I have to be honest: I was super excited about Stumptown opening up in L.A. To me, it meant that this city had near unlimited growth in the coffee market. I found it interesting that a lot of the San Francisco roasters have essentially neglected planting any operations in L.A., but a Chicago and now Portland roaster have found it worth of setting up shop here. That said, it's easy to come off a little underwhelmed by their cafe in the Arts District. It's a straightforward set up with very good espresso and a great drip coffee. Some baked goods by Sugarbloom, which is amazing and creative. And a massive 60 kilo roaster for all to see. I guess what I'm realizing is that what else can coffee be but a very solid product that's something that needs to be experienced time and again to really appreciate.
If you look at Handsome Coffee nearby, they've used this very simple formula to set up a vast network of wholesale clients and a solid reputation in the city, though people still give them heartache about not having any sugar at their cafe. It's just sugar, people. Anyway, at Stumptown, they've got a swell little setup that should be a huge boon for the massive numbers of people living in the Arts District (not really). I love that they opened there, but I also wish more roasters would have some balls and open cafes in infill areas like what Caffe Vita did in Silver Lake and what G&B/Go Get Em Tiger (best name for a coffee shop, by the way) have done in Downtown and Larchmont. I mean, no one ever though Larchmont needed another coffee shop, but it sure needed a great one. And I believe Go Get Em Tiger is one of, if not, the best place to experience coffee in a completely new light in Los Angeles.
Back to Stumptown, the roaster is now up and running in Los Angeles, which means we'll see more Stumptown in coffee bars and restaurants across the city. Better, locally roasted coffee in more places means the entire market will start to move upwards. Sure there's that weird backlash of people who are convinced that their local Starbucks or old school coffee roaster is the best one ever. People are oddly very territorial when it comes to coffee. I'm not sure why. But I think having a truly great, nationally recognized roaster plant its feet in Los Angeles means that our city's in the big leagues. It's not quite Portland or San Francisco, but it's getting close. And mean heck L.A. is many times bigger than either of those cities. (PDX: 600K, SF: 900K, LA: 4 Million)