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Meet The Team - Pete Miller

Pete MillerPete Miller likes to make connections.  You’ll often see him walking from one end of Caravan Coffee’s headquarters where he parks his bicycle, to his office above the tasting room at the other end of the building.  As he walks, the owner and founder of Caravan usually has his head bowed forward slightly while in deep thought. Perhaps he’s mulling over the next sales campaign, or maybe what kind of coffee we’ll purchase for the next single origin feature.  There’s always something to think about and plan for in the constantly evolving world of artisanal coffees. But when he notices you, he’ll pause a moment from his walk and his concentration, smile, say hello, and ask how you’re doing.  

Pete grew up in Southern California, born in San Diego and then raised east of LA in the shadow of the San Gabriel Mountains.  His life’s trajectory took a Northwestern turn when his dad got a job in Oregon. Pete was now 18 years old and decided to enroll at Oregon State University.  He grew to like rural Oregon. He was very attracted to the small city of Newberg (population 12,000), located southwest of Portland in the Oregon wine country.  Unlike the constant shuffle of anonymous masses in Southern California, he saw that in a small community, people seem to know each other … “and care about each other.  I wanted to be part of that community.” Pete also saw an opportunity to introduce a coffee shop to Newberg and George Fox University. But more than just sell coffee, he wanted to create a hospitable setting where the community could gather, make great connections and share great coffee.  So in 1990, he opened up the Coffee Cottage in a converted garage on Highway 99. The business caught on, expanded, and it’s still in operation today.  

Pete Sidecar

In 1996, Pete starting roasting coffee, and Caravan Coffee was born. For a good decade, not only was Pete into roasting coffee, he also became a devoted motorcycle fan.  In particular, he was devoted to a bike from the Ural region of Russia, a WWII-era motorcycle, complete with sidecar. Pete was now an instantly recognizable sight in the community; and he drove that motorcycle everywhere.  During the summer months, he’d load up the sidecar with a giant urn of coffee, and serve it at various events, including Newberg’s “Tunes on Tuesday” concert series. 

Eventually, he sold the motorcycle and took up another two-wheeled conveyance.  Now Pete’s an avid bicyclist. Still, his motorcycle memories live on in the form of Caravan Coffee’s Sidecar blend – which is currently our best-selling coffee.

Today Pete’s goal is to create better artisanal coffee experiences, whether these experiences happen at the company, local, or global level.  Through the medium of coffee, Caravan has relationships with farmers and brokers from dozens of countries worldwide, and offer them fair pricing and access to the U.S.’s ever expanding artisanal coffee market.  In return, we gain access to some of the most unique beans of highest quality. The Caravan staff communicates with our commercial clients to help them improve and expand their success, supplying them with consistent, premium roasted coffee and related products, brewing equipment, and educational opportunities. We work with our retail customers and members of the local community to promote a broader understanding of coffee, and opening imaginations to the wonders of exquisite artisanal flavors.  But what makes coffee taste best of all is when it’s shared with other human beings. There’s an inherent goodness about coffee. 

That good feeling of warm human connections made over a great cup of coffee only exists because of an intricate web of interdependent relationships.  For Pete, there’s a sense of goodness that runs through this web, and in essence, it’s Pete’s goal to promote more Goodness in the world. 

Author credit to Doug Verigin

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