A cup and a cut (uh may be not)

parlor1Long time no write, shame on me! I have been drinking a lot of cups since then… also finally got my espresso machine! I will talk about that later, stay tuned!

So this quick post to share a very good coffee address, still in Brooklyn, Williamsburg. I went there a few months ago and now really enjoy it each time I have the occasion: Parlor Coffee.

Before being a coffee shop, they are a roasting company and they do the hell of a good job at roasting. Parlor Coffee is run by Dillon, who previously worked at Stumptown and Blue Bottle and knows about coffee, in the right way. He is doing small batch roasting and I only bought twice but I really enjoyed the drinks. Go get some!

Now, may be it is more known for that, Parlor is also a coffee shop with a very uncommon setup. It’s setup in the back of a barber shop (Persons of Interest) in Williamsburg, typically where you would store the supplies. This must make it one of the tinniest coffee shop I have seen. Perfect for an espresso. And Dillon clearly knows not only how to roast but also how to pour good shots from his dutch Speedster.

Go there if you want a good espresso shot in the middle of Williamsburg, this place took over as the best espresso for me at the moment.

Go there if you want a fancy cut (personally not really my type of barber shop, I am more in the 10$ family neighborhood barber shop, for the few hair left on my head…)

Don’t go there if you want to sit, drink a 12 oz latte over 2 hours, working on your laptop.

If you want to drink Parlor somewhere else, you can also go to Kinfolk Studios in Williamsburg as well, yet an uber-hype place to go. They carry Parlor  now, I went yesterday and got a perfect espresso as well, kudos to the barista. Do like me, go in the middle of the week, early afternoon if you want to avoid a bit the Wb crowd and enjoy your espresso quietly…

I should talk about the coffee itself a bit more but don’t have time and need to go back to refresh my memory 🙂

  • Kinfolk Studios
    90 Wythe Ave
    Brooklyn, NY 11211

Cheers!

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Black Delight after 3 weeks off

 

ImageAlready three weeks in Europe and three weeks without very good coffee. Don’t make any conclusion, there is good coffee in Europe, yes, but I had just no time to hunt for it!

Any how, I am these days in Hamburg and this morning on my bike ride to where I am working, I stopped at a nice place. Luc met the guy who runs it and told me about it. It was looking interesting I decided to go, and my cortado tasted like one of the best I had — there might be a relation with the 3 last weeks of abstinence.

Thank you so much! The place is called “Black Delight” (hmmm not sure I love the name), and they roast and have a small cute shop, including free wifi. It made my day!

The place also roast (somewhere else I guess as the place is too small), and sell beans. While I really liked my drink, I didn’t buy beans as the roast date was… November 9th. Quite suprising to sell a 3 month old roast in such a place, especially when the web slogan is “respecting coffee”! I will just try to find fresher one later. I still want to try.

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And also, I loved the tiles!

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Brooklyn Roasting Company, it’s (almost) all right!

I’ve been spending a fair amount of my time in Dumbo lately, where I often work at Dumbo Startup Lab , a very nice take-it-easy cowork that I recommend. Clearly, I think Dumbo is my favorite work spot in NYC now. I stay on the east of the East River, can go there by bike or boat, and enjoy the energy and the always astonishing views you can get from it.

But ONE major reason why Dumbo rank so high to me is definitely because Brooklyn Roasting Company headquarter and coffee shop is there. Located one block from my cowork, at 25 Jay Street, it is the perfect spot for a morning americano (may be with one of their nice egg sandwich), the post-lunch espresso and may be one more drink at some point in the day.

So here we go, 5 reasons why it’s now one of my favorite coffee shops in town.

  • It’s really Cool, but not too Cool, not too Hip… compared to places like Stumptown or Blue Bottle shops. Don’t get me wrong, I usually love what I drink in these and find their shops very nice but, really, does it have to be this parade! This doesn’t make you feel comfortable! At least speaking for me… The Brooklyn Roasting shop is none of that and I feel home!
  • Their menu is really well done. As an espresso drinker, I can only be happy to have the choice between 5 different espressos! And not to forget to mention the prices which are really reasonable.
  • You can buy and bring back home a nice and constantly changing selection of coffee, in very nice cans.
  • The bar and the place in general is just beautiful and it’s nice to watch the roasting work closely.
  • Nothing to deal with coffee but the graphic design of all the stuff they do is just really well done and solid. Very very good design, which made me bought a few t-shirts there for friends and for myself. Kudos to the one in charge!

Of course, even more importantly, they also do a very good job on the drinks, I really like it! May be not the top of the cup but definitely very good coffee there and too many things for me to speak about it here!

There are a few things to be said though:

In my neighborhood (greenpoint), there are  a few places pouring their coffee. I won’t name them but two of the three places very close to my house are doing a terrible job behind the Marzocco and this is not helping… Here, I have the impression folks like Stumptown pay much more attention to quality control of their reseller. May be they should pay more attention to that!

Even in the main coffee-shop, I had a few times a barrista not able to do a decent espresso machiatto. Here as well, more training would be welcome!

but beside that, all good! Go check it out if you are in the area.

Gimme some good coffee (… and some money)

coffee menu at Gimme

This morning, while I was on my way to the grocery store on my bike, I passed in front of a new Gimme! shop. While I know Gimme! is one of the first speciality coffee around Manhattan and Brooklyn and a very respectable house, I never had the chance to try them yet. That was the perfect occasion!

The coffee spot, well located on Roebling, is nice with no pretentiousness at all. I appreciated it for not being too hypish. It is clearly about coffee here. I had to buy some beans for a friend, so that is what I did first, and the coffee menu is quite interesting I must say. I went for their basic espresso blend, “Leftist Espresso”, the one they use for their espresso there. I ended up making my choice by simply choosing the ones that were roasted the more recently… which was 5 days before which is ok. I am looking forward to try it.

Here, like at many places, they would offer you a drink if you buy beans. I was about to try the “Leftist Espresso” on their machine when I saw a sign, “Featured beverage”. Here was a Honduras single origin roasted for Espresso, “El Sauce” and I was definitely on for trying this. The barista was good, was able to speak about it and I said go. The drink was really good, just the right size for an espresso in my opinion (I forgot to picture it…), the taste was clean and fresh with some fruits flavor of the apple and peach family but still a good strength. Very good job!

But I wanted to conclude on what stroke me at first: are you really charging 4.75$ for this featured espresso? What’s wrong with you? Ok, I know some coffee  gets crazy expensive at the source, but this is not the case for this Honduras, especially since you guys sell it 16$ by the bag. I paid only half price as I bought beans but really, I don’t get the point here to charge 4.75$ for that really good espresso dual shot!

I’ll go back to try the regular blend but this makes me very sceptical. Too bad because beyond that, it was almost a perfect coffee experience.

A damn good cup of coffee!

I finally made it. I found some Handsome Coffee for me and my french press!

Well I already had a chance to taste a very little, thanks to my friend Krista but I needed to retry, to pay more attention!

So, after several unsuccessful attempts at RBC NYC, and not always really much appreciated I finally found the handsome coffee not that far from my home, at this restaurant called Marlow & Sons in south Williamsburg on Broadway. If I had known this restaurant would sell coffee, I would have been way before!

Handsome in my french pressHandsome Coffee is a quite new coffee roaster recently established in Los Angeles. If it was only this, we might not be that interested in it, but the résumé of the 3 founders is long enough to generate into any coffee geek an immediate desire to know more and taste their job: Mike Phillips – a former Barista World Champion and director of education at Intelligentsia which is quite a reference, Chris Owens – who roasted some delicious coffee for Ritual and Counter Culture among other coffee experience, and the third man,  Tyler J. Wells that has quite an experience as Barista and manager for Intelligentsia. Check it out here if you want to see their face and know more on who is handsome coffee.

Handsome beansAnd, gosh, I must say I was really happy with my handsome coffee that I bought for my morning french press. Truth is I have never really been a big fan of french press. I am more an espresso boy. I never was good enough to taste well the coffee in french press, I think I am not that a coffee expert for that. I could recognize bad coffee of course, but had never really been able to taste and appreciate coffee as I can in an espresso shot. But this belong to the past now, Handsome coffee in my french press was almost a revelation! I was finally able to taste and appreciate this coffee made  this way as much as an espresso. In fact, the coffee I got, Fisticuffs, beans from Columbia (San Sebastian – Don Medardo) was roasted for espresso, was perfect for the french press as well. Not too strong, very small bitterness, a great taste of hazelnut or gianduja… hmmm so good and indeed perfect for my first coffee in the morning! I already need to refill!

Thank you Handsome Coffee for making me love my french press! But now I really need to try it the espresso way, I’ll go to Marlow or may be wait to get my espresso machine here.

Also to be said, very affordable coffee compare to other roasted locally: 16 $.

Go buy it here in NYC area:

  • Marlow and Sons
    81 Broadway
    Brooklyn, NY
or online:

Long life to Hcr!

El Beit, on Bedford, Williamsburg

This is a coffee place I used to stop everyday when I was walking to the Bedford L train. I don’t love Bedford but this place can give you some damn good espresso shots. I am not that often there at the good time for a cup of coffee, mostly because I more usually ride my bike to the train now instead of walking,  but still, when I have the occasion, I definitely take it!

It’s not a big coffee shop, with one only but beautiful orange La Marzocco FB/80. The place has a few tables to seat in front, a biggest-to-share one in the back and it’s often a bit crowded due to the location. There is also an outdoor space in the back yard that can be nice (today was way too cold). Not great to work though (I remember having some issues with their wifi network), not as quiet as others… but good to stop for a drink and a talk. I also like their pastries and sandwiches very much, this should be said!

I think I almost never ordered milky drinks there, only espressos, mostly because I remember them as one of the place to make almost perfect espressos in Williamsburg. They pour them double-shot, almost ristretto. One of the reason I like, that I just recently discovered, might be that their coffee comes from 49th parallel roasters. Some might say it is not exactly “local roasted coffee” (e.g. as far as I know, 49th parallel are roasting only in Vancouver, Canada), these guys are definitely doing a very good job! Good to know that you can get beans from them in Williamsburg!

My espresso today was very good, once again. My only bad note comes from a change I noticed: they used to systematically serve you with a glass of sparkling water and it looks like this disappeared. I should check if Blue Bottle still does this. This is a pity as I love a small glass of sparkling water with my espresso (and doesn’t like that much a huge glass of tap water…). Espresso should always be served that way!

So definitely, I recommend El Beit, always a pleasure! And for the curious, they also opened another place, called Modca, that is a few blocks away (103 North 3rd Street, Brooklyn) that is also great, quieter, more for food or tea, and may be better to work. The original El Beit will remain the espresso spot for me!

  • El Beit,
    158 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

La Colombe in Tribeca

As I was visiting some friends in lower Tribeca yesterday, I decided to stop to give “La Colombe” a try.

A few people in Paris, including my friend Leigh, spoke to me about La Colombe. La Colombe is a coffee roaster from Philadelphia who has open a few coffee shops in their home town, in New York (Manhattan – two on Lafayette, one on Church –  the one I visited today) and I guess in a couple of other places.

La Colombe was created 17 years ago by a duo (Todd and Jean-Phillipe), one coming from Seattle the other from France, Nice. Not surprisingly the two met in Seattle in the 80s, may be a more fertile ground than Nice or Paris…

So here we go, a saturday afternoon of january, very cold, Manhattan almost empty. First of, very good note for the coffee shop in Church street. I don’t know if the other “La Colombe” shops are as nice but this place has definitely some good style. It is more of a large espresso bar than a coffee shop where I would spend a whole morning working but it is nice, cosy and feels good.

A selection of coffee is the first thing you see, and I obviously bought some. It is mostly blends but there were also a few single origins. The one I bought was “Nizza” made with beans from Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia and Honduras. Supposed to be a Medium roast, but looked already a bit on the dark side, I tried it today on my french press. Good coffee but not a lot of personnality, the girl at the counter told me it was good for french press, however on the pack it is indicated for Espresso or Stove top, so may be this was a mistake…? may be why I was not that impressed with my coffee this morning. Good balance but no strong flavor.

Also to be noted: La Colombe write a “Best before” on their bags and not a date of roast. This is slightly disturbing to me…

Of course, more than buying coffee I wanted to try an espresso. Very good service, beautiful ceramics but so big for an espresso! I asked for a double shot and the way they poor espresso is quite long as you can see… far from pooring ristretto as default shots there! But very light and balanced espresso, subtle and pleasant though not my taste. I can definitely see this as a good espresso for gastromic restaurants!

Espresso are  poored using 2 old Faema E61, very nice machines, but I realized I have never been impressed by coffee made with those… is there a relation?

Talking about Style, way nicer than the Faema, there is in the shop a beautiful La Pavoni, displayed as a piece of art, a machine that won a design contest in 1956. I hope you’ll like the pictures, I found it beautiful! Only italians can end up with such a design!

Summary: nice end-of-afternoon coffee but definitely not outstanding, I might go back if I am around, the place is really pleasant and service is good but I have not yet been conquered by the coffee side of La Colombe, not enough to buy my beans from them or to go there especially if I am further than three or four blocks.