If you want to feel like a true NYC hipster, you know that fancy coffee is a top priority. And no one in Manhattan does coffee better than the highly-touted Stumptown Coffee Roasters.
New Yorkers sleep in on Sundays—almost no stores other than coffee joints are open at 7AM on a lazy Sunday morning, but in spite of this (or maybe because of it), Stumptown is hopping. It’s right on 29th street, but it can be hard to spot, especially before your first cup of coffee—just keep an eye open for the big window with a wooden bar right inside and people sipping coffee and having civilized conversations.
While Stumptown’s headquarters are out in Portland, Oregon, they have a few coffee shop locations throughout the country, and Manhattan has two: one on 29th Street and the other a bit farther down on 8th.
Inside, you’ll be greeted (or hip-ly ignored) by men with epic moustaches and ponytails, and women with fantastic full sleeve tattoos. The menu is simple—coffee, lattes, cappuccinos and Americanos—and a small selection of pastries and baked goods, but it’s minimal for a reason: the focus is all about the coffee. That’s why the only long menu in the place lists all of the various roasts that they have available, from all over the world. If it’s available, try one of their more classic, well-known blends: The Hairbender. What they say about it: “a complex blend featuring coffee from all three of the major growing regions; Latin America, East Africa and Indonesia. We devote constant attention to Hair Bender and are proud of its status as our most popular coffee… Unlike many other espressos of the world, Hair Bender features fully washed coffee as its backbone, and can have five to eight different coffees at any given time.” Because it’s an espresso mix, it’s perfect for a cappuccino or an Americano, so definitely ask for it if it’s in stock.
The Americanos come out just right, with enough water that it’s not a shot of espresso, but not so watery that it’s just a cup of coffee. The tastes are complex and rich, and even someone who survives largely on crappy diner coffee will notice a difference in flavor between this and a coffee from 7-11.
The crowd in the store varies from young professionals to tourist-types to the ultimate NYC hipsters, and each time I’ve been there, it’s been pretty substantially packed, but the quality of my coffee has never suffered. Their cappuccinos are always a work of art, so if you’re craving something ultra-indulgent, that’s a great choice. The cookies (when they’re not sold out) are just big enough to satisfy a sweet tooth without leaving you feeling guilty.
Love it and want to take some home? They sell their roasts by the pound—with pretty reasonable pricing—as well as coffee accessories, in case you’re staying in a hotel in the city and forgot your French Press (gasp!).
Don’t expect to find a spot to sit, since seating is incredibly limited. This is more of a mid-ride slump buster, or a quick stop pre-ride or run to get caffeinated. It’s open until 8PM, so if you’re fading fast at six, it’s a good spot to go before heading out to dinner.