Welcome to another Coffeeneuring ride! My first adventure for the 2020 challenge was a bit “extra”, brewing coffee on the beach at Cape Disappointment. And I’ll understand if you’re a bit disappointed that this one is more mundane…
I have a regular errands loop that I do once to twice a week. It usually consists of picking up mail (Emee’s biz mailbox and my P.O. Box), dropping off film to get developed at Citizens Photo, and usually one or two other things. For the loop I did on Monday October 19, I decided that I’d pick up some coffee to go as sitting inside a coffee shop during COVID doesn’t feel right, and many places are only doing take out. Since it’s right next to the pizza joint I like to frequent for a slice* I decided to hit up Stumptown Coffee Roasters at SE Belmont and 34th.
Stumptown has been a big deal in the international coffee scene for the last couple decades. It’s one of the progenitors of the “Third Wave” of coffee, where unique beans and direct trade became big deals. It was also the start of cafes putting more emphasis on non-espresso drinks, which was the big deal of your typical eighties through nineties college campus coffee shops.**
I’ve seen Stumptown evolve over the years. When I moved here in 2001, they were very strict–you couldn’t buy beans from anywhere but a Stumptown location and only a select few other cafes could use their beans. In fact, the baristas at these cafes had to be trained by Stumptown. The reasoning was Stumptown wanted to be known as “quality” wherever their coffee was served–they didn’t want you to dislike their beans because you got a bad cup from an indifferent barista at a random cafe somewhere. And you could not get Stumptown outside of Portland. Over the years, that policy has softened considerably, as I’ve had bad cups of Stumptown from indifferent baristas at random cafes. They also opened several cafes outside of town (New York has two) and are no longer locally owned. Oh well.
Still, Stumptown is a Portland institution, and you’ll get a great cup if you go to one of their cafes. While they have never been my go-to coffee shop, I’ll still hit them up every once in awhile. And today was that day.
I got a cup of their standard French Press coffee to go.*** Due to this current pandemic, I got it handed to me in a paper cup, which I transferred to my travel mug. It was a short ride to Laurelhurst Park, where I enjoyed that smooth cup of coffee and my slice of pizza while watching folks enjoy the park.
Two rides down, five more to go!
By the numbers/letters:
- Bike: Raleigh Superbe
- Distance: 12.5 miles
- Temperature: 64F/18C
- This ride was also part of the Three Speed October 2020 Challenge, being Week 3, Ride 3 (aka my last ride)
*Thankfully they are still doing slices, as many other pizzerias are now full-pie only.
**Espresso-based drinks were still a big deal at cafes when I moved to Portland. I remember being frustrated when I’d visit my first favorite neighborhood cafe on a Sunday morning: I’d have to wait behind five people for over twenty minutes while they put in their elaborate beverage orders, when all I wanted was a cup of drip.
***Stumptown doesn’t do drip coffee, so if you want “just a coffee”, it’ll be French Press.