Portland’s iconic coffee roaster, Stumptown, is opening a roastery this month in Brooklyn, NY and, eventually, they will be adding a cafe as well. Having a Stumptown enter your neighborhood is akin to having a fine wine store move in when all you’ve had available is 2-buck Chuck.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters is so much more than a morning drink. Stumptown buys their coffee far and above fair trade prices, and owner Duane Sorenson personally knows many of the farmers he buys from. He even flies them up to Portland from time to time and hosts events in Stumptown’s coffee shops for customers to meet the farmers. Steve and I attended one such event last year, where we heard from coffee farmers from Panama and Costa Rica. Some of the coffee Stumptown imports is so fine and rare it sells for hundreds of dollars per pound (think $20 per cup!).
But don’t think Stumptown is pretentious. Oh no, not at all. Their coffee shops are gritty and loud. Most of their varieties are perfectly affordable and their individual coffee drink prices are competitive with Starbucks, but taste so much better. What I love is that Duane doesn’t just care about his coffee farmers or the quality of his beans, he cares enough for his baristas that they all have health insurance. Not many small businesses guarantee that any more and it surely cuts into his profit margin, and yet he does it.
I’ve been hearing about Starbucks closing shop right and left in New York City. Now there’s just one more reason for them to do so. Stumptown is moving in and New York coffee will never be the same.