Coffeeshop perks include way more than perks


I am a loyal customer of Stumptown Coffee, the Portland, Ore. boutique roaster which is famous for its passionate owner, Duane Sorenson, and his commitment to coffee (he once set a record for paying a lot for coffee beans, $47.06 per pound for the Nicaraguan Los Golondrinas beans).

It's also famous for its funky baristas. And today in a story about Stumptown's expansion into New York City -- he's opening a roastery in Brooklyn's Red Hook neighborhood, and soon a cafe at the New York Ace Hotel, on Broadway and 29th Street -- I read more about why, exactly, those baristas are so funky and superior.

Their benefits are awesome. While Starbucks is, it's true, a leader among quick service cafes in its treatment of employees, Stumptown goes so many steps further that the job must be the most sought-after in the artsy community. Here's the kicker: you can take time off when your band goes on tour. Yes. That is an actual job benefit. What's more, you won't lose your health insurance while you're playing gigs in Ashland, Ore., or Laramie, Wy., or wherever.

And yes: you get health insurance as a barista at Stumptown. Sorenson describes one of the reasons he wanted to open a New York outlet as a perk for employees: "the move to New York was inspired by the lack of specialty coffee in New York, as well as being able to offer some of our employees an opportunity to spend some time (and work) in New York." His thinking: when his employees decide to go to New York (for an artist residency maybe?), they'll need a day job. "Perks" also include perks: regular Stumpown "cuppings" (like the one pictured above) to keep employees' coffee knowledge current, and of course, the coffee.