The Apple of my eye

Since my former blog will go to waste, I still didn’t want to get rid of all my travel pics. So I will get some transfered from there to here, but more in a gallery form.

Basically, the family went to New York last August/September (2011) to celebrate my mother-in-laws 60th Birthday. As if I could help myself, I had alterior motives for the trip, to experience some of the renowned coffee action of New York first handedly. We stayed on 95th Ave in a beautiful apartment, and the closest coffee haunt from there was Joe. Awaken really early from the jet lag, I decided to drag the rest of the family down to explore the area. Needless to say, I ducked into Joe’s for a couple of coffees. I really liked the place, and for being a chain (coffee roasted by Ecco) it has really really high standards!

Later that day saw the whole family escape the heat for an iced coffee at Grumpy’s in Chelsea. The espresso I had, taste wise, wasn’t the most thrilling I’ve ever had in my life, but the texture of the coffee certainly was. From what I’ve heard, they are using a reversed osmosis system for their water system. Anyway, the texture of that espresso was mind blowing, never thought it would make such difference to a single experience of coffee! I also sampled their ice coffee, but after about half of it, I had a brain freeze. To be truthful, ice coffee will probably never be my thing.

Another place that was on the list, was Stumptown Coffee at the ACE Hotel. Again, I experienced something out of the ordinary, this time in the espresso with a heavy lean towards a pleasant bitterness (balanced though, but just towards the bitterness in a way I’ve never experienced before). The whole ambience at ACE is incredible, especially since you can sit down in the hotel lobby and have your coffee, or a coctail from the neighbouring bar.

One day, I hooked up with Aaron Frey of FRSHGRND blog, who I met earlier in Stockholm and who’s been a Swedish resident for a year down south in Malmö. Our first stop was RBC NYC, where they have several roasters represented for your ultimate pleasure. Sort of regretting not having an espresso from their Slayer, but we had a couple of coffees made from Woodnecks that were great (one Coava, one Handsome. I had the Honduras from Coava).

A couple of blocks away from RBC NYC, we walked past a line to a La Colombe outlet. Curiosity took the best of us, and we actually lined up for what was one of the worst espresso experiences not only of this trip, but of 2011. Interesting though what makes people line up for this kind of coffee. Is it the hype? Is there a hype even? Very weird…

Next stop for me and Aaron was Vandaag where Alex, who now works for Joe, was pouring coffee either as V60 or as espresso. There was coffee roasted by Ecco, and coffee roasted by The Coffee Collective. The place itself is very slick, very minimalistic in typical Scandinavian/Dutch style, though a hint of American diner thrown into the equation. Had a great brunch here, and we later returned with our spouses for a beer degustation as well.

We also had wine and cheese platter at Eataly, as well as coffee at Stumptown again, and a revisit to Third Rail which I had been to in the morning, and where Aaron spotted the 2011 Danish Barista Champion while we were distracted by some rock star who kept on talking about his amazing gig in Vegas.

I had a couple of more experiences, as I went to Sweet Leaf in Long Island City (great guys) and was invited back to a cupping with none other than Scott Rao later that afternoon, something I unfortunately missed out on. I also went to El Beit in Williamsburg where I had a great espresso! Last but not least, was my morning coffee from Joe’s on my last day on 95th, as I had a take away and sat down in Central Park watching the joggers and the sun come up over Harlem.

Our last night, we didn’t have a hotel. I had initially planned to just walk the streets all night, but I soon realized this will not be a good way to spend a night in NYC. Fortunately, my sister in law, who works as a barista at Da Matteo in Gothenburg, was in touch with a regular of hers who lived in Gothenburg but now had moved back to Williamsburg. She invited us to stay the night, and so we did! She took us out to a beer garden, where I met up with an old friend who now works as a fashion photographer, then off to the city for various adventures! A big thanks to Kamni who took us in!

What certainly impressed me most with NY-coffee, was that the quality was high and very consistent, which is something that comes from working at a high speed and with large volumes. I went to a couple of the places and had similar experiences each time, which to me is a very good grade to give! I missed out on a few places, as well as didn’t spend enough time in some other places, however the experience made me feel I certainly need to go back again and again! Love it!

NP: Shelter Message of the Bhagavad 

(Actually, walking back to Vandaag later in the afternoon, we discovered that it was very close to the first Hare Krishna temple in NYC. By coincidence, I recognized Porcell from Youth of Today/Shelter walking past me in the street. Best celeb spotting ever!)

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