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Coffee City

Melissa Allison follows the world's biggest coffee-shop chain and other Seattle caffeine purveyors.

March 9, 2010 at 9:37 AM

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Time magazine asks, 'Is Stumptown the New Starbucks -- or Better?'

Posted by Melissa Allison

"What all the third wave coffee people have in common is a thinly veiled revulsion at Starbucks and its rivals, in particular the way they overroast their beans," Josh Ozersky writes in Time magazine.

His description of third wave coffee -- a term even die-hard third wavers can't agree about --sidesteps the sticky definition and gets right into personality: "Wait, you haven't heard of the third wave? Get with the program! In cities across America, a fervid generation of caffeine evangelists are changing the way we drink coffee. They tend to be male, heavily bearded, zealous and meticulous in what they do. And the coffee they produce is as much an improvement over Starbucks and its rivals as Starbucks was over Taster's Choice."

Besides quoting Stumptown founder Duane Sorenson, Ozersky lists Intelligentsia, Counter Culture and Dallis Coffee as third wavers, saying they "were seeking to import beans from single farms, roasting them less rather than more and generally doing the things that separate this movement from its Seattle-based progenitors in the '70s."

It's a quick and lively look at the third wave, with no mention of present-day Seattle, as if Starbucks is all we have to offer. Have we really fallen that far, or did Time just forget to mention Espresso Vivace and other great Seattle roasters?

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