Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Eating Seattle: Stumptown Coffee

One of the benefits of my current stay-at-home-mom gig is the freedom to check out new places as soon as I can squeeze a trip in between Ruby's naps. So, as soon as Ruby'd had a little something to eat, we packed Callie into the car and took a trip to the brand-new Stumptown Coffee shop on 12th.

Stumptown's a coffee roaster and espresso shop out of Portland. They won the Roaster of the Year award last year from Roast Magazine, and they've been featured in the NY Times, Food & Wine, the list goes on. What you need to know (aside from whether their coffee is any good) is that the owner, Duane Sorenson, flies all over the world to source beans, and then buys them direct. And when you buy coffee from Stumptown, more money goes to the farmers growing the beans than at just about any other coffee shop around.

But you can't taste it if you can't find it. It took me a little bit to figure out where Stumptown was, since I didn't have an address, just a vague memory of reading something about it being "on the stretch of 12th where Lark and Presse are." They don't have a sign up yet, so in case you're doing the back-and-forth, illegal u-turn thing I did this morning, it's right next to Presse.

We walked into the space and were given a really warm welcome, which is sort of refreshing in a place that attracts hipsters in hipster uniforms (a girl in black stirrup legwarmers!!! with red flats. come on.) The barristas even flirted with Ruby to keep her occupied when I had to plant her on the floor to grab my coffee and scone. Cute guys too, btw. Cute with a capital "c".

I ordered an Americano and one of the barristas said, "a lot of Americanos in Seattle, huh" to the other guy, who then said, "I think that shows that people here like the taste of coffee." So I'm thinking these guys are Portland Stumptowners up in Seattle for the launch? If so, I'm impressed.

We also got a cheddar-dill scone, cut and filled with cream cheese. They're getting pastries from Macrina, which I love; it's a nice nod to a bakery that many pass up in the search for Seattle's newest, hottest, trendiest. Doughnuts are from Mighty-O, which, well, let's just say I think they makes the third best doughnuts in Seattle (after Dunkin'). Sorry, Mighty-O!

That scone! Why haven't I had a scone filled with cream cheese before? After all, some scones (like this one) are biscuits' cousins. Even Ruby loved it.

But you're not coming for the scones. The coffee was really smooth, and not hit-you-over-the-head strong. The closest comparison would be Vivace, but this coffee is just a very pleasant, balanced taste. I really liked my coffee.

You'll also want to spend a little time in the space, which is refreshingly un-grungy. We've got enough Friends-type slumpy-couched coffee shops, right? Gorgeous white leather sofas (these might even be considered Davenports, people!), an exposed brick wall, wood floors, and tons of that bright-grey light we all get for free nine months a year, streaming through a wall of windows. We sat, we people-watched, and we wished we could've stayed longer.

Stumptown Coffee in Seattle

[where: 98122]


Anonymous said...

I love stumptown coffee. If you're buying beans, try the "hairbender". I think it's what they use for their espresso. Wow, that'll get you're morning going. It's one of the best things about living in Portland. It's served all over the place.

Ali Scheff said...

Hi Shells
it's getting a huge amount of press right now. are the stumptown locations in Portland pretty? this one is.
and yeah, it's good coffee. Not quite buying it by the pound yet (how much is it, btw?) but I'll def. go back and drink it in the shop.

Anonymous said...

Ya, the locations in Portland are nice. Clean, well-lighted places with minimal clutter and exposed wood and metal accents. It's kind of a Portland look. A pound of stumptown coffee runs anywhere from $11-$13 a pound depending on where you buy it. Totally worth it. You and the family should make a trip down to Portland sometime. There's lots of good eatin' around this town.

Katelyn said...

I was one of the first customers on opening day, which was completely unintentional on my part. I was eating lunch at Cafe Presse and walked out only to find: STUMPTOWN HAD ARRIVED! Anyway I promptly bought some beans and a coffee. Something I love about the store: it feels spacious!! Not dingy. And I love reading the descriptions of the beans... It's like a wine cellar. "Slightly oaky with finishing blueberries and cinnamon." Lol.

Ali Scheff said...

I already am excited to go back, this time with Ed!

Anonymous said...

Had a chance to try Stumptown here this weekend. Have to admit, I don't see what the fuss is about. No doubt it is good coffee, but I have to say I prefer Vivace better, not to mention others like Zeitgeist.Oh well - it definitely is a charming space, and I am sure they will do well, but I surely wouldn't go out of my way to go back.

Cakespy said...

I just tried out Stumptown too and liked it. I was happy to see that their pastries are from Mighty-O and Macrina; so often coffee places scrimp on the pastries (hello...Vita!? Their pastry case is so sad!).