New York City has a lot to offer everyone who moves here. There are incredible restaurants, amazing shopping, and fantastic people. The one thing that has been consistently hard to find is a good cup of coffee. For some reason New York and New Yorkers have been slow to embrace the coffeeklatsch culture that has been percolating (heh) on the West Coast for years. The introduction of Starbucks to New York was actually a boon to the coffee culture here. Despite it’s bitter semi-burnt taste, overpriced frou-frou drinks, and nonsensical lingo, it was a step-up (albeit a small, sad step) from the deli coffee that dominated the New York market. But a new day is dawning in New York and it is well caffeinated. A few coffee shops (founded in Brooklyn, of course!) have been slowly introducing New Yorkers to the strong complicated flavors of a well-brewed, well-roasted, cup of coffee. Café Grumpy, Oslo, Gorilla, and Café 1980 all make an excellent cup. But none of them can compete with Stumptown. In my humble opinion, anyway.
Stumptown Coffee is a Portland, Oregon phenomenon. It has literally taken over the already caffeine-addicted burg with its own crowded shops and by selling its dark blends to almost every restaurant in town. And its reputation is well deserved. The coffee is delicately flavored, but strong. Typically roasted no darker than medium, it is full bodied, robust, and complex in flavor. It’s not over-powering or burnt. The Hairbender blend is just about perfect. The Stumptown coffee shops have a lot to offer the coffee fanatic—the fabled Clover machines for espresso, French press for the coffee, perfect ferns or hearts formed in foam atop every latte. Needless to say there is always a line. Which is as good a reason as any to brew at home. Family and friends visiting from the West Coast know that they can sleep on my couch for a week if they come bearing a pound of Stumptown’s finest. And no matter how uncomfortable the couch, at least they know they will wake up to a great cup of coffee.