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Core Values

At Oil Slick Coffee (OSC), we hold a firm belief that coffee is more than just a beverage; it’s an accessible and enjoyable experience for all. We are deeply aware of the coffee supply chain’s complexity and socio-economic significance and are committed to supporting smallholder coffee farmers in every way possible. Our focus on operational improvements is aimed at empowering smallholders to better their industry standing for sustainable growth. Moreover, OSC embodies a strong contrarian streak, taking pride in challenging prevailing narratives and conventional wisdom when necessary. This rebellious spirit drives us to innovate and approach coffee from unique perspectives, ensuring that our practices not only support but also advance the industry in meaningful ways.

History and Background

Oil Slick Coffee was conceived in spirit in 2011, marking the beginning of a deep and enduring exploration into the world of coffee for Michael, our founder. This exploration started with the purchase of his first roasting machine, laying the foundation for a journey enriched by both hands-on experience and technical training from seasoned coffee professionals. The initial phase of Oil Slick Coffee took shape in 2013 in Virginia, where we began selling our roasted whole bean coffee online and at a local farmer’s market, establishing our presence and beginning to share our passion with the community.

An opportunity to move to Southeast Asia presented itself, leading Michael and his wife to pause U.S. retail sales and embark on a new chapter. This move allowed Michael to delve deeper into the coffee industry, specifically focusing on the supply side. It was an invaluable experience that broadened his understanding and appreciation for the intricate processes involved in coffee production, from the farm to the final cup.

The onset of the COVID pandemic and its impact on Indonesia’s tourism industry prompted another significant change, as Michael and his wife relocated to Portland, Oregon. It was here that retail sales were resumed, rekindled with a renewed passion and a more profound appreciation for the complexities of the coffee supply chain. Portland, renowned for its vibrant coffee scene, provides both inspiration and a humble reminder of the standards of excellence we strive to meet. Being part of this community encourages us to stay grounded in our mission while continually aspiring to refine our craft and contribute meaningfully to the rich tapestry of coffee culture.

Our Mission

Oil Slick Coffee’s mission revolves around making quality coffee accessible and enjoyable for all, while supporting the vital smallholder farmers in the industry. Through a commitment to continuous learning, innovation, and a broad understanding of the coffee world, we aim to make a positive impact on the coffee community and contribute to a more sustainable supply chain.

Operations and Facilities

Oil Slick Coffee operates without a traditional brick-and-mortar retail space, focusing instead on an online e-commerce platform to reach our customers directly. This approach allows us to maintain a close connection with our community, providing them with the highest quality coffee conveniently. All our commercial roasting is meticulously carried out at Buckman Coffee Factory, a well-regarded facility located in downtown Portland, Oregon, ensuring every batch meets our stringent standards for quality and taste.

As we continue to grow and evolve, Oil Slick Coffee is beginning to explore opportunities for wholesale distribution through grocery stores. This expansion aims to make our unique selection of roasted, whole bean coffees more accessible to a wider, local audience, while still upholding the high standards of quality and sustainability that define our brand.

Product Information

Quality and Selection

At Oil Slick Coffee, our approach to selecting coffee revolves around three core sensorial attributes: cleanliness, balance, and approachability. We believe that enjoying a cup of coffee should be a straightforward and pleasant experience, one that doesn’t require an elaborate vocabulary to appreciate. Our commitment is to bring you coffee that speaks for itself, offering a satisfying and delicious cup every time.

Single Origin Focus

Central to our philosophy is a dedication to single origin coffees. We meticulously source beans that highlight the unique flavors and characteristics inherent to each origin. This focus allows us to present coffees that not only tell a story of their place of origin but also celebrate the diversity and richness of coffee from around the world. By doing so, we aim to offer an insightful journey into the vast and varied world of coffee, one cup at a time.

Unpretentious Quality

We stand by the belief that quality coffee can be unpretentious. It’s about enjoying the natural flavors that coffee has to offer, without the need for overly complex descriptions. Our selection process is rigorous, yet our goal is simple: to provide coffee that is enjoyable by all, whether you’re a seasoned aficionado or someone who simply loves a good cup of coffee. At Oil Slick Coffee, we’re dedicated to offering a product that embodies the essence of what makes coffee great—its ability to bring people together, spark conversations, and create moments of joy.

Biography of Michael, Founder of Oil Slick Coffee

Michael’s journey into the world of coffee began in earnest in 2011, marked by the purchase of his first coffee roaster and a set of classes from Willem Boot, gifted by his wife. This sparked a deep and ongoing journey of discovery into the complexities of coffee. From roasting to brewing, cupping, and beyond, Michael’s passion has led him to explore every facet of coffee production, inspired by his time living in Southeast Asia and working closely with those at the heart of the industry.

His quest for knowledge took him to El Salvador, where he learned coffee processing from Emilio Lopez Diaz at Finca El Manzano, and to master roasting classes with Rob Hoos in Singapore. Perhaps most enriching has been the opportunity to learn directly from coffee producers and processors, gaining insights by working alongside them. Michael holds several key certifications in the coffee world:

Furthering his commitment to the coffee industry, Michael recently completed a bachelor’s degree in horticulture, with a focus on horticultural business management. This unique combination of scientific and business knowledge is tailored to assist coffee producers in navigating the complexities of both coffee production and its business aspects, empowering smallholders to thrive in the coffee markets.

Two grand narratives underpin Michael’s worldview on coffee. The first is his concept of the central dogma of coffee: the recognition of the intricate process and numerous intermediaries involved in bringing coffee from tree to cup, all of whom add value that is ultimately reflected in the price paid by consumers. The second narrative emphasizes the importance of operational improvements for smallholder coffee farmers, advocating for the treatment of family farms as businesses to ensure consistent, profitable production over time.

Through his work and writings, Michael aims to share these insights, fostering a deeper understanding of the coffee industry’s complexities and opportunities for improvement.

Contact information

For more info about working with us or for press inquiries, please send Michael a note at