Stumptown Coffee
Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 10:53 AM | Ethan Kahn
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Stumptown Coffee Roasters
20 West 29th Street, right off of Broadway


After reading this article about Stumptown Coffee Roasters in yesterdays NY Times, I had to try it out. So, on my way to work this morning, I stopped in for a cup. The atmosphere was quiet and clean, with a combined feel of an apothecary shop circa 1910 and a minimalist apartment circa 2000. The look of the baristas was also perfect; with vests and fedoras being sported all around, they resembled saloon keeps from somewhere in Nevada at the turn of the 20th century. All this was combined with an incredibly sleek and modern coffee bar and coffee machines. As you can probably tell, I really dug the atmosphere, and therefore really didn’t mind the five minute wait for coffee (the line went out of the shop and into the lobby of the Ace Hotel, in which Stumptown inhabits).

And on top of all this, how was my espresso? Fantastic. Amazing. One of the best, if not the best and most interesting espresso’s that I have ever had. The level of flavor in this tiny shot was mind blowing. It was tart and slightly sour, which, as was pointed out to me by a chef friend, is a very desirable and rarely found thing in a cup of espresso. Past the tart first taste was a further lingering amount of flavor that I have never tasted in a cup of coffee. It tasted like coffee, sure, but that was only one flavor. The first thing I thought of wasn’t the usual roasted, chocolate, toasty, slightly burned flavors normally associated with coffee, but a light flavor of berries (I thought blackberries at first but that was probably because of the color of the coffee, which I will wax poetically on in a minute). This shot of espresso was so magnificently flavored, with such depth and uniqueness, that I will, without a doubt, be purchasing another as soon as I can. The color of the coffee, while really not important, was an awesome combination of light and warm browns, swirling on the surface of the jet black liquid, which turned out to really be the color of a dark, dark brown ale.

The price for this cup of magnificence? $2.50, beyond a reasonable price for a shot of espresso in any random coffee shop, probably the average price. Stumptown also featured an array of pastries which I did not sample, but which looked very good. One specific one which I will probably get in the future resembled a soft pretzel, with large grains of salt on top.

To top it off, all of the employees were well mannered, all espressos come as double shots, standard, and it’s on my way to work. If you still have any reservations about this place, go to their website and check out their philosophy and dedication to producing a cup of excellent coffee, preserve and promote rare and exotic coffee beans and varieties, and strive to pay coffee producing regions fair prices and decent wages.

Tags: Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Ace Hotel, Coffee Shop, Manhattan Restaurant Reviews