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Stumptown Coffee

December 23, 2011

I am an unashamed Stumptown Coffee fan.  When we bought our first shop in 2008, the first thing we did was talk to Stumptown about being a wholesale account.  At the time, you didn’t see them in a lot of kiosks, which is what we were.  So it wasn’t an automatic “in”.  But after meeting with our rep and demonstrating our desire for greatness and willingness to upgrade equipment and participate meaningfully in their training program, we got started.  It has been a non-stop love affair ever since.

Now I know a lot of Portlanders talk about the snobbery at Stumptown, and as they grow there are some unavoidable pains which occur in all organizations as they figure out what their company should look like tomorrow (hint:  not what it was yesterday).  But I gotta tell you, my experience has been stellar.  Their staff has always been super-professional (even if frequently an attractive version of edgy) and I have always been treated with the utmost respect.  And from rubbing shoulders with them for over 3 years, I can tell you that they have the same level of respect between them and the producers (coffee farms, processors, pickers, etc.) which is one of the things I love most about them as a company.

But as we say in the industry:  Yes, but how does it taste?  And the answer to that is consistently fantastic.  Before moving to Portland we visited in 2004 to see how we liked the city.  One of the first things I did upon arrival was to walk into a Stumptown cafe’ and order an espresso machiatto.  I will never forget my heart-reaction:  I didn’t know you could do that with coffee!  

So now, a million machiattos and several years later, they are still at the forefront of what is happening with coffee.  Sure, there are some growing pains and no one will ever like everything they do (like taking on investors, and yes, from the perspective of a wholesale account I still receive the same quality of service and product as always and no, I do not believe owner Duane Sorenson has “sold out” to the highest bidder).  But I am a fan for life.  Stumptown Coffee has been good to me.  And they have been very good for third wave coffee.

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