Stumptown Coffee NYC: What A Wait

Stumptown Coffee

I am an espresso aficionado and I am proud to say that I own a Nespresso machine. Those things don’t really go together as many would argue that real espresso can’t come from a capsule. I agree with that to some extent. I’ve purchased all the Nespresso flavors and have yet to find one that tastes like one freshly prepared by a barista. Indeed, I can’t tell the difference among the flavors, except to say that some colors are prettier than others. Still, for the amount of prep work and cost, nothing can beat my $99 coffee machine.

Enter my experience at Stumptown Coffee. Located at the Ace Hotel in Midtown, this coffee shop was absurdly busy. The line to order stretched outside of the shop into the hotel lobby. I asked the guys in front of me if it was worth the wait for coffee and they said most definitely.

Fifteen minutes later, I had put in my order for a double espresso and stood around waiting to see what the hype was about. “Soy cappuccino for Jimmy, Latte [inexplicable] for Jamie.” One by one pretty coffee drinks with epic froth were being served by the coffee team. As the announcements rang out, I stood around wondering when my simple coffee would be prepared. I never understood why coffee shops including Starbucks don’t make the espresso first and the complex mocha doubleshot, half cow, half goat’s milk after.

I was not the only one growing impatient. The guy in front of me who had boasted about the coffee abruptly told the barista to cancel his order as he could not wait a moment longer.

Finally, ‘double espresso’ was announced and the moment of truth had arrived. I can’t lie.The espresso was really good, a perfect mix of sour and java. Still, I can’t rationalize coming here on a daily basis to get my caffeine fix. New York is supposed to be a fast-paced city where no one has an extra moment to spare. Somehow, that does not apply at Stumptown, an energized coffee shop that operates on its own schedule.

Hard to be cheery when you wait an eternity


  1. Welcome to little Oregonian (hippie and weird) cultural coffee shop in busy city. I never been Stumptown in NYC but in Portland, the beervana.
    Stumptown coffee and maple bacon donuts (from voodoo donut) are not our daily breakfast, but I have to say “try it”; at least once in your life. You will feel why Oregonian love Oregon and you will love this “not average” city.

    anyways, if you like Stumptown in your place, please come to Oregon. Our warm spirits will welcome you and wish to share our warmth. 🙂

    But do not forget to come to Oregon – in summer, unless you really really like rains :p

  2. Stay here long enough and you’ll figure it out – lines are for tourists and folks who haven’t figured it out yet. There are so many places now with above average espresso now – Everyman, gasoline ally, Toby’s estate even bk roasters.

    I 2nd Portland being a great 2nd tier US city. Worth a visit but my understanding is that it’s blown up a little too much over the last couple of years.

  3. Grumpys! The one in Grand Central is good. And the coffee is great. I bought 2 pounds of beans there last time (I have a home espresso set up), and cant wait to get more!

  4. The real beejer is right. There are so many coffee shops now in Manhattan that’s like Stumptown or even better. If I see a line, I’d just look for next best alternative. Irving Farm and Joe are another 2 good coffee shops I’d recommend. Prologue Coffee in Chinatown gets their beans from Toby’s Estate and their pour-over method and Yama (a Japanese drip method) are done really well if you have time and like your coffee like that.

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