It’s easy to gripe about the surly service – hire a hipster to sling your coffee and you’ll get hipster-style service from them. But that’s not a Stumptown exclusive; it’s the case with virtually all of this city’s independent, non-family run, coffee shops. My problem with Stumptown is that their coffee is truly awful. I don’t drink much espresso. I drink black coffee. Stumptown prepares their coffee in a french press. It sits in the pot for too long (perhaps because the staff is busy striking poses and snarling at customers, or maybe because the music’s so loud they don’t hear the bell on the timer) so it’s over extracted and bitter. The mess is then transferred to air pots. The bilge spewed from the air pot is bitter, sour, luke-warm, and gritty. All of this leads me to believe that they don’t give a damn about the coffee.
As regular readers know, I’m a fan and booster of Portland beers, restaurants, and sports teams [Rip City and Rose City ‘Til I Die!]. As often as possible I promote and attend local festivals. I regularly read, link to, and recommend local blogs and I keep tabs on media paeans to, and critiques of, my hometown.
I love Portland.
But not all my opinions jibe with the hometown consensus, for my love is not blind.
I am a Portlander, but I am firstly my own man.
Take, for instance, local beer brewers and consumers’ obsession with hops and a beer style, the Northwest India Pale Ale, that generally tastes like rancid grapefruit juice. I prefer beers that are interesting, or even subtle; IPAs are seldom the former and never the latter. One day I might be in the mood for something sweet and malty, the next day dry and toasty. Sometimes something a bit Belgiany, or tart. In the fall, when the hops are fresh and the air is crisp, I may even enjoy one of the banal and ubiquitous Northwest IPAs of which I whinge – the hop aroma is nice. But I’m tired of local bar and beer festival lineups where IPAs make up a third to half of the available beers. Show some creativity! When I want a grape fruit juice I’ll order a Greyhound.