Texan Traveler is back again.
Something that I absolutely love is exploring a new city for the very first time. There’s something about going to a brand new place for the first time that is truly magical, and I’m not just saying that. New Orleans is a city that is unlike any other place I have visited and I can truly say that the first time getting to experience it is exhilarating. There are a lot of things to love about New Orleans whether it is the jazz that can be heard on almost every street corner or the jaw dropping architecture, but what really stuck out to us was the abundance of coffee shops that the city had to offer (shocker right?). We sure do love a city that had easily accessible coffee shops for us to explore.
The saying, save the best for last, was definitely true of our coffee explorations in New Orleans. We were visiting the city for Kaylee’s basketball tournament (they won the bronze championship in their division by the way) and had three full days to hit up as many coffee shops as we could. It was Thursday, we were heading to the next tournament in Atlanta, and we had one shop that we had yet to try in New Orleans that we really wanted to check out. Despite the severe lack of parking in the city (uber, walking, and the trolley are your best friends in NOLA), we were able to get dropped off at Stumptown to check it out and I’m so glad we did. The coffee shop is connected to The Ace hotel but honestly from the outside you would never guess it. Stumptown has a separate entrance, but when you are actually in the shop you realize it is connected to the hotel lobby. Immediately when we entered the shop we were greeted and told where to order. This is a huge deal. If you have ever visited a coffee shop that you have never been to before you realize the anxiety of not knowing where exactly to order. That greeting and the helpful information really does go a long way and it is not always something you’ll find in a big city, so right upon entering we felt welcomed and comfortable in Stumptown.
I always appreciate when places have a vintage flair and that is exactly what I found in this coffee shop. The interior of Stumptown is true to the location of this shop and contains the New Orleans touch that makes the city so unique. The exposed brick and wood paneling paired beautifully with the crisp blue bar and interesting light fixture that stretches over the bar. Something that is really great about this shop is the amount of seating options that are available. After going to several other coffee shops in town, this is something that definitely sets Stumptown apart from the others. Every other shop we visited had extremely limited seating, but that is definitely not the case here. In the front section of the shop there is a bar area and a large table that many people can take advantage of. As you go further back in the shop, you will find a sitting room with a couch and several cushioned seats surrounding a coffee table. You will find unique art adorning the walls making the space intriguing but still not cluttered. The very back room of the shop has a more gallery feel with white walls and framed prints of the popular artist and singer of Purple Rain, Prince. This room has a long table that is perfect for someone to camp out with a laptop and get lots of work done. I love how this shop doesn’t have individual tables blocking others off from one another, but instead has shared communal spaces.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters opened in Portland Oregon in 2009. You can find locations today in Portland, Seattle, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and the one we visited in New Orleans. The location in New Orleans hasn’t been around too terribly long, it opened in March of 2016. What really sets this coffee shop apart from other shops in town is the exceptional coffee that highlights the long standing relationships with the producers. The practice of equity that goes into making the coffee is key. I ordered the small batch cold brew that was made with their Guatemala Bella Vista. I think it is hands down one of the best cold brews I have ever had. The flavor and aftertaste is incredibly present without being overpowering. Madison and Kaylee both ordered the iced vanilla lattes and were just as impressed with the smooth yet powerful taste. Our dad was a huge fan of the drip that they had and that is really saying something. Stumptown has seasonal drinks that they rotate through, and right now they have the Horchata cold brew for the summer and it is extremely popular. Like Texas, New Orleans has scorching heat that calls for lighter iced drinks. One of the baristas, Kyle, was kind enough to make us the seasonal drink to try and I can honestly say I haven’t tried a cold brew like it. I have had my fair share of unique cold brews but there hasn’t been one quite like this. The Latin American flair and flavor makes the drink absolutely perfect for a hot sunny day walking around NOLA. Stumptown has seasonal drinks in the fall and winter as well that reflect the market trend.
Superb coffee is amazing, but if you know me by now you should know that the experience at the shop is incredibly important. Making connections at this coffee shop and trying to engage in conversations with everyone that walks in the door is something that the baristas at Stumptown strive to do. We saw this truth in action when we were getting ready to leave and one of the baristas, Kyle, asked where we were from and if we had any questions about the coffee. It was then when we got to talk to him about our blog and learn even more about the shop to share with y’all now. They are fiercely loyal to every single person that comes in, whether it be a local that comes in everyday or random tourists that stumble in like us. They are just as loyal to their community, an example of this is their collaborations with schools and the showing of the Stumptown documentary, Flowers of Flowers, that highlights the impact of climate change on coffee farmers in Guatemala.
It is not a secret that we are new massive fans of this shop. The direct trade coffee that can’t be beat with the excellent customer experience makes Stumptown a total home run in our book. If you find yourself a traveling Texan in New Orleans or any of the other cities that I listed above that have a Stumptown, do yourself a favor and make that your first stop; there’s truly not a stop like it.