Sunday, March 03, 2013

CC: Croque Madame

Subject: Croque Madame
Location: JFK International Airport, Terminal 2, Gates 21/22
Free WiFi ? : no
Rating: 5+ [see key]

Airport coffee has been the bane of numerous travelers since the advent of airports. Especially for a person used to freshly ground, well-crafted coffee, it can be hard to stoop to old beans pumped out of a super automatic espresso gauntlet. Sadly, caffeine has its demands and many people would rather a charred mess of a coffee than do without.

But Praise the Lord, specialty coffee has come to the runway. More and more good coffee entities are finding their way inside airport terminals, though most are not on the east coast. One of the few right coast spots also happened to be my most recent encounter with good airport coffee. In JFK's Terminal 2 there's a trendy spot called Croque Madame, a small french-style bar and eatery churned out by the huge airport bistro creator OTG. Aside from the vast sprawl of tables and booths hooked up with iPads where seas of airport chairs used to reside, what caught my eye was the beautiful espresso machine (a La Marzocca I believe) and decent coffee offerings.

Currently it seems they carry Stumptown, but when I was there it was Caffe Vita. As I sat at the bar and shot the breeze with the barista, I ordered an espresso and a pour over both of the Caffe del Sol (it was the only coffee on hand at the time). The espresso, pulled short with a slightly thin crema, resonated notes of cocoa, toasted croissant, lime, blood orange, a little shredded wheat and a slight element of pepper; a fairly balanced and flavorful pull. The pourover had elements of steak, malt, nutmeg, a little smokiness, honey and fig, all in all pulling together a deep coffee with flecks of sweetness.

All in all, not the best Caffe Vita experience I've had but by all means, it was the best coffee I've ever had in JFK. And in like manner, hopefully the sight of great coffee venues in airports will continue to rise. If you happen to be in JFK Terminal 2, give Croque Madame a bit of your time.

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