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!

Advertisements

Capri, c’est pas fini!

Ok, excuse the french title, it is very bad but I couldn’t help… too much reading of “l’Equipe” gave me this bad taste for crappy headlines!
the best iced coffee of NYC?

Caffe Capri is located on Graham Avenue in the east side of Williamsburg, close to the BQE, on this section of the street that is also called Via Vespucci. For those who don’t know this area, behind the few hip and very Williamsburgish stores and coffee shops, there is still in this area a very strong and still alive italian presence and culture that has, let say, a tiny bit more of authenticity. A community issued from one early wave of italian immigration to the US in the 2nd half of the 19th century. When I started to spend some time in the neighborhood, that is what I was in fact really enjoying. Pork store, italian bakery, small pasta factory… all this feels good!

So Caffe Capri belong to that family. It is the first thing you can’t miss about it, even without entering the shop!

But enter the store please, it’s way more than this. You will see why this place is a gem! Yes, a gem, a miracle, a permanent surprise, a delight, something else, the opposite of the coffee shop code… Enter the shop, order an iced-coffee, take it with no sugar may be, you might want an italian pastry with it, you will then touch the miracle. Do that a sunday mid morning, take your coffee out on the street and seat in one of these deliciously old rubber-covered chairs that could have belong to my grand mother’ house. Stay here till the time for sunday lunch comes. You should be in it, experience the delight!

Caffe Capri is THE shop that I don’t want to die. The one and only in this street that I don’t want to be replaced by a new Brooklyn Industries. The one that makes me travel without moving. Its weird and very rare opening time and its not-that-young ownership of course feed that thought but if that would happen, I wish I would just react, buy and run the place, as it is , for many more years, per pure respect!

Ok, you haven’t heard yet anything about coffee and might think I’m loosing it! I am only able to say a few words about the Iced Coffee, it is the only thing I drink there. It is like the place, different and lovely. “Best in NYC” they say… can’t say this exactly but it is unique and very nice and pleasant to sip. Unlike usual Iced Coffee, this one is always a bit sweet, even without added sugar. It isn’t made with ice cubes but with crushed ice, which contribute to make it sweeter I think. It has a different flavor, a different taste and doesn’t play in the same category has others. It is clearly not here about revealing the essence of coffee but the essence of the place! And it works!

Well, honestly, for more, come visit!

  • Caffe Capri
    427 Graham Avenue
    Brooklyn, NY

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.

Le Fooding is missing something on Coffee and Brooklyn!

Gosh, long time no write here! I decided to catch up though I’ve been to many many coffee joints since then, which makes me wonder how to catch up.

What makes me write today is our friends from Le Fooding who are trying to occupy Brooklyn.

Le Fooding is cool (see www.lefooding.com). If you don’t know it, it’s a french foody guide, initially for and from Paris with good insights and reviews on restaurants and more importantly, good taste. I was clearly buying their guide every year back when I used to live in Paris. Despite loosing a bit of it’s crisp while growing-up (and adding ads and sponsors…) it is still good stuff.

So, Le Fooding has been going out of Paris and France and throwing events in different cities, one of them being New York. I didn’t know about that! I was really interested to discover this, especially as the event teaser content is good looking, engaging and appealing.

But very quickly, after scanning the nice page (that you can find here: www.lefooding.com/evenements/2012/le-grand-fooding/new-york/) I realized the non-sens! Looks like the only coffee experience you might expect from this event is to drink this industrial easy-to-make coffee, kind enough to sponsor the event (not to name it: Nesspresso). Nespresso is may be far better than most crappy office coffee machines, it’s really not delicious, so boring and also against many of the good principle that I thought people care for more and more (local, fresh, tracable, fair, organic, recyclable…)! How can you ignore the local coffee scene to that extend when so many good coffee around including more and more high quality roasters? How can you only rely on this sponsor which is just miles away from the values that are supposed to drive Le Fooding? Specialty Coffee should be invited to the table.

I just don’t get it, and most likely won’t go to Le Fooding Brooklyn. They surely don’t care but still, this is a bad sign. This is my sunday rant!

Tar Pit, in east Williamsburg or Greenpoint

I recently went with a friend to that little coffee shop called Tar Pit. Its a few blocks from my friend’s home, and now, the closest decent coffee shop around it so we decided to give it a try on that sunday morning!

The area is a little bit off north-east of the Graham avenue neighborhood in brooklyn, in that semi-residential semi-industrial area after the BQE, south Greenpoint and east Williamsburg. Looking at the exact spot, and looking at Wikipedia, I would say this is Williamsburg (1 block from Greenpoint) but some people call it Greenpoint… Where is the truth? Anyway,  not as many pedestrian traffic as on Bedford avenue. or in Manhattan, however definitely many people living there, and only a few blocks from Graham. Could be a good bet!

I would not write about it if my espresso had nothing remarkable. But it did! Very nice shot, dark but not too much, good crema, perfect extraction. Not too chocolate taste (yes I am in a period where i dont want my espresso to be too chocolate, for me it starts to do like oak in wine… ). Yummy!

The coffee is from a small local roaster called kitten coffee. I almost bought some beans but decided to keep it for later (have a bit of a stock now at home) but from the taste of my espresso it seems they do a real good job there (Luckily they look better at roasting than at making good looking websites or knock boxes…)

And about the place, what to say? Very nice and small cosy coffee shop, the staff was very kind. I missed a good cold glass of good water with my shot (I had not that good, not totally cold tap water). Barista does a very good job as I also tried the Capucino of my friend. Oh! And also, surprising for a coffee shop of that size, they do a slow drip japanese style cold brewed coffee. I didn’t try, it’s not my thing, but it is interesting!

in short, if your in the area and want a good coffee slightly off the main trails, go check it out! You won’t regret.

  •  Tar Pit
    135 Woodpoint Rd.
    Brooklyn NY 11222

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.

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