In the spirit of #CoffeeTogether, we’re featuring some of our favorite coffee roasters so you know where to get exceptional coffee while you’re staying safe at home. Buy direct and consider leaving a virtual tip to help furloughed employees. Know a roaster we should feature? Shoot us a message on Facebook or Instagram!
Meet Mall Grab Coffee - Portland, OR
We love the spirit behind the name “Mall Grab”. It’s very clever. A mall grab is the way non-skaters hold a skateboard: by the trucks (wheels). Frequent skaters don’t hold their boards that way, because the grip rubs against your pants like sandpaper, creating marks. Calling someone a mall grabber is derogatory, and non-inclusive.
Westie Magnuson loves coffee and skateboarding, but he hates the elitism that’s present in both communities. When he launched his roasting company, he didn’t want any of it. So he ironically dubbed himself Mall Grab Coffee. He’s willing to be the outsider if it means others have an opportunity to feel included.
Mall Grab doesn’t exist only at the intersection of coffee and skateboarding. There’s also a heavy give-back component. Westie gives $1 of every bag sold to a Portland organization that promotes healthy community via weekly skateboarding meetups for at-risk kids.
A Micro-Interview With Westie Magnuson
There aren’t too many fusion brands, like coffee and skateboarding—what made you want to connect those two communities and cultures?
I have been a skater for years and I’m really passionate about it and the community. So when I started getting into coffee, blending the two was a natural fit.
If “mall grab” is kind of meant to be a derogatory term, what inspired you to give your coffee brand that name?
It is considered an insult. Originally it was a term for poseurs who hung out at the mall and just looked the part, but didn’t actually skate (it is also literally a term for holding a skateboard a certain way).
My thinking was to be more inclusive: just because you aren’t “good” at skateboarding does not mean that you can’t be part of the culture and help support it. Same with coffee! You don’t have to weigh, freshly grind, and manually brew every cup you drink in order to care about food, coffee, or farmers getting paid good wages—you’re part of the community regardless.
What’s up with the $1 donation with every purchase? Can you share more about that?
$1 back for every bag sold is my way of trying to make Mall Grab a part of something more. I have volunteered at a free skatepark in Portland for the last 5 years (Skate Church). A lot of the kids who come have really beat up skateboards, and getting a new one is a big deal. I take the $1 from each bag and then partner with other like-minded small businesses to buy gear at wholesale pricing, that way the money goes a lot farther.
What’s your #1 coffee tip for people brewing your beans at home?
Have fun with it and enjoy your coffee—don’t get stressed about a ton of specifics. If you already have a way to make coffee at home that you're happy with, that’s rad. If not, I would start with quality coffee and then go from there. If anyone ever has specific questions, reach out to me on Instagram and I will try to help.
What We’re Brewing
This Honduran bean has a rounded earthy flavor that’s highlighted by crisp orange aromas, a lemon zest tang, and a juicy sweetness.
Ethiopia - Dur Feres (Natural)
If you love bold and fruity, this Ethiopia’s a great pick. The smooth caramel and graham cracker notes are topped off with a sweet-tart green apple flavor.
Ways To Connect With Mall Grab Coffee
Head on over to the Mall Grab Coffee online store and grab a bag of fresh roasted coffee and Westie will send over $1 of your purchase to his local non-profit partner.
Thank you, Westie and Mall Grab Coffee!