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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.