7. Stumptown, Various Locations


Throw Stumptown into the great coffee debate, and you'll get a variety of opinions. Some love it, some hate it. Some say it doesn't deserve to be called a great coffee shop, that it's gone corporate. Yet our panelists ranked Stumptown higher than the majority of coffee shops and above the six nominated coffee chains for its quality of coffee, atmosphere, and customer service.

No doubt that Stumptown was the game-changer in the field of coffee; what Starbucks is to Seattle, Stumptown is to Portland. Portland Food and Drink put it best: "Love 'em or loathe them, Stumptown has given Portland a reputation as a serious coffee city, and has turned the industry upside down by cultivating consumers to demand higher quality, and to push cafes into being willing to provide it. Stumptown realized early on that great beans were nothing if the beverages made from them were poorly executed. They have insisted on intense -- some might say rigid -- training, equipment programs and wholesale buying requirements."

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