February 2018 La Marzocco Subscription – Stumptown

It may not be a household name…

But it’s close. Just a few short years ago I started seeing little brown bottles, and cartons of their cold brew pop up at nearly every grocery store.  Stumptown Coffee Roasters has been around for quite awhile, since 1999 to be specific.  They’ve been instrumental in the slow and steady takeover of third wave coffee in the United States.

From the Pacific Northwest jewel, otherwise known as Portland, Stumptown created an empire from a single coffee roaster.  The founder, Duane Sorenson, set his company apart in the early days of direct trade.  Paying farmers more, treating his employees to benefits like massage therapy, and providing a studio for his employees band's to record albums.  If Portlandia is anything like reality (which it probably is) there were a lot of band members working at their cafes.

Coinciding with the almost immediate emergence on grocery store shelves, Stumptown was acquired by JAB Holdings in 2015.  JAB is also the same group that owns majority stakes in Peet’s, Intelligentsia, Caribou Coffee, Panera, Krispy Kreme, and tons of others.  Yet, contrary to popular belief, I don’t believe this has negatively affected the quality of their coffees.

Stumptown still has people at origin year-round sourcing the highest quality green beans.  They still have great roasters developing their coffees from start to finish.  They also have amazing baristas preparing these coffees at many locations in Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, New Orleans, and Chicago.

That’s enough about the company though, lets dive into some pressure-brewed bean water.  The first bag I dove into was the Colombia El Nevado.  As a straight espresso it is suprisingly bright with flavors of stone fruit and a sticky, honey-like mouthfeel.  Like most espressos it really mellowed out when milk was added.  It became a pleasant blend of peach and almond. 

Last but not least it was time for Stumptown’s flagship blend, Hair Bender.  As an espresso it’s very balanced and sweet.  It also holds up very well with milk, and becomes like a dessert beverage.  When it comes to espresso I’m much happier in general with the experience of a proper blend.  Hair Bender was my clear favorite of the two, but both have their merits.  In the end these espressos score a clear ‘Buy It’ on my scale.

Buy It Rating Scale

Stumptown Hair Bender

Hair Bender

Origins: South America, Africa & Indonesia

Roast: Medium

Brew Ratio: 1:1.2 - 1.4

Grams In: 19 - 20

Grams Out: 24 - 28

Duration: 23 - 28 seconds

Colombia El Nevado

Origins: Colombia (multiple farms)

Roast: Light

Brew Ratio: 1:1.4

Grams In: 19.3

Grams Out: 28

Duration: 28 seconds


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