Sump Coffee, Nashville

The Sump Coffee logo, a line drawing of a bald, bearded skull with a branch and portafilter crossed behind it.Continuing the retelling of my American road trip through the medium of coffee shops, we started our second day in Nashville, Tennessee, where I sought out Sump Coffee. Our first stop, Niedlov’s Cafe & Bakery in Chattanooga, was a chance discovery, but Sump Coffee was a planned stop, one of several places that I wanted to visit along the way. The Nashville coffee shop is the second of two Sump Coffees, which started life in Saint Louis, where the original coffee shop/roastery is still going strong.

Part of the modern OneC1ty development, Sump Coffee was one of the first tenants when it opened in 2017. It occupies a spacious, high-ceilinged unit with lots of inside seating and plenty more outside. When it comes to coffee, which is all roasted on the 10 kg Diedrich roaster in the back of the Saint Louis store, you really are spoilt for choice, with three single-origins on espresso, six/seven more on pour-over and, if you’re there before 11 o’clock, you can have batch brew too. All the beans are for sale in retail bags, along with a selection of coffee-making equipment and merchandising. Meanwhile, if you’re hungry, there’s a selection cakes and pastries.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • OneC1ty in Nashville. While you can't see it, this building is home to Sump Coffee.
  • To get there, go along the side of the building, past the Italian restaurant, Pasteria.
  • Keep going, past this outdoor table...
  • ... and this interesting water feature, before turning the corner to your right, where...
  • ... you'll find Sump Coffee. There's a single four-person table to the left of the pillar...
  • ... with three more tables and their bright red chairs along the building's left-hand side.
  • The view the other way, back towards the corner. The door to Sump is tucked in on the left.
  • As well as the table to the left (out of shot), there are two high tables to the right.
  • Stepping inside, this set of drawers/retail table greets you as you enter.
  • You have to go round it to get to the seating, or, alternatively, the counter is on the right.
  • To the right of this, behind you as you enter, is another seating area, with more tall tables.
  • There's a separate door to the building back here. This is the view looking back into Sump.
  • A different view of the tall tables.
  • You can also sit at the end of the counter if you want. There are four stools in all.
  • The bulk of the seating is in front of the counter, with two rows of tables, one running...
  • ... along the windows which line the left-hand side of Sump, the other down the middle.
  • Both rows end against the back wall, the tables slightly offset in both cases.
  • All the tables are for two, but can be pushed together to form sets of four.
  • The artwork, which is very distinctive, is based on Sump's owner.
  • If you like it, check out the merchandising!
  • As well as bags of coffee for sale, Sump also has a selection of coffee-making kit...
  • ... along with a grab and go cooler, which has yogurt as well as drinks.
  • And talking of drinks, there's also this neat water urn.
  • You order at the front section of the counter, where you'll find more retail bags...
  • ... as well as the menu, with its multiple choices on espresso and pour-over.
  • All the shots are pulled on the Kees van der Westen Spirit espresso machine to the left...
  • ... although you get a good enough look at the business end from the till.
  • This allowed me to indulge in one of my favourite activities: watching espresso extract.
  • As lovely as it looked, it wasn't for me. I'd actually ordered a pour-over, which was...
  • ... being prepared to my right on the Poursteady automated system. This reproduces...
  • ... a manual pour-over, starting with the rinsing of the filter papers.
  • While this is going on, the coffee (in predosed tins to the left) is ground in the EK43.
  • Once the ground coffee has been placed in the rinsed filter paper, it's ready to go.
  • The little tap moves around, mimicking the action of someone pouring. Click the picture...
  • ... for a video of the Poursteady in action.
  • The tap also moves along between the three V60s, pouring into each in turn.
  • It's quite fun to watch it whizzing around between the V60s. Click for another video.
  • The coffee is served in the carafe, with a cup on the side. We ordered three pour-overs...
  • ... between us and I could pretend that these three pictures are one of each, but they...
  • ... are all of my coffee, the Kenya Karindundu AB.
  • Before we left, I offered the staff a choice of one of these four bags of coffee.
  • The staff selected Joe Coffee’s Turihamwe, a washed coffee from Burundi, which they...
  • ... brewed up there and then, offering me a sample, which is where I'll leave you.
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OneC1ty is west of downtown Nashville, just southeast of the I-440/I-40 interchange, so we didn’t have to contend with downtown traffic/parking. It’s just across the railroad tracks from Centennial Park and the Nashville Parthenon, where we spent a pleasant afternoon. However, while finding OneC1ty, with its two-hour free parking, was easy enough, finding Sump Coffee itself was another matter.

Tucked away down the side of the right-hand of the two large buildings on the south side of City Boulevard, Sump Coffee isn’t visible from the street. However, if you walk between the two buildings, past the water feature, then keep the right, you’ll reach Sump. On the ground floor of the modern glass and concrete building, Sump occupies a rectangular, glass-walled extension which pushes out a little way into the open expanse in front of it, making it hard to miss once you get there.

The door to Sump is ahead of you, towards the right of the short wall of the extension. There’s a single table to the left of the door and two high tables to the right, along with wall of Pastaria, an Italian restaurant, which is in the front part of the building. There are more tables here, but they belong to the restaurant. However, before you decide to take a seat anyway, pop around the corner of Sump, where you’ll find three four-person tables along the longer, left-hand wall, the last one in the welcome shade of a tree.

There’s more seating inside, where Sump occupies an interesting space. You’re greeted by a row of drawers, acting as a retail table, which blocks your progress. The seating is ahead of you, behind the drawers, with two rows of two-person tables (some of which are pushed together to form sets of four), complete with bright red chairs. One row is along the windows to your left, while the other runs up the middle of the space.

The counter is off to the right, an irregular, multi-part affair with a row of four tall stools at the front end, ideal for barista watching. A final seating area is behind you and to the right as you enter. It has two more of the high tables that we encountered outside, one four-person and one for two. Beyond this is another door which provides access from the interior of the building.

You order from the middle section of the counter, with the Kees van der Westen Spirit espresso machine to your left and the  Poursteady automatic pour-over system (which I’d previously only seen before in Intelligentsia in Chicago) to the right. You’re really spoilt for choice at Sump, with an impressive selection of three single-origin choices on espresso and seven more on pour-over (although one of each was sold out when I visited). A new coffee is added every week or two, meaning that the whole menu rotates out every few months.

Amanda, Len and I all went for pour-overs, opting for the Guatemala El Nogal, Guatemala Canoguitas and Kenya Karindundu AB respectively. All the coffee was made on the Poursteady through the V60 and was brought out to us in carafes with cups on the side. Len enjoyed his first cup, but found that it developed considerable acidity as it cooled, not something he likes in his coffee. My Kenyan had some interesting tomato notes which developed as it cooled. In contrast to Len, I really loved my coffee when it was cold! Amanda was working, so I didn’t bug her for tasting notes. I did try her coffee though and thoroughly enjoyed it, probably more so than mine!


Before we departed, I offered the staff a choice of one of four bags of coffee. These were from New York (Joe Coffee), Brooklyn (Café Grumpy), Wayne (Cabana Coffee Company) and Atlanta (Bellwood Coffee). After considerable deliberation, the staff selected Joe Coffee’s Turihamwe, a washed coffee from Burundi, which they brewed up there and then. Since I hadn’t tried it before, they offered me a sample, the Turihamwe turning out to be a lovely coffee with plenty of body.

8 CITY BOULEVARD • NASHVILLE • TN 37209 • USA
www.sumpcoffee.com +1 615 678 1286
Monday 07:00 – 17:00 Roaster Sump Coffee (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 07:00 – 17:00 Seating Tables, Counter; Tables (outside)
Wednesday 07:00 – 17:00 Food Cake
Thursday 07:00 – 17:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 07:00 – 17:00 Payment Cash + Cards
Saturday 07:00 – 17:00 Wifi Free (with code)/Free (outside)
Sunday 07:00 – 17:00 Power No
Chain Regional Visits 4th October 2022

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