Stumptown Coffee, Ace Hotel (New Orleans)

A beautiful, colourful bag of coffee from Stumptown Coffee Roasters which I swapped for a copy of my book, The Philosophy of Coffee, at Stumptown's New Orleans branch in the Ace Hotel.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.

  • The Ace Hotel on Carondelet Street in New Orleans.
  • It's a very handsome structure, particularly on the ground floor, with its central arch.
  • However, what we are looking for is off to the right...
  • ... and is more clearly seen in this view.
  • In case you haven't worked it out already, it's Stumptown Coffee Roasters!
  • While attached to the hotel, it's actually a standalone single-storey building.
  • There are a couple of tables outside on the pavement, with a handy sign above.
  • If you were following my twitter feed, that's the Hibernia Tower in the background.
  • The door to Stumptown is on the left-hand side...
  • ... while the counter is diagonally opposite, set back on the right-hand side.
  • This leaves a large, open space at the front of Stumptown, which is wall-to-wall windows.
  • There is no seating here, per se, but there is a standing bar in the window.
  • The only seating (in here) is a central communal table, with the counter on the right.
  • Meanwhile, on the left-hand side, is the retail section, followed by the takeaway station.
  • The communal table in the centre of the space...
  • ... beyond which are a pair of open doorways, one on the left, the other at the back.
  • The doorway at the back leads into a pair of seating spaces. The one at the back...
  • ... has another communal table, while the first one has a sofa and armchairs.
  • Alternatively, the door on the left leads through into the lobby. You're welcome...
  • ... to take your coffee through here too, where there are plenty of sofas and armchairs.
  • Indeed, you can always come into Stumptown through the lobby, where the door is...
  • ... at the back on the right, with Stumptown well signposted.
  • Stumptown itself is very well appointed. I liked the writing on the winwdows...
  • ... while I was particularly taken by the lighting structure above the counter.
  • It runs all down the side of the counter, around the corner and along the front.
  • In my head, I took to calling it the 'Loch Ness Monster'.
  • There's a retail selection to the left of the door...
  • There's some merchandising and coffee-brewing kit, but it's mostly bags of coffee.
  • I was particularly taken with the packaging on this one, which was Rashidah's choice.
  • To business. The till is at the front of the counter...
  • ... which is where you'll also find the draft cold brew and similar drinks.
  • The concise menu, meanwhile, is on the wall to your right.
  • Coffee making takes place down the long side of the counter, starting with espresso...
  • ... and followed by a pair of Modbar pour-over systems...
  • ... Stumptown using the Kalita Wave filter with its Modbars.
  • Meanwhile, the shelves behind the counter are lined with all sorts of interesting things.
  • On my first visit, I only had time for a quck espresso, made with the El Jordan...
  • ... a single-origin Colombian which was the guest espresso and barista Rashidah's pick.
  • On my return, I had a pour-over, also made with Rashidah's pick, the El Jordan.
  • Here's my coffee, eyeing up the counter in the background.
  • I paired it with a slice of the orange, walnut and banana bread, which was excellent.
  • Afterwards, I chatted to the staff, who made me an 8oz latte with the Hair Bender blend.
  • Nice latte art.
  • Then they made me a sample of a natural Ethiopian single-origin.
  • Before I left, I swapped my book, The Philosophy of Coffee, for Rashidah's coffee.
Slider Script by v4.6

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 +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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