Stumptown Coffee Roasters, based out of Portland, Oregon, is not only a hip roaster, they’ve also become super popular.
I must admit, I really like their design and branding, their coffee bags are fun and I like the names of their blends.
But alas, after hearing and seeing their name all over the coffee community and giving two of their coffees a try, I had to say enough is enough!
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In this article, I’m going to tell you my experience with trying two of their coffees, why I don’t like them, and why I think they roast coffee the way they do, along with the good points about their coffee/why they’re so popular.
So let me first talk about why I personally don’t prefer Stumptown coffees and how they taste to me…
It took me a while to try a bag of Stumptown coffee.
But I was excited when I finally got a bag of Hair Bender and happy to finally give Stumptown a try! (If you read that article it’s the 4th one I reviewed).
When I got the coffee, I noticed that Stumptown wrote on the Amazon page for it that it’s their most popular coffee.
So I figured that would be a good intro to their Joe.
But one problem for me was it didn’t say anywhere if it was a light, medium or dark roast.
And trust me, I looked everywhere on the Amazon page and on the coffee bag.
I quite quickly found out that it’s a light roast, after the first brew.
And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, some light roasts are nice for sure.
But Hair Bender, and Holler Mountain when I ended up trying that one too, just tasted like the lightest of the light roasts that I’ve ever tasted almost.
It said on the bag of Hair Bender that it’s the blend that they use for their espresso, which after I tried it many times and then finished the bag, sounded like a not very nice idea for espresso.
The problem I encountered with both of these coffees is that they were so light that the main thing that came through in the flavor profile was the acidity.
And I’ll just let you know now, when I taste a coffee, I’m looking to experience more than just acidity.
But the bottom line is that both of these light roast coffees that I tried from Stumptown not only tasted similar, but they were both overwhelmingly acidic.
To the point where I’d say they taste pungent.
And that’s about it. Pretty simple.
Some people might enjoy this, but it’s not my cup of tea for sure… or cup of coffee.
The Good About Stumptown
I really don’t want to sound like such a jerk in this article that all I can do is bash on this ever so popular roaster.
They certainly have their good points too.
I can tell when I taste the coffee that it’s a quality roaster that makes good, fresh coffee.
They just don’t roast it enough!
It was when I was having a good fun coffee chat with a friend of mine that the lightbulb came on for me about why Stumptown probably does things the way they do…
You see, the lighter the roast of a coffee, the more the origin flavors come out.
These are the original flavors that are in the coffee beans that make them unique.
The darker the roast of a coffee, the more it loses its origin flavor and merges into just a general “bold, smoky and dark” flavor.
This is why many coffee experts and aficionados prefer medium roast coffee.
Anyway, there are also many coffee aficionados who are now enjoying light roasts more because the origin flavor is there that much more.
But in my opinion, there are these fine lines between that strong acidity of a very light roast where the origin flavor is strongly present, and a dark roast where it’s only smoky and roasty.
I think that too light of a roast can be a not so good thing just like too dark of a roast can as well.
And Stumptown “errs” on the side of the light roast.
But, here’s the thing, Stumptown is probably trying to cater to people who enjoy the origin flavors and that distinctly light flavor.
And I’m sure there are plenty of people who really enjoy that style of coffee roasting… particularly hipsters…
So these are the things that Stumptown does right.
They use quality coffee, they roast light to keep the origin flavors, and they cater to people who like tasting the origin flavors.
Stumptown is definitely right for some people.
And for other people like me, it’s not right.
But they are super popular, so if you haven’t tried their coffee yet and you do end up giving it a try, you just might like it.
But I’m warning you now, as I did in both of my reviews, that if you don’t like coffee that’s high in acidity, this coffee certainly is not for you.
I think as long as you understand that, you’re good to go.
So the choice is yours if you want to try it or not.
I’m also curious, if you’ve tried any of their coffees, what you think about it, how you like it, and if you agree or disagree with me?
I really try not to be too dogmatic about most things coffee related, but after brewing Stumptown coffee dozens of times, I can certainly say that coffee from this brand is quite a bit more acidic than most other brands and so if you don’t like that, you won’t like it.
When it comes down to anything coffee related… coffee beans, coffee brewers, recipes, ratios, styles, etc… the most important thing is what tastes good for YOU!
I’m just a guide trying to help you figure out what that is and to know how things work in this whole home brewed coffee thing.
I hope you found this article helpful, and with that I’ll say… Kicking Horse Coffee Cheers!