NYC Coffee Scene
For those that don't know, NYC just so happens to be the place to get good coffee on the east coast. By and large, the east coast has been behind the specialty coffee curve, but things are starting to change. The city that never sleeps is now running on better tasting caffeine, due in large part to the vibrant specialty coffee scene and publicity from New York Times coffee and food writer, Oliver Strand. For those who live in or near the city and want a list of great shops to visit, Strand has contributed a list of coffee bars for the New York Times' extensive NYC guide app, The Scoop. The app is made for the iPhone, but they do have a web-based version. The coffee community continues to grow in NYC and this growth amongst baristas and coffee geeks can only mean better coffee for the everyday coffee drinker. The forefront of the coffee community is often seen at events that bring many of the city's baristas together for a good cause. Sam Lewontin (@coffeeandbikes), barista at Everyman Espresso and one of the nicest guys in coffee, has helped put together one of those regular events: TNT (Thursday Night Throwdowns) NYC. This latte art competition donates its proceeds to Bikes to Rwanda, an organization who provides cargo bikes to farmers who work on coffee cooperatives in Rwanda. Needless to say, there are some great things happening with the coffee scene in NYC which made my trip to NYC a couple of weeks ago all the more exciting.
Lucky for me, my wife enjoys a good cup of coffee so it wasn't hard to talk her into visiting some of the shops. Relying on recommendations from coffee friends, I was able to visit four coffee bars: Cafe Grumpy (Brooklyn), Third Rail, Everyman Espresso, and Gimme. We tried to visit RBC, but they were closed for Labor Day (Lame, I know; they should have considered my vacation). These shops showcased some of the best in specialty coffee. I had brewed coffee from three different brewing devices (Clever Dripper at Gimme, Chemex at Third Rail, and Kone at Cafe Grumpy) and one of the best cappuccinos I've had in a long while. The best brewed cup had to be the Guatemala Aragon brewed up by Tommy at Cafe Grumpy on the Kone (Yes, I am a geek and did verify it was the newest version). This cup had a real muted acidity that gave way to a sweet orange that I hadn't tasted in a Guatemalan coffee before. The best espresso based drink I had was served up by Sam at Everyman Espresso. This ~5oz capp reminded me of my old school coffee days when I would get a double short cappuccino and throw a raw sugar in....except this cappuccino wasn't bitter, was sweeter, and tasted like Sam had thrown in a chocolate bar when steaming the milk (so maybe it was nothing like those Starbucks capps I used to get). Add incredibly friendly baristas on top of this great coffee and you had one happy NYC coffee tourist.
Only had my camera out at a couple of shops but I've added some pictures from Third Rail and Everyman Espresso.
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$2,865.00When it comes to serving freshly brewed coffee in a commercial setting, one key dilemma has continually arisen. How can a commercial, high volume coffee shop make quick, fresh coffee without sacrificing quality? The solution has been either (1) to slightly sacrifice quality by making a large amount of drip coffee every hour or so, or (2) to preserve quality but to slow down production and possibly lose a potential profit with single-cup brewing (V60, Chemex, French Press, etc.). The brewing process that the Bunn Trifecta is built upon could be the answer to this significant dilemma.
The Trifecta has been anxiously awaited by the coffee community since Starbucks bought the rights to the Clover brewing system and took it off the market. At a fraction of the price of the Clover, the Trifecta could be the next-generation coffee system. The process is incredibly simple and efficient without sacrificing quality. It can be compared to a Syphon Brewer in its use of total immersion, constant temperature, and agitation of the grounds.
First, the hot water completely saturates the freshly ground beans resulting in a French Press like immersion. This takes advantage of the total extraction of beans that can only take place in full immersion brewing systems.
Second, Air is injected into the pressurized chamber which agitates the grounds. This further enhances extraction by exciting the grounds and water as they interact with each other.
Third, at just the right time (before over-extraction can take place), the pressurized air presses the coffee through a metal filter into the waiting cup. Similar to the Aeropress, this added pressure further enhances the extraction process and ensures a full-bodied flavor in the coffee. To read a full, hands-on review of the Bunn Trifecta by our coffee team, click here: Bunn Trifecta First Impression.
$449.00The Baratza Vario looks much like Baratza's other offerings (i.e., the Encore, Virtuoso, and Preciso) in regard to silhouette, footprint, and general design. Those who've used them extensively, however, know that there's far more than mere nomenclature that separates the Vario from its brethren. Practically speaking, it has shown to give a consistently uniform and desirable grind for the full grind spectrum, all the way from espresso to press pot, something no other non-commercial grinder currently out on the market can boast. It is a highly efficient machine, wasting very little in the way of coffee grounds, but it shines in its ability to produce excellent espresso, shot after shot after shot, a feature aided by the three timed dosing presets it allows the user to store and recall at the push of a button.
Small, lightweight, and portable, the Skerton is the ideal hand grinder for the traveling coffee enthusiast, or the home enthusiast on a limited budget. The Skerton employs adjustable conical ceramic burrs for grinding any of the wide range of grinds employed in today’s coffee market. It can easily handle anything from fine espresso to a coarse French Press setting. The Skerton’s detachable 100 gr. glass jar is perfect for collecting the grounds, and in combination with the plastic screw-on lid (included in order) can even double as a storage unit for whole beans on those long trips. After grinding is finished, cleaning the Skerton is as easy as placing the unit in the dishwasher since the entire grinder is dishwasher safe. Whether you desire a quality, handy grinder for the road or enjoy the fine art of manual coffee preparation, the Hario Skerton is the ideal candidate. For an even more portable hand grinder from Hario, check out the Mini Mill (for a more detailed comparison of the two grinders, check out this blog post: Hario Skerton vs. Mini Mill).