Look ma, no espresso!


Last May during my NYC coffee tour, I attempted to visit Stumptown’s roastery in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Sadly they were closed for the day. But Now I’ve got even more of a reason to go back. Last Friday they opened a new coffee bar in their Red Hook location, but without the most common centerpiece of coffee shops—the espresso machine. In response to the seemingly odd decision to exclude espresso from the menu, Stumptown told the New York Times:

“We’re going all-brew because that’s how most people make coffee,” said Duane Sorenson, the owner of Stumptown. “At our coffee bar in Red Hook we’re putting the focus on the bag of coffee and showing our customers how to brew that coffee correctly,” he added. –NYTimes

Instead of focusing on pulled shots and latte art, the new brew bar will offer coffee in 6 different ways: French press, Chemex, Hario V60 pour over, Melitta fliters, AeroPress, and the Clever Coffee Dripper. By making each cup of coffee individually, and by using methods that can be a cathartic spectacle, it allows the barista time to educate the customer while selling them coffee and the means  they need to brew it right.

This is another great example of Stumptown doing what they know best and executing it really well. I find it interesting, just returning from Europe where most places don’t offer drip coffee—the closest you can get is an Americano—that Stumptown creates the complete opposite environment. It’s definitely a great strategy and shows they know their market well. I know way more people who own a French press than an espresso machine. The guys at Kickstand and Jim Seven at Penny University didn’t seem to have a problem keeping busy without espresso, so I doubt Stumptown will either.

Photos via Mike at Shot Zombies. More photos there and on the NYTimes.

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  • Reply Mike 09/30/2010 at 6:20 pm

    One of the local Tampa roasters/coffee shop is a coffee only place too. At first I was worried that it wouldn’t be around for long, but it seems there’s a lot of people who are more than willing to come in for just a cup of quality coffee. I thought that it was going to be only me and a handful of others. Luckily, I was wrong.

  • Reply Brittany 12/28/2012 at 9:33 pm

    My friends and I are wanting to open up a very small place in our town, (seriously very small, contained inside of a microcinema in wv) only serving a couple kinds of locally roasted coffee brewed fresh shortly after grinding, and I want to thank you for showing me other places that have succeeded so far in doing a shop sans espresso. :) (It actually came to us after watching Alton Brown make his “man coffee”, a video I highly recommend.)

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