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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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

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!

Blue Bottle shop and roastery on Berry, Williamsburg

Long time no see Blue Bottle!

When I stayed a couple of weeks in Williamsburg, the Blue Bottle coffee shop on Berry was my favourite, and was the place I would go especially in the week ends, to enjoy usually one espresso followed by a Latte while reading a book or a newspaper.

Since that, roughly a year ago, each time I would go to Blue Bottle shop would be the wrong timing: totally packed and a line going even out of the shop which is not the kind of things I really enjoy. That’s too bad but easily understandable: the place is really beautiful, perfectly designed and styled, two blocks from Bedford stop, ideally located now for Williamsburgers. Be aware of that, if you’re only looking for an instant of peace and quietness, you might be at  the wrong place, or be an early bird!

This last sunday I took the time and went there not to late, around 11:o0am. The line was already there, and it was already started to be pack but I decided to stay because I was really dying for an espresso, but also had to buy a french-press and I knew that they have some.


I ended not buying any french press, the one I like was not on sale, and the prices were a bit high in my opinion, but I got and enjoyed my espresso! (by the way, for people looking for some espresso gears, they do have good stuff here, and that is where I bought my pitchers, that they have in all sizes)

One thing I really like at this Coffee Shop, they try to always have on the menu two espressos, their usual Retrofit espresso blend that they pour from a La Marzocco FB80) and a single origin espresso that they pour from a very beautiful Faema Urania. It’s cool to be able to taste different espressos, and also to have the choice depending of your mood!

The bar is really nice and big, with the 2 machines, a nice selection of pastries made in house, and  also a quite long “pour over” drip bar (and I notice a large part of the clientele is ordering drip coffee there!). After the bar, you can see the roastery and also the place where they train and do cupping, very nice and large space, and in from of the bar, in the middle of shelves with coffee accessories for sale, a really remarkable installation for slow-drip coffee used for iced-coffe made of glass kettles and pipes. Honestly I never tried this and don’t even know how it works and how it taste! But surely, it contributes to the style of the place and to attract people… and it is indeed a nice thing to see!

But back to my cup! My single origin espresso was good of course and service was perfect (I must say this has always been the case). It was however not outstanding. It was beans from El Salvador. Very chocolaty, very young and green I would say. I don’t know if it comes from me or them but, though I really think it is still very good, I have the impression Blue Bottle is slightly diminishing in terms of quality, and it is definitely not anymore wowing me as it used to, and not totally on my top list!

In summary, if you are in the neighborhood, you want to go to that place to see it! If you are an early morning person, it could definitely turn into a very good spot for you for coffee to go or to stay! Forget about working there though if you need to be online, never worked well for me. Better to read a book, a newspaper or just write… And if you are unsure about where it is, if you see a big squirrel paint on a wall, that’s the place!

Stumptown on 29th

Hey! I’v been lazy writing during the busy holidays period but I am back in business.

So today, I share about my other “daily coffee place”, the one that is ten meters from my office, and I must confess I am lucky with this office. This place is a coffee shop run by Stumptown Coffee Roasters. I discovered Stumptown almost four years ago in Seattle, and while it took some months, it very quickly became for me one of the top coffee roaster, with high quality, extremly constant in that respect, despite offering a very wide and changing selection of coffee, in both single origins or blends.

So, that is primarly what makes me happy there, either having an espresso shot, a machiatto, or buying my beans for home: the quality of coffee! I believe it is still the best in NYC. Please Stumptown, stick to this standard, even if you’re getting bigger and bigger!

Let’s go for the bad side of it now. First of all, it is totally over-hyped. Some people don’t pay attention, some others don’t like it. Me, it’s depending of the days. The coffee shop is part of the Ace Hotel which is cool, but also very over-hyped. The hotel host a couple of fancy boutiques and the Breslin restaurant, a very good table I must say, of course with the price that goes with it. So, this makes it a super crowded and fashionable area! The place is run by a small army of Barista, all disguised in some sort of mid century vintage clothes (you might like it or not but one thing is sure, it lacks of genuineness) and working on 2 3-headed Mistral La Marzocco. And despite the large staff and the 6 heads… there is almost always a long line going even out of the coffee shop into the hotel lobby. If you’re in the rush, forget about it!

And finally, still in the bad side, I regret that here, I am never offered an espresso when buying beans (I thought this was a tradition in the coffee industry, is that time over?). A last bad note: I had to go to the hotel’s ATM a couple of time because I was out of cash; they don’t take credit card (how a shop like this, with such an outflow, can not have its own CC machine???), so again this takes time and 2 USD transactions… add this to of course a price list that goes with the standard and this makes it an expensive coffee place, no doubt.

Summary: go for the coffee first, then go to see it and experience it and make your own opinion but I bet there are many coffee shops now in Manhattan where you would feel much more “home” than here, starting with the venerable Joe’s, even if the coffee is sometime a bit behind than Stumptown.

  • Stumptown Coffee Shop Manhattan
    18 W 29th St.
    New York, NY 10001
    map 

Upright on Manhattan avenue

Upright Coffee, this is my everyday coffee spot!

They opened sometime spring 2011 and I think I was one of their first customers… It’s a 1mn walk from my home and since I haven’t yet (re)invested in an espresso machine, it’s there that I’m having my daily shots. Americanos’ the early morning and Espressos for the rest of the day.

While the first month, clearly they were not pouring the best espresso’s ever, they quickly improved, and have a small but nice rotating staff doing a pretty good job behind the Marzocco now. Not yet top of the cups but getting there.

They use coffee from the Brooklyn Roasting company, which does a pretty good job. If your in Greenpoint, and looking for a good espresso, it’s definitely a good spot, their are not that many in the heart of Greenpoint. You can also buy beans there. I’ve heard from them they are on their way to open another coffee shop in Manhattan (547 Hudson St.) and I look forward to go check it up.

For a full experience, go play pinball at the laundry next door!

Welcome here!

Here is a blog done the right way – quick and dirty, in 5mn. Will I stick to it, and write about it?

My only idea is to write here simple notes ONLY on the coffee I tasted and coffee shops I visited…