Thursday, Dec. 09, 2010

Third-Wave Coffee

Conservatives who mocked Obama during the presidential election as a venti-latte-sipping elitist were far behind the curve: the real elitists would never dream of polluting themselves with the overroasted and morally questionable beans from the likes of Starbucks. A new wave of coffee importers and roasters, who are to Starbucks as Starbucks was to Maxwell House, have hit America with a jolt and might soon be coming to a neighborhood near you. They are serving single-estate, fair-trade, highly regional coffees, tasting of a particular terroir. (Stumptown, of Portland, Ore., even lists the plantation's elevation on the bag.) Blue Bottle, Intelligentsia, Counter Culture and — most of all — Stumptown are leading the way to a new generation of red-eyed American gourmands.