Din Johnson of Ristretto Roasters - Williams Location - Biography

Portland, OR

November 2011

Din Johnson was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. In 1989, he moved to San Francisco. He spent nearly ten years working as a bar manager in a punk rock club and as a contractor, before moving to Los Angeles in 1998. At the time, he found a disturbing lack of good coffee, and decided to roast his own, initially on a roaster the size of a popcorn popper, moving up to one his wife thought looked and sounded like a small aircraft engine.

In 2004, Johnson and his family moved back to Portland, and in 2005, he launched Ristretto Roasters, a small café serving traditional espresso drinks in Northeast Portland. Working on a vintage Probat L-12, Johnson produced handcrafted coffees in small batches. He sourced and roasted all the café’s coffees, specializing in a medium roast. Ristretto Roasters opened its second flagship café in September 2008, along Portland’s North Williams corridor. Ristretto hosts coffee cuppings, art shows, and reading series. A separate non-retail location houses the roasting operation. In addition to supplying its cafés, Ristretto wholesales coffees to more than two-dozen local cafes and restaurants, as well as area Whole Foods. Ristretto also ships whole bean coffees nationwide.

In December 2011, Ristretto will open a third retail location, in a former steel rolling mill in Portland’s Northwest Industrial District. The hundred-year-old building will also feature the high-end design company Schoolhouse Electric’s retail floor, a design library, and walk-in bank vaults with interactive media. Ristretto will appear in an upcoming episode of The Cooking Channel’s “Unique Sweets,” in their profile of Ristretto Roasters’ baker Kim Boyce, winner of a 2011 James Beard Award for her baking book, Good to the Grain. Johnson lives in Northeast Portland with his wife Nancy Rommelmann, an author and business manager for Ristretto Roasters.