Stumptown: Leading America’s new wave of hat-wearing, beard-having, coffee enthusiasts

The last time I was in New York for work, I planned to begin my first day the same way I would start my days in Melbourne, with a good coffee in a city café while listening to nice tunes on my iPod. I was horrified when I arrived to work and had two choices – Starbucks or a seedy looking breakfast joint serving filtered coffee out of a tap. The latter had a longer line so I regrettably chose to buy my coffee there.

When I arrived to my first meeting, the topic of coffee came up. I complained about the bad coffee to my colleague and to my surprise he said ‘you should have gone to Starbucks, they have the best coffee!’ That’s when I realised that perhaps I was lucky living in Melbourne where I could take good coffee for granted.

The coffee situation in Amsterdam is not much better considering how close it is to Italy but it’s not all bad, it just means that I now enjoy a good cup of tea in the morning as an alternative 🙂 I do have my favourite cafes in Amsterdam like de Koffie Salon and I once had an exceptional coffee at Sid Lee’s pop-up café Stumptown, but alas that closed down after a short time.

You can imagine my delight when I heard that there was a Stumptown in the lobby of our New York hotel, the Ace.

They have good coffee there but that’s not the most interesting thing. The interesting thing is the way they present their good coffee to the customer. There’s a theme without the cheese associated with themes – a kind of early 20th century America with a modern twist. All of the barista’s are sporting flat caps and beards or fascinators and tattoos with local art displayed around the café and a range of independent tunes playing in the background. Very cool and very well paired with the equally cool Ace Hotel.

It’s a positive thing this new wave of American café. It raises the bar for good coffee and given the effect that chains like Starbucks have had on the world, hopefully Stumptown can do a similar thing and make quality coffee available to the rest of the less educated coffee nations of the world. It will be very interesting though, to see how well Stumptown is able to expand and provide scalable coffee to their current high standards, because this is the tricky thing to get right, I’m sure!

For those of you who want to try Stumptown’s coffee making techniques at home and can actually get their hands on good beans, they have instructions for the perfect espresso on their website.

Stumptown New York City: 18 W 29th Street (near Broadway) New York, NY 10001

Ace Hotel New York:  20 W 29th Street (near Broadway) New York, NY 10001

13 Responses to “Stumptown: Leading America’s new wave of hat-wearing, beard-having, coffee enthusiasts”
  1. Mary Sue says:

    I’m always interested in the way people outside of Portland, Oregon view our hometown roaster Stumptown. Here, it’s considered to be a small step up from Starbucks– sure, it’s good, but you can’t turn around without hitting a cafe serving it with an extra side of pretentiousness, and the small-batch roaster cafes that are on every other corner are even better.

    I’m hoping in the next year to get down to Australia and see firsthand what your coffee culture is like.

    • jennynoowyn says:

      Wow, Portland must have really great coffee then! I have been curious lately about Portland… there seems to be quite a lot of cool stuff coming out of that city. I will have to visit it next time I’m in the States..

      You must go to Melbourne for coffee, it’s the Portland of Australia. Food is amazing there too 🙂

  2. Marly says:

    Great post. Loved the heart cream on your coffee. I’m not a coffee drinker, but I love the smell of it. And tea. Mmmm, tea. This makes me think I want to go to Portland soon…

  3. That coffee is so beautiful. It brings back memories of Italy. Only fancier! Sigh….

  4. Lisa says:

    In New Zealand I think we take our normally excellent coffee for granted too. We have so many fantastic little cafes that roast their own beans and make a mighty fine brew. The coffee is good and has character! If starbucks is the “best” .. that is a sad state of affairs indeed. When I was in the US last I found it impossible to find a decent cup of coffee and don’t even get me started on a decent cup of hot tea!

  5. lovely post and beautiful cup of coffee
    I usually take tea and nescafe we have different types of coffee strong not sold at starbucks 🙂
    visit me sometimes

  6. Oh to have my coffee in Italy, everyday of my life! *sigh* Sorry – never will be a Charbucks, sorry, I mean, Starbucks fan *bleeeaacchhh*

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