2 Jul 2011

Birch Coffee

I'm starting to lose the will to live writing all these but I will persevere, partly due to boredom and partly due to the aforementioned masochism. Also I am avoiding doing school work which is an excellent precedent to set myself considering I start a PhD in October. WELP.

Ok so I did spend one of my days going to 4 different places. I walked from Chinatown to 36th St and Park Avenue. If you don't know Manhattan, that's a pretty long way and you should be impressed. I sweated a lot. Was it worth it? I dunno, probably? What do you want from me, coherence? Good luck with that.

to your left: soy latte and my awful fake Raybans

Birch is reaaaally nice. It's midtown, not an area I ever usually spend time in for obvious reasons so unless you're in that part of town for a particular reason I can't REALLY say it's worth going up for as there are a lot of equally good shops down south. It's decorated pretty cool, the people that work there are friendly, there's free wifi and it's got quite a good atmosphere if you're into that.

By that point in the day I had drunk 5 cups of strong coffee and was feeling pretty awesome aka fucked up, closest I get to a high now I'm nailed to the X, I know some people aren't down with caffeine but basically fuck you, why do you hate fun? I sure don't (barefaced lie, I do hate fun).

to your right: romantic iced coffee. closest I get to romance... sob sob (jk I hate that Hallmark bullshit)

Ninth Street Espresso

Ninth Street has 3 locations in Manhattan - Chelsea Market, Alphabet City and Tompkins Square. The latter is the one that myself and my friend Tori visited. Tori is like my soul sister (in a white girl way) as she hates everything as much as I do and finds dealing with people and life on a day to day basis generally more trouble than it's worth. We found ourselves in Soho, on a Saturday when it was 90 degrees out and there were parades for some weird celebratory bullshit. It was awful and nearly gave us both aneurisms so luckily Ninth Street came to our rescue.
It's a really small shop, more of a bar to be honest, there is seating but it's minimal so don't expect to linger unless you hit it during a quiet time. I liked the interior though, it was very simple with no weird kitschy bullshit adorning the walls. No frills - just how I like coffee (see what I did there, nice tie-in, my education is paying off!).

Tori recommended that I have an americano as they were very good in her experience, and she wasn't wrong. Despite the heat outside (NY in the summer is kind of a shitstorm) I could totally cope with it and it's nice taking your time with a drink - lattes go cold a lot more quickly.

Afterwards we actually spent 3 hours looking for a tie for her boyfriend to wear to a mutual friend's wedding. Why. Why put ourselves through it? Female solidarity and a slight tendency for masochism.

El Beit

Also in W'Burg is El Beit. It's right in the shit, Bedford and 9th pretty much next door to Vinnie's Pizza (purveyor of fine vegan slices, italian ice and the infamous T.Hanks). The app on my iphone rated it very highly so obviously it was top of my list of places to visit. From first look it appears tiny but there's a lot of space to sit out back, where your people watching opportunities remain - lest you forget you are in Williamsburg, the customers are just as entertaining in appearance compared to outside.

Again, I went back a few times to try different drinks. Though I was greeted with consistently rude service (though better than Cafe Pedlar) I was also rewarded with consistently good coffee. They also do a lot of weird ice tea for all you bullshit ice tea drinkers.

My main compliment for El Beit is that their lattes are very strong - sometimes with coffee in the US I have found that the special barista's soymilk overpowers the espresso a little, but here that isn't a problem.

Even better is that it's right opposite the stoop! Lolol.

Blue Bottle

I first experienced Blue Bottle when I was in Brooklyn with Raw Nerve for a show back in October 2010. A friend took a few of us there when she heard how into coffee we were. It's on Berry and 3rd (I think) and has a big glass front, pretty snazzy innit. Inside it is very minimalist and kinda like a space ship (if space ships had an espresso bar... in my dreams they do and are flown by cats).

The shop is also a roastery, supplying beans directly to the coffee bar. And I mean directly - they probably walk like 10 feet and pass it to the barista. NOW THAT'S FRESHNESS YOU CAN'T BEAT. It's pretty cool to watch the roastery at work, you don't often get to see 'behind the scenes' and all the machinery is the real deal top notch fancy ass bullshit.

Unsurprisingly, the coffee is excellent. I went a few times as visiting Williamsburg is awful unless you can make your trip worthwhile in some way. Latte - great. Cold brew - GREAT. So great. Would drink forever and die of a heart attack as it's really strong.

The company is actually based out in Oakland and has shops there as well as San Francisco. 

BB is definitely worth a trip, not for the coffee alone but the aesthetic experience of seeing the beans being roasted and ground as well as watching your drink being prepared - the V60s are all lined up by the cash register so you can observe the unique brewing process. Do it, brave Bedford Ave, it may be torture but it's character building (right?)

Gimme Coffee

I can't think of this place without immediately thinking of this:

P - I - Z - Z - A

so in my head I would sing GIMME COFFEE. C - O - F - F - E (doesn't quite fit, frustrating)

I only visited the place on Lorimer, apparently there are one or two other locations, I imagine they're all pretty similar. To be honest, when in the area I'd rather go to Second Stop on Ainslie but it's really popular and very busy. The place was dead when I went in which was cool cuz I HaTe PeOpLe and wanted to listen to Slipknot in private (jk about the last part...or the first...you decide). The baristas were really nice and the coffee was pretty good except there was a LOT of it. It was like a little bucket.

I had excellent company in the shape of Adam Whites, who co-runs this wonderful and famous blog as well as an excellent label . The one black mark against him is that he doesn't drink coffee (pussy) oh and also thinks ramen is a food group but I can forgive you for that Adam because I know you're incompetent.

Cafe Pedlar

In keeping with the theme of Park Slope, here's the other place I went to after buying cheap tempeh and 6 for $5 Clif bars (btw they are not food, they are candy, stop kidding yourself) at TJ's.

Cafe Pedlar brews with Stumptown which is always a tick in the 'awesome' box and the coffee was very good.

There are, however, no more ticks in that box.

I experienced the absolute worst service here than anywhere I have ever been. Not just coffee shops - anywhere. When I approach someone who is gonna provide a service for me, I am friendly and polite because I work in the service industry and I know what a difference it makes to your day. When I asked for a soy latte I recieved no acknowledgement, the barista merely moved to the espresso machine and started making my drink. He barely held eye contact with me as I made my order. The coffee was then placed in front of me and I was then stared at. I passed over $5 and $1 was pushed across the counter towards me. No 'hello', no 'thanks', not even a fucking 'ok bitch here's your goddamn drink'

A massive personal gripe of mine is when customers thrust money towards me, tip it out on the counter or just leave it in front of me instead of simply putting it in my hand. Yo, don't be a dick, yeah? I am a human being. So experiencing this as a customer was kind of a bummer. It actually made me pretty mad. FUCK YOU ASSHOLE I HOPE YOU HATE YOUR LIFE.

Gorilla Coffee

I finally made it to New York, much to my relief. There's an app available for iphones (and maybe your shitty droid, I don't give a fuck) called 'New York's Best Coffee' so I decided to try and visit as many of the listed businesses as possible during my stay.

This is actually quite a challenge as there are like, 70 or 80? Due to this, a lot of my daily activities were orientated around which shops I could visit in that area. Or, a lot of the time, just going from one shop to another (look I fucking love coffee ok stop judging me jeez).

The first place I stopped is in Park Slope. Most of my NY friends dislike this neighborhood as it's yuppie and there isn't that much going on. I can't disagree but I went there a bunch to shop at Target, cuz I'm classy, Trader Joe's, cuz sometimes a girl can't deal with Whole Foods, and to visit a good friend who lives out on the G.

Gorilla Coffee is pretty good. I heard a few shot reviews but I definitely rate it above average. Had a few consistently good lattes and they also have a pretty tasty cold brew. Also really fast free wifi and if you time your visit there's usually a place to sit.

Amherst Coffee

Ok so you might go to Amherst for a show or some shit, I don't know. Birthplace of many popular bands during the late 90's and 00's such as everyone's screamo faves Orchid (not dissing, I have an Orchid tattoo... lol@me) and Ampere and whatever.
I spent a lot of time in MA exploiting how amusing I found an awkward situation to be by behaving like a big of a brat as possible. Despite my lack of genuine fun during this trip, the highlight (which wasn't difficult considering) was coffee from this place.

It was a solid 10/10. Maybe only one of a few I have experienced. I felt, for a second, this weird emotion inside of me...was it joy? Ok that's an exaggeration. Happiness is less extreme right? Maybe it was that. Shit was good. I had 2 even though it was hot as shit outside.

A+ would drink again if my sorry ass is ever dragged to MA for any reason.

(PS sorry to my few actual friends who live in these parts, you are in no way included in my derogatory opinions.)

(PPS check out my sick fancy US burner fake blackberry)

Northampton Coffee

Why would one go to Northampton? That, friend, is an excellent question, and one that I no longer have a good answer to. I won't get into details because (a) my life is none of yo bidnizz and (b) I actually can't think of any reasons to go there. It's a cute town I guess. Lots of lesbians (just an observation!). Ok I'm done.

My visit was basically a bit of a mistake and I ended up spending a lot of time avoiding someone while hiding out in Northampton Coffee, stealing their wifi to download Gossip Girl. The blow was softened by the excellent quality of their coffee and how nice the inside of the shop is; very big and open/airy and now I sound like an interior designer, gross.

Did make the mistake of an iced latte, it tasted good but fuckmylife it's too much milk. For a regular latte I can handle it because they are 8 or 12oz but the iced beasts over-soy me.

Anyway, if for some unfortunate reason you're in Northampton (I know I am really shittalking it but trust me, I have reasons) then you should check it out as it's definitely one of the town's redeeming features.


I've been putting off updating due to the sheer amount of entries I need to make (if I was a dude that could be an innuendo but... I don't have a dick and can only be the entered not the enter-ee...)

Fortunately, I have no social life so I can spend my Saturday avoiding the beautiful sunshine, locked away in my basement typing frantically and wishing I was back in NYC for both caffeine-related reasons and more personal ones.