On one level, Stumptown, the US coffee shop/roaster chain that was founded in Portland, Oregon, needs no introduction. In particular, its partnership with Ace Hotels is well known, with Stumptown’s coffee shops gracing four of Ace’s US hotels. It’s therefore surprising that, prior to today’s Coffee Spot, I’ve only written about two Stumptown branches, both in New York City, one its flagship West 8th Street branch and the other inside the Ace Hotel.
Stumptown’s sole New Orleans coffee shop is one of the four co-located with Ace Hotels. In this case, it’s in the heart of New Orleans’ Central Business District, the coffee shop, a beautifully-appointed, elegant space to the right of the hotel lobby. There’s minimal seating, the hotel lobby providing ample overspill seating.
There’s plenty of choice when it comes to coffee, with the ubiquitous Hair Bender blend on espresso, joined by a guest espresso, which changes every few days. There’s also a batch-brew option, which can change several times a day, while in the morning, the staff will often have two options on at a time, giving you contrasting options. Finally, all four single-origins are available as pour-over using the Modbar system and Kalita Wave filters.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Although I’ve only written about the New York Ace Hotel, I’ve visited the one in Portland, Oregon, making this my third Stumptown/Ace combo. There are similarities to all three, each being a beautifully-appointed space which stands alone as a coffee shop in its own right, rather than being embedded in the hotel itself (eg George Howell in the Godfrey Hotel, Boston).
Sitting at the far right-hand end of the hotel, with its own prominent branding above the windows Stumptown has its own street entrance, although you can also enter via the lobby. The décor, all brass and dark woods, drips elegance, while the layout is a case study in minimalism. Despite occupying a large, high-ceilinged room, there’s just a single, central eight-person communal table, plus a standing bar in the window, overlooking a pair of round, three-person tables on the pavement outside, both bar and tables providing excellent views of the passing streetcars on Carondelet Street.
Stumptown occupies a large, open, rectangular west-facing space. A glass door is inset on the left, with four, tall windows occupying the remaining space to the right, small, square glass panes above, making the front almost entirely glass. The first three windows contain the standing bar, while the fourth, in the right-hand corner, is free. There’s a chiller cabinet against the right-hand wall, and then comes the counter, a magnificent affair running almost the full length of the wall. The till is at the front, along with the taps for the cold crew, and an in-built cake display case. The counter’s long side has the espresso machine, with twin grinders, followed by a pair of Modbar pour-over modules. Batch-brew, meanwhile, is against the wall behind the counter.
The communal table occupies the centre of the remaining space, running lengthways front-to-back, while the left-hand wall is given over to a small merchandising/retail section next to the door, with a longer takeaway and water station beyond that, stretching to an open doorway at the back which leads to the hotel’s large, well-appointed lobby.
Of course, you’re welcome to take your coffee through into the lobby, which has its own bar and multiple sofas clustered around low coffee tables. Alternatively, head through the open doorway in Stumptown’s back wall to a pair of spacious and equally minimalist back rooms, one behind the other, simultaneously part of hotel and coffee shop. The first has a sofa and comfortable chairs, while the second has another long, communal table.
I visited twice, first popping in on my lunch-break on Tuesday, then returning the following afternoon. On my first, brief, visit, I had the guest espresso, a Colombian El Jordan single-origin, which was the pick of my barista, Rashidah. The following afternoon, I tried it as a pour-over, paired with a slice of orange, walnut and banana bread. Normally, I would expect something like this to be toasted, but in this case, it really didn’t need toasting, proving to be quite delightful as it was, rich, moist and packed full of walnuts.
I enjoyed my espresso on the first day, the El Jordan producing a well-balanced cup. However, it really came into its own as a pour-over. Served in a standard diner mug, there were fruity hints early on, while sweeter, nutty notes developed as it cooled.
Rashidah, her colleague Caroline and the manager, Kyle, were all wonderfully friendly and engaging, as well as putting me onto Woodcat Coffee Bar in Los Angeles. While chatting with them, I also tried the Hair Bender blend in 8oz latte, plus a natural Ethiopian single-origin pour-over, both on the house. The latte was lovely, sweet and smooth, much as I remember the Hair Bender, while the Ethiopian was delicious and fruity.
|ACE HOTEL • 610 CARONDELET STREET • NEW ORLEANS • LA 70130 • USA|
|www.stumptowncoffee.com||+1 855 711 3385|
|Monday||07:00 – 19:00||Roaster||Stumptown (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||07:00 – 19:00||Seating||Table, Standing Window-Bar
Tables (outside); Lobby
|Wednesday||07:00 – 19:00||Food||Cakes|
|Thursday||07:00 – 19:00||Service||Counter|
|Friday||07:00 – 19:00||Cards||Amex, Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||07:00 – 19:00||Wifi||Free|
|Chain||National||Visits||9th, 10th April 2019|
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