Here it goes…
My second review of a Stumptown Coffee Roasters’ coffee!
I’ve also tried and reviewed Stumptown’s Hair “Bender coffee” at the bottom of this article about four coffees that I’ve tried, if you’re interested to read that.
This is a popular coffee roaster out of Portland, Oregon, who also has coffee shops dotted around the map and their coffee is pretty popular to brew in other coffee chains as well.
Their coffee is popular with hipsters and non-hipsters alike.
After being a bit unsure how I really felt about their other coffee “Hair Bender”, I thought I would give another one of their brews a shot.
“Holler Mountain” sounded pretty enticing, being described on the bag as “creamy and caramel” in its flavor profile. That sounded delicious!
Overall, I’d give this coffee a 5 out of 10.
That may be a little generous, but I think it’s reasonable. Here’s why!…
Oh I see… you want me to talk about the taste, huh???
I’ve got one word for you: ACIDIC.
After trying two Stumptown coffees, I’ve found that there’s one thing they do well. And that’s acid.
I’m not talking about drugs, people. Although, I can make no comment about their personal lives. Maybe there’s a reason they like acid in their coffee, who knows. No, what I’m talking about is battery acid.
Ok I’m going to stop joking for now.
Seriously, if there’s one thing about the flavor of both “Hair Bender” and “Holler Mountain”, it’s that pungent, sour, overbearing acidity.
It literally jumps out of the cup, slaps you with a front hand, back hand, and front hand slap again, and all before you even swallow it. It’s quite the experience.
I’ve written about acidity in coffee in this article, if you’d like a further explanation about it.
When I drink “Holler Mountain”, I’m being serious and honest when I say that I mostly just taste the acidity.
The acidity has a citric hint to it, but it’s sour, strong, and like I said before… overbearing. Unfortunately, it’s so overbearing, I can’t pick up on any other flavor notes.
I will give it to Stumptown that there is creamy and caramel notes, but it’s in the aroma. It gets lost in translation when you take that first exciting, highly-anticipated sip.
I’m trying very hard to notice other elements in the flavor profile, but the potent, vinegar-like acidity is what takes center stage.
I really enjoy the aroma. The beans smell delicious as well. Creamy, velvety, caramel is spot on to describe the whole beans in the bag, and even the smell of the grounds just after brewing. It’s tantalizing!
But unfortunately, smells can sometimes be deceiving. This can also happen quite often with tea. It’s a similar thing with these two Stumptown coffees I’ve tried.
I’m sorry that this flavor description isn’t more… exciting. I could try to further describe the acidity to you. But I think you get the point.
This coffee actually tastes very similar to “Hair Bender”. It tastes like the same coffee that they infused with caramel or other aroma… It’s ok, but I’m not a huge fan.
Although, It tastes best with the Hario V60, in my opinion. I’ve tried every brewing method I have and I think Hario V60 does the trick best.
However you brew it though, here’s my fair warning: the acidity will kick your butt, rock your world, and melt a hole in your floor!
I’m Sorry That I’m A Little Biased
I am biased. It’s true.
At least I can admit my faults sometimes.
I don’t prefer coffees that are very acidic. This is why I generally prefer dark roasts over light roasts.
I think many people feel the same way. However, I realize that not everyone does.
So if you have a different preference than me about it, you may really enjoy this coffee! As I’ve said in the beginning of this article, they are a popular coffee company, and there’s a reason for that.
They say that this is a medium roast coffee. That’s actually hard for me to believe. The look of the beans, the feel of them, the taste of the coffee, and every other factor, seems to scream that this is a light roast coffee.
Light roast coffees are higher in acidity, by the way.
Can we believe that this is a medium roast? I guess so. If they say it is.
But it probably barely even made it to the second crack of the roasting process…
Either way, I have a preference for coffees that are lower in acidity. So that makes this coffee for me a bit more difficult to give a super high rating to.
It’s A Quality Roaster
And they make good quality coffee.
So I’ll definitely give them that.
They’re almost all organic, they don’t even ship pre-ground coffee, and they’re trading practices are very ethical.
They source their coffees with Direct Trade, which means they maintain a close relationship with their coffee growers in different countries, ensure that they get good quality coffee, and pay them well for their hard work.
So even if I don’t totally love the taste of the two coffees I’ve tried from Stumptown, they are a good coffee roaster that actually has a great reputation.
Only 1 Or 2?…
I’ve perused their site and the FAQ is interesting.
Most of their coffees are “medium” roast. Which, like I said, is kind of questionable.
But it looks like they only have about 2 dark roast coffees in their catalog!
I mean, I know that hipsters like it light or whatever, but only one or two dark roasts!? And judging from their “medium” roasts that I’ve tried, I’m quite curious to know what their dark roast coffee is like.
Digging a little deeper, I also really find it strange that they have so many medium roasts, that are really closer to light roasts, but they just seem to want to call almost everything a medium roast.
They should probably label more of their coffees as a light roast.
The two that I’ve tried so far are both labeled by them as medium roast, but they fooled me! I would’ve certainly called both “Hair Bender” and “Holler Mountain” light roasts.
Have A Sip Of Citric Acid?
For me personally, this is the last Stumptown coffee I’m going to taste and review for a long, long time.
I would like to see what their dark roast is like, such as their “Founder’s Blend” or French Roast. But alas, Stumptown isn’t on the cheap side of the coffee price spectrum and I’d rather give other coffees a change with my hard-earned money.
I’m going to be honest and say that, while these coffees are very different, Don Francisco’s Colombia Supremo (which I recently wrote about) isn’t as acidic and easier on the palate than “Holler Mountain”.
I would prefer Don Francisco’s to be honest. And it’s like… less than half the price.
But that’s my opinion anyway. Stumptown has a quality to it, for sure. But it’s just so amazingly acidic, I can’t give it much more than a 5 out of 10.
So that’s my take on Stumptown Coffee’s “Holler Mountain”. If you’d like to get it and give it a try for yourself, here’s a link to it on Amazon! But if you get it and think it’s a bit pungent, don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Here’s the bottom line: It’s not horrible coffee, it’s just that the acidity is so front and center that if that doesn’t appeal to you then it probably won’t be your favorite coffee ever.
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I hope you enjoyed this review! If you have any questions or comments please feel free to let me know. Coffee cheers!