Monday, July 28, 2008

CC: Recess Coffee House and Roastery


What's a Coffee Commentary?

Subject: Recess Coffee House and Roastery
Location visited:
Syracuse, NY

Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 4+ [see key]

ne of these days when I settle down, I would love to move into a nice house with at least two full bathrooms, a nice spacious backyard, in a good neighborhood, and two or three doors down from a quality coffeehouse. I also would like an nice arboretum close by, but I know you can't have everything so I'm willing to let that one go.

So when I first drove by the Recess Coffee House and Roastery in Syracuse, I thought maybe I'd found a good neighborhood. The coffeehouse sits nestled right off the main drag of Westcott St amidst a series of houses, an old converted house itself. The exterior looks sharp albeit a little run down (though it has definitely been improved in the few times I've visited), complete with a nice wood front porch with a nice access ramp and garden. Walking inside, the coffeehouse is decked in various eclectic decor and plenty of random seating all throughout, almost all of it full of local patrons.

The coffee is roasted in-house, all Fair Trade and Organic. The coffee has been of differentiating quality in my visits, all brewed on a hot plate brewer. My latest coffee was a Tanzanian that tasted pretty decent; very smooth despite a bit of char. The espresso has been a steady improvement, though still no climax yet. Most recently, my doubleshot had a nice sweetness but was overshadowed by darkness. I failed to note the tea.

So when it comes time to buy that house, I could see myself considering the area around Recess as I do think the place has a good deal of potential to rise (and if they added an arboretum in their backyard, that could close the deal). In the meantime, if you're looking to try some local java amidst some serious bohemian influence, make sure to give a stop at Recess.


Anonymous said...

the best neighborhood EVER! thornden park might count as an arbboretum. what do you think? glad you like our little 'hood. and thanks for the skinny on the history of freedom of espresso. never did figure that whoel fed ex thing out before.

Lonnie said...

I have friends who finally moved out of that neighborhood. It's gotten noisy and more dangerous. I would never walk around there alone at night. But the neighborhood directly across James Street from Cafe Kubal - there's where you want to buy a home. Safe as can be, a very activist neighborhood that's becoming increasingly attractive to young home buyers. Eastwood has one world-class eccentric artisan (, three independent book stores, an independent movie theater, two cafes and some ethnic restaurant activity on the horizon. Even a place that does Philadelphia cheese steak sandwiches. It also has one of only four city parks in the nation where you can cross-country ski on groomed trails. You cannot buy 1/4 the house in Philly that you can buy here for the same price. And if you get a 2-family, your tenant pays a lot of that mortgage. Then you just get on the train when you want to go to a big ("real") city for fun and frolic. Check out Eastwood!

Anonymous said...

I've lived on Westcott for five years and I've never found it "dangerous." Crimes happen occasionally, of course, but to cast Westcott as "dangerous" suggests you need to get a bit of perspective. It's not Liverpool but it's not Watts either. And in regard to Recess, I seriously doubt much will happen in the vicinity when there's a police post right around the corner.

Eastwood is fine, you can love that neighborhood without disparaging Westcott.

Anonymous said...

I think Lonnie must be afraid of his own shadow. Westcott is a very safe neighborhood and one of the only places in Syracuse that feels like a neighborhood (and neighborhood doesn't mean yuppies w/$400 3wheel baby strollers)

Lonnie do you by chance sell real estate? in Eastwood?

Anonymous said...

This place is terrible, fat and self absorbed/proclaimed
owners who claim to be grassroots, but secretly use non-fair trade coffee and tell people they do, sad. I use to work for them off the books and they stiffed me my under minimum wage pay.

Samuel said...

Go in and ask them for the credentials they keep on the green beans they roast. They'll show you that they are in fact certified organic and fair trade.

You must be thinking of the previous owner's shenanigans. The quality of roasts since then are more consistent- even with the crappy roasting machine they have now. The baked goods time and time again are sold out when I get there.

And for as long as i have been supporting Recess Coffee (about 2.5 years now) they have been the only "employees" there.

The only negative thing I have to say is the lack of space sometimes during the busy hours. I really enjoy meeting friends there but its always really full of students studying (which is still really great!).

Word on the street is that they are expanding so its ever more apparent that they are obviously doing something right.

Anonymous said...

OH MY GOD! The new roaster is a beautiful well made machine. No more jarring squeaking noises. The new espresso is amazing. I recommend everyone go and check out the new happenings at Recess. I also noticed some new coffee packaging-very professional.

Thanks for making my SU career more enjoyable. Im not sure what Im going to do when I have to leave.