company, a small-batch, artisan coffee roasting business on Portland Avenue in Gladstone. In fact, she will be open Christmas Day, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., so that people can get their coffee-fix and last-minute gifts.

Popular choices could include Storm of the Black Bear, an Oregon State Fair winner in 2010, and Darkness of Divinity, a state fair winner in 2011, Halcom said.

Mummy dogs

Halcom supports the community of Gladstone in other ways, too. On Halloween she was open and handing out candy and free “mummy dogs,” which were hot dogs clad in a mummy wrapping of dough.

On Sundays, the downtown Gladstone store will have an open mic from noon to 2 p.m.

“It is a lot of fun; we get a lot of different kinds of people in the shop. Anybody is welcome, including all ages and all forms of entertainment,” Halcom said, adding that recent acts have included a poet and a barbershop quartet.


Although the Oregon State Fair has discontinued its coffee events, Halcom still finds plenty of opportunities to compete, recently placing in the top 16 at America’s Best Espresso Competition, held in Seattle in September.

Thirty-two competitors from all over the Northwest came to the Seattle Convention Center to take a shot at making the perfect shot of espresso.

Using her own blend No. 50, Halcom had six minutes to prepare a shot for each of three judges, who then rated her offering on mouth feel, aftertaste and complexity. She thought six minutes was plenty of time, until her first shot did not turn out perfectly, so she had to make another; she finished with 20 seconds to spare.

On that first day of the competition, she went head-to-head with one other roaster, and then the judges chose the winner to move onto the next round on the following day. Halcom won her first round, but lost the next day.

She was pleased, though, that Blue Star, an independent coffee roaster from tiny Twisp, Wash., took first place.

Why is coffee is so huge in Seattle and in Portland? Halcom hazarded a guess that it might be because of the weather.

“When it is gloomy, coffee perks you up. If you drink a lot of coffee every day, it helps you get a lot done,” she said.

Halcom added, “I just love coffee; it’s about how you brew a cup of coffee.”

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