Your Morning Cup of Coffee
Two coffee bars opening in Manhattan reflect this ascendant interest in brewed coffee. This week Stumptown Coffee Roasters reveals its most ambitious project to date. The company spent nearly $1 million to transform a neglected Greenwich Village storefront (it was once the Eighth Street Bookshop, a literary hangout that closed in 1979) into a coffee shop with unusually sumptuous details: coffered ceiling, walnut bar, custom wallpaper screened by hand in Portland, Ore. The shop includes a separate brew bar, where you may order any coffee in the catalog prepared on your choice of gadget, including AeroPress, Bee House, Chemex, French press, siphon and V60.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters, which is based out of Portland, Ore. and Intelligentsia Coffee, based out of Chicago, are expanding their locations in New York and flying their coffee nerd flags fast and hard.
I once interviewed Mike Phillips—the first American to win the title of World Barista Champion—from Intelligentsia Coffee to talk about what being a coffee nerd is all about. He taught me to always check the roast date on coffee bags and not to buy anything more than a week old. He taught me never to buy coffee “blends” like “Holiday Blend” or “Morning Blend” because roasters usually take leftover old coffee beans, mix them together and market them as blends to sell them to customers. He taught me that you can make pretty good coffee at home, but if you want a good espresso drink, coffee shops are the place to get those. Who wants to meet me for a cup?