So I've read some reviews on here and while I agree with some points, there are a lot that are less than true overall. Disclaimer: Everyone has an opinion I get it (this is still America right?), and this is mine.
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Yeah, the music is not always the "best" choice at 11am (how do you possibly please everyone all of the time?), but if it's a problem for you get an ipod, a laptop, or a walkman and listen to your own. I listen to my own music, but when something good comes on I take my headphones off and rock out.
As far as the service goes... "you get what you give". This is a "busyness" meaning that it gets slammed more often than not. Now you pencil pushing, office space types who work in corporate America and think that going to Stumptown will somehow up your "in the know" and "cool factor" need to get back into your SUV, call someone on your cellphone, nearly run over a bike rider, and find a Starbucks for your triple shot, vanilla soy, latte with non fat milk (as if all the sugar doesn't concern you, but the fat content of your milk does). If you knew anything about coffee you would know that less is more, sugar covers up the taste of the bean, and that whole milk brings out the taste of the coffee better than skim, or fat free milk.
I've been going to the Stumptown on 3rd for the better part of 6 months and have begun to establish an identity as a "regular". Now what does that get me? Name recognition, great service (they all know that I drink a whole milk cappuccino and the only variable is whether it is for here or to go), and an occasional free drink (sorry, I don't believe in carrying a card for my tenth drink on the house).
In my experience everyone there has been nothing short of polite and professional. You want more than run of the mill customer service? Try tipping, or not spending your time in line on your phone and then disrespecting the cashier and everyone else in line by not knowing what it is you want. If you don't know about coffee don't act like you do, or if it is your first time there don't act like you're so cool for showing other people. Ask questions, be nice, and if you give respect than you will often get it in return.
Now I am not an employee, but work in customer service at the "Friendliest Store in Town" and I can tell you that "being on", or living up to that mantra is quite the task. Everyone has a bad day, experience, or occasional attitude, but give them another shot and if it really isn't your bag then go somewhere else. Portland is not short on good coffee, or places that serve it.
I highly recommend Barista (Billy schooled me on coffee in the nicest way and got me hooked on cappuccinos), The Albina Press where Ben is spot on with his service and coffee, and Tiny's where they actually asked me if I wanted my cap "wet, or with more foam".
Last but certainly not least the staff are some of the best looking people in the city. So what if they have piercings, tattoos, and wear skinny jeans (you don't have to). My three favorite baristas happen to be women and I consider them to be coffee goddesses in the images of Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. Cory, Ian, Sarah, and everyone else that I have met there are top notch; and that's why I'll keep coming back.