Stumptown Coffee vs. Starbucks

Stumptown Coffee
Stumptown Coffee Shop, Portland

Being a fan of great coffee, it’s interesting to see a rivalry between Portland and Seattle’s universally well-known coffee chain, Starbucks. Stumptown certainly seems to be taking coffee to a new level, reminiscent of the high-end wine market.

The company, which recently opened a plant in Brooklyn, routinely pays more at auction for prized lots of coffee beans than anyone else, offers more single-origin coffees than anyone (20 at the New York plant) and is at the forefront of nearly every new-coffee frontier: espresso-delivery technology, international partnerships and generally changing the idea of coffee from a staple commodity, like corn or sugar, to something closer to wine, with seasons and terroir and varietals as different as Burgundy chardonnay and Austrian riesling. —