Many New Yorkers have been quick to jump aboard the Stumptown bandwagon, eagerly anticipating the Portland coffee chain's roaster that's set to open in Red Hook, happily accepting it at some of the city's hippest restaurants (Momofuku, Frankies Spuntino, Freemans) while they await its big opening in the Ace Hotel this summer. It's safe to assume there are still glowing trend pieces about the growing coffee brand that have yet to be written.
But a writer for NY Press becomes one of the first to say "Not so Fast":
"Stumptown shouldn’t be mistaken for the bohemian paradise that its owner and his legions of promoters and sycophants would have you believe. Like Starbucks, the company it professes to abhor, Stumptown provides a ready-made, generic bohemianism, one where people know exactly what to expect. Stumptown’s current strategy is essentially a retread of Starbucks’ corporate model from more than a decade ago."Without really addressing the taste of the coffee—or its similarity to other high end roasters and cult favorites like Intelligentsia or Blue Bottle—the author is mostly attacking the marketing, the self righteousness of the brand's image (Let’s not forget the questionable—if not outright noxious—notion that consuming can ever be a truly noble activity"), and the almost religious attachment to "fair trade" ("...fair trade practices like Stumptown’s pervert the natural functioning of agricultural markets in poor countries...). It's a good read, and we encourage you Stumptown zealots and detractors alike to respond in the comments.
· Totally Stumped [NYPress]