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The Manhattan Coffee Pilgrimage: Intro

November 2, 2010

So I first published a version of this post of mammoth length. A post so gigantuan that I realize hardly anyone could be expected to read it. Although my blog is just as much of an excuse to write as it is to eat and drink, I do want people to read it.

I would really love some feedback… Long posts, more photography, less photography? Please let me know.

What could be better than channeling massive quantities of caffeine into your system while running on very little sleep and a potential fever?

Nothing, I tell you. Oh, long past are the days when I had coffee rules… what are those again? It used to be two shots of espresso, or their equivalent in drip coffee (and why would you bother with drip coffee when you could have a cappuccino? Or so I thought)… now I laugh at that.

Is it because as a college student, there exists an unspoken rule that you have to live on “bottomless cup” deals and the murky brown water the dining hall passes off as coffee? An even more important coffee rule used to be that if no good coffee was to be found… well, I just wouldn’t drink it.

All I can say is, thank god for a certain recently-opened student-run cafe, run by a guy with five years of coffee-industry experience. He took a year off just to make coffee in Portland, home of all that is holy, Stumptown Coffee Roasters. In addition to espresso drinks with fabulous latte art, they have FREE DRIP COFFEE (music to the average student’s ears).

Unfortunately, this place is only open from 9 pm- 1 AM. Does it matter? Well, only for my sleeping habits.

Alex, the professional barista who opened this cafe, made me a list of coffee spots to check out while I was in New York. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get to Brooklyn, but in just 3 days I was able to get to ALL of his Manhattan recommendations. There were seven cafes. I managed to visit one more than once, and even squeezed in a cup of Turkish coffee on my last night.

That is a LOT of caffeine… and I although my body may have been begging for mercy, my mind and taste buds were thanking me for the coffee buzz and excellent espresso.

General observations:

  • Most of the baristas are straight out of Look At this F**king Hipster. I also noticed an abundance of Asian female baristas with short hair… Maybe there’s hope for me yet?
  • Out of all of these places, only one had a bathroom. When you’re drinking this much coffee, a backup plan is necessary. I don’t think further elaboration is needed.

Without further ado, I give you the Manhattan Coffee Meltdown (Most of these cafes were featured in the NY times article):

Best drip coffee: Cafe Grumpy

Best iced coffee: Ninth Street Espresso

Best macchiato: Stumptown

Runner-up: Cafe Ost

Best cortado: Abraco


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