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Thirteen years of coffee and commentary. Tridecaphobes, beware.

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Insert Groundless Starbucks Reference Here

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If you could get past its provocative title — Is Stumptown the New Starbucks — or Better? — you might think Time’s Josh Ozersky has penned a decent enough article on the leading edge of specialty coffee today. But… damn, the phrasing here is loaded for bear.

Coffee aficionados have been asking the question over and over again: Is Stumptown Coffee Roasters of Portland, Ore. — the most conspicuous exponent of coffee’s “third wave” — the new Starbucks?

Um, no. Coffee aficionados *haven’t* been asking that question. Coffee aficionados are pretty well versed in the routinely awesome coffee that Stumpies has been cranking out year after year after year. Coffee aficionados don’t have to question Stumptowns’ authenticity, or transparency, either. Coffee aficionados have probably noticed, too, that Stumptown Coffee Roasters hasn’t had to cover up its logo like a scarlet letter when it opens a new storefront like, well… You Know Who.

Wait, you haven’t heard of the third wave? Get with the program! In cities across America, a fervid generation of caffeine evangelists are changing the way we drink coffee. They tend to be male, heavily bearded, zealous and meticulous in what they do.

Hey, lookit that! It’s another funny stereotype. We’re only just two graphs in and we’re two for two, already. And gosh, it’s pretty much true, too, save for James Hoffman who really should consider sporting a soul-patch at the very least. (He’d banish the Harry Potter look thataway, I’m certain.) And pity the non-hirsute women of coffee who — apparently by way of not being zealous enough to grow a beard — are missing the boat. Er, wave.

I’m certain that Ozersky isn’t leaning on the whole Starbucks lever merely for his own sake… his article suggests familiarity enough with the specialty coffee scene. Maybe it’s a sure way to get eyeballs, or to get his article batted round the Internet like kitty’s new play toy. But does he have so little respect for Time’s audience that he needs to beat them over the head with it?

Coffee. Meh? Thug does not grok.

Starbucks. Oh! Thug likes. Puts hair on chin.

Stumptown — unlike Josh Ozersky – doesn’t need Starbucks for a stalking horse. Stumpies’ collective attention appears to be in the right place. On the farm. In the cup. Good on them.

Author: deCadmus

Doug Cadmus is a usability guy, writer and sometime dramatist who moved to Vermont for the coffee, where he's the Web Guy for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. When not writing, reading, or tapping out haiku-like Twitter posts, he roasts coffee in his garage.

One Comment

  1. The new Starbucks? Now I have to check it out!

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