Showing posts with label Brooklyn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brooklyn. Show all posts

Friday, April 13, 2018


Subject: Ohmies Coffee Bar + Yoga Studio
Location: Roselle, NJ
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Coffee pairs well with a lot of things in life. Chocolate, cake, long nature walks, mornings, chocolate cake, late nights and fruit are all things I think go well with a quality cup of coffee. Thus why not exercise? Aside from the risks of vigorous movement with a hot beverage, the coupling makes sense, especially since many people have come to accept black coffee as a delicious, healthy drink. Thus when I found a coffee bar and yoga studio in my travels through Roselle, I was surprised that I had not found such a place sooner.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Lackawanna Coffee

Subject: Lackawanna Coffee
Location: Jersey City, NJ
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

*UPDATE 03/31/19*
Unfortunately they dropped Parlor Coffee and went with a less exciting line-up (just being honest). Coffee quality decreased a tad.

When making my way through Jersey City, I am often encouraged by the growing number of decent coffee establishments popping up in the area. One of my favorites is a fairly spacious joint with an excellent courtyard, a shop called Lackawanna Coffee.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Qathra Cafe

Subject: Qathra Cafe
Location: Brooklyn, NY
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

Many people think that most of New York City is a blurring labyrinth unfit for the visiting motorist. Sure many people who live and work in the area drive around, but most tourists to Manhattan tend to think that driving in the other four boroughs are just as bad as gridlock in Times Square. The truth is that once one gets out of Manhattan, the majority of NYC neighborhoods are fairly drivable and less chaotic.

Monday, July 11, 2016

City of Saints Coffee Roasters

Subject: City of Saints Coffee Roasters
Location: Hoboken, NJ
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

While the Hudson River is an easily traversed body of water, it amazes me how few businesses drift across from NYC into NJ. Take for example the coffee situation: New York City literally has hundreds of decent coffee stops, many with multiple locations. Yet, across the river in cities like Jersey City and Hoboken, only a smattering of shops with similar quality have reared their heads, and rarely will a NYC coffee entity open a shop in the lands of Jersey. Sure there's lots of reasons for why this happens, but I'm more interested in the few exceptions to this phenomenon, such as City of Saints Coffee Roasters.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Gypsy Donut and Espresso Bar

Subject: Gypsy Donut and Espresso Bar
Location: Nyack, NY
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Back some ten years, Nyack first appeared on my radar when a good cousin and chum decided to attend Nyack College, a small Christian institution of higher education on the Hudson. Having never actually been in the town of Nyack, I recall being delighted to discover its charm and array of local shops, but somewhat disappointed that for many a year there existed not a drop of worthwhile coffee.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Bluebird Coffee Shop

Subject: Bluebird Coffee Shop
Location: Manhattan, NY
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

I never grow tired of discovering new coffee spots in New York. It's the one city that regardless of how often I stop by, there's always a new or rejuvenated shop to hit. It's a never-ceasing coffee adventure.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Mugged: Driftaway Coffee

Subject: Driftaway Coffee
Coffee Mugged and Rating [see key]:
- Profile 1 (Fruity): Rwanda Gitesi 6+
- Profile 2 (Classic): Brazil Fazenda do Serrado 4+
- Profile 3 ( Balanced): Nicaragua Las Nubes Co-op 5+
- Profile 4 (Bold): Honduras San Vicente 4+

It's no secret that there are different types of coffee drinkers. Some like the beautiful nuance and vibrant flavors of a lightly roasted African coffee, brimming with fruit and luscious chocolate. Others like their coffee a bit stiffer and thicker, a brew with a mellow sweetness and smatterings of different flavors. And then there's some folks who like their coffee to bathe their tongue in bitterness and smoke, favoring the dark roasts bearing European country names. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

CC: Budin

Subject: Budin
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Access to coffee roasters across the ocean has been something of a head scratcher in the past. Very few shipping and parcel services could economically get you coffee from one continent to the other well within the window of peak freshness. But recently, things have changed in the equation so that certain roasters are able to get their coffee over the pond from Europe to the States for, by comparison, what seems like a song. 

These new shipping realities, as well as the genius of bulk purchasing, have allowed for new swaths of frontier in US coffeehousing. One of the more interesting and recent openings of the past year is Budin, a coffee bar in Brooklyn serving only Scandinavia's finest coffee. Having received publicity from the local press for their unique coffee roasters, their slightly higher-than-domestic-coffee prices and their stylish nordic merchandise, I could not resist a trip to the shop.

I arrived one overcast afternoon to the unassuming, brown-framed shop with a large glass window that peered out into the calm, city street. Inside, the shop is quite voluminous; a long layout easy on the eyes that accommodates a long bar and plenty of tables, complete with the many Scandinavian wares and a patio in the back. For my coffee, I decided upon an espresso of Colombia Tampana from Norway's Tim Wendelboe, and a pourover of Brazil Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza from Sweden's Koppi. The espresso, pulled short with brown crema, relayed orange, grapefruit, wheaty beer, hazlenut, cocoa and little barley broth, making for a deliciously bright and sweet extraction. The pourover also bedazzled my tongue, with potent flavors of cherry, Cabernet Franc, dark chocolate, honey, elderflower and rye amidst a mellow, light body. 

Delighted with my coffee and the extremely friendly staff, I left Budin satisfied that I had received my money's worth. If you're looking to try out some great coffee from abroad, make your way to Brooklyn's Budin. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

CC: Dub Pies

Subject: Dub Pies
Location Visited: Manhattan, NY
Free WiFi ? : I think not
Rating: 5+ [see key]

Pie has to be one of the single best mediums for conveying flavor. I can think of few items that tempt me and often allude me more than sumptuous pie delights like salty honey walnut, peach ginger and fresh, no-syrup-filler apple pie. And of course, I stand with the masses whose love for pie is seemingly only eclipsed by the inability (due to finances, geography or both) to get great piece all the time.

Yet for all the wonders of pie, America has not the fervent love for meat pies that our Aussie and Middle Earth (aka New Zealand) counterparts kindle. Sure we have chicken pot pie and shepherds pie, but how many of us have had a steak mince pie or a thai chicken curry pie? Not nearly enough of us. And to battle this pie-lessness, Dub Pies of NYC beats the war drums of their pie march upon the urban landscape around them. 

One evening, I was able to make it out to their Greenwich Village shop for a savory pie before heading on my way home. To my surprise while ordering, not only do they bear great pies but also a love for great coffee. Sporting Counter Culture Coffee, I decided to order an espresso of the Espresso La Forza (a more traditional, southern Italian-style espresso) and a drip of Kenyan (I failed to note the specific origin). The espresso, pulled a short-to-medium with a light brown crema, unfolded notes of vanilla, lemon, sugar, bittersweet chocolate and a touch of pepper; definitely full of traditional flavor though it seemed it was pulled a bit hot. The Kenyan metered out a great infusion of apricot, chocolate cake, sweet Hawaiian rolls, berries and light sage, making for a smooth and bright cup. 

Thus, not only did I sate my ravenous pie lust but I also had a great coffee experience. Delay not a dub-ious second; round up your kin and make a trip to a Dub Pies location next time you're in town (be on the lookout for the trucks!) or if ye reside local, get it delivered.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

CC: Sit and Wonder

Subject: Sit and Wonder
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

A lot of my trips to NYC involve a lot of spirited walking to and fro, running to the many coffee spots I wish to check out. Since I love seeking out the city's constantly evolving coffee scene, my visits are harried and rarely relaxing.

Thus, I found it like a strange omen out of a Dickens novel when one of my coffee stops was Brooklyn's Sit and Wonder. A quaint shop situated on Washington St, this cafe peddles Stumptown Coffee and offers a copious amount of inside tables as well as a spacious, eclectic courtyard in the back.

During my visit, I ordered an espresso of Hairbender and an Indonesian coffee via drip. The espresso, pulled short with a light brown crema, wove a delightful profile of cocoa, basil, lemon, brisket and vanilla ice cream within a smooth body. The drip of Indonesian in turn also proved tantalizing, with notes of fruit punch, hibiscus, biscuit, rosemary and a little nougat amidst a medium body.

Given some free time, I actually had time to tarry a little longer than usual so as to fully enjoy my experience and then some. If you seek a great cafe with great coffee, hunt down Sit and Wonder.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Mugged: Various [Crop to Cup]

Subject: Crop to Cup
Mugged: Various (see below)
Rating [see key]:
- Burundi Bukeye 5+
- Uganda Sebei 4+
- Uganda Bugisu 4+

With all of the fun surprises we're finding about our processed food these days, it's no wonder that there's an ever-increasing demand to know more about where our food came from and what went into it. This seems to be one of the reasons why Direct Trade growing in popularity, along with the desire to provide the best price to coffee producers for their stellar coffees.

One company out of Brooklyn focusing exclusively on Direct Trade is Crop to Cup. With a full line of African coffees, they recently sent me out three of their single origins to sample: Uganda Sebei, Burundi Bukeye and Uganda Bugisu. Through a series of infusions, I had each via pourover, french press and siphon.

First up was the Uganda Sebei, a wet-processed coffee from the region of Kapchowra. The pourover produced notes of asian pear, date, sassafras, rye bread, malt and a tiny bit of curry, while the french press proved a bit more chocolatey, also following with date, malt, a little pretzel, spinach and cream in a deeper body. The siphon was similar to the french press in flavors, though a bit more nutty and salty, with the flavors of peanuts, chocolate, malt, pretzel and some spinach. In totality, a coffee with deep cocoa and malt tones with noticeable salt in all of the infusions, yet still sweet and largely smooth in the end.

The Burundi Bukeye was second. One of the original regions for Crop to Cup, this coffee is produced high in the land and is known to sing brightly (and bright it was). The pourover wove a web of blueberry, fig and a little corn, followed by croissant and thyme. The french press brought a cocoa element amidst the strong presence of blueberry, fig, corn chip and croissant amidst a light, juicy body. The siphon finished off with the least berry and the most cocoa, though still delicious with clear soft notes of blueberry, buttery croissant and corn chip. Head and shoulders the best coffee of the three and one of my favorites as of late.

The Uganda Bugisu finished off the coffee trials, another washed community coffee from the land down-mountain from the Sebei coffee. The pourover dealt out notes of pretzel, malt ball, dark cocoa, a little basil and some slight pea within a medium body. The french press had similar flavors but with a bright kick of apple juice, nutmeg and acorn squash with a slight nuttiness akin to almond. The siphon held a little bit more sweetness with a distinct honey taste amidst cocoa, biscuit, nutmeg and a little chianti. Simply put, the coffee was tasty and very multifaceted, but a little too heavy in body at times.

While I definitely loved the Burundi most because of its sweet brightness and pleasant flavors, I thought all three of the coffees proved delicious (albeit each Uganda had some minor aspects I would change). Thus, if you're looking for a great coffee sourced directly from farm relationships in Africa, try out one of Crop to Cup's coffees.

note: coffee was provided free of charge and the above review is objective feedback.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

CC: Toby's Estate

Subject: Toby's Estate 
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Back when I first became fanatical about coffee back in 2005, I noticed that Australia seemed to have a lot going on with specialty coffee. Ever since, I've kept a bit of a peripheral eye on happenings down under, hoping silently that one day I could save enough loot to make a full fledged trip to the wonderful land of Oz. 

Yet one need not traverse halfway around the globe to sample Australian coffee culture. When I went to London a year or so ago, I couldn't help but notice the indelible mark the Australians and Kiwis were leaving on the London scene. In a lesser sense, but all the while growing, NYC has been getting its fair share of the influence. Looking to one of the more notable of the Aussie coffee developments, in beginning of 2012, one of the finer coffee operations of Australia set up its North American flagship in none other then Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Toby's Estate is a coffee operation that seems nicely represented in their home continent, where many major cities seem to be brimming with locales where you can pick up a cup or bag of their coffee. Recently, the operation made landfall in lovely Brooklyn in a huge grey brick building with lots of space. While the outside boasts a clean look with large windows, the interior is a vaulted room of warmth, with large shelves boasting curios and merchandise as well as a large seating area with substantial furniture. 

Stepping up to the efficiently running coffee counter, I ordered an espresso of their Bedford Blend and a pourover of their Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, both of which were served with great cheer. The espresso, pulled short with a light marbled crema, smacked of sweet lemons, cocoa, nutmeg, pepper, cane sugar and sourdough; while not too acidic, it held a predominant brightness and sweetness. The pourover of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe delivered a resoundingly delicious brew that rang of milk, chocolate, fluffy biscuit, apple, citron and a bit of seaweed; a hardy coffee with a smooth, medium body.

Needless to say, I had a bonzer experience all around. While it's not exactly a trip to the land of wonder, it's the next best thing so if you happen to be in Williamsburg or nearby, offer Toby's Estate a visit.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mugged: Kona [Brewklyn Grind]

What does Mugged mean?
Mugged: Brewklyn Kona
Rating: 5+ [see key]

While Hawaii and Brooklyn are two of the farthest apart points in the US (check a map), you can get a dose of each in Brewklyn's Kona. The second of the two coffees I had the pleasure of reviewing from Brewklyn Grind (here's the first), I made quick work of this coffee amidst the usual three means of infusion (drip, french press and siphon).

The drip delivered notes of caramel, half & half, graham cracker, sage and walnuts amidst a smooth, medium body.

The french press differed in some odd-but-good ways, offering flavors of sassafras, graham cracker, bran, filet mignon and cinnamon amidst a heavier body.

The siphon was a compromise between the prior two infusions, holding graham cracker, butter, bran, sage and a little cherry amidst a medium body.

Overall, I liked this coffee a great deal, as it offered some pleasant, sweet flavors along with some differing notes of spices and a pleasant acidity. Not the hands-down-best Kona I've ever had, but a high contender. Give Brewklyn Kona a try if you're looking for a quality American coffee.

note: coffee was provided free of charge and the above review is objective feedback.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mugged: Ethiopian [Brewklyn Grind]


Mugged: Ethiopia Queen City Harrar
Rating: 4+ [see key]

Though I'm a big fan of superb coffee all over the country, I find an extra sprinkling of joy when I find a quality coffee operation in the Northeast. Aside from the proximity and buying relatively local, it does my heart good to see more and more exposure to good beans for the average person out here(such as what VisitPhilly did with this fairly spot-on Foodspotting coffee map).

Going a little further north to Brooklyn, I had gotten word of a coffee roaster called Brewklyn Grind Coffee and Tea. A small-batch coffee roaster in Brooklyn that is not originally-from-the-west-coast is neat enough, but their story really resonated with me. Basically the company grew from a couple of local fellas (brothers I think) who started out with a household coffee passion that grew into a roasting outfit to not only celebrate fine coffee but also Brooklyn.

So to give me a taste of their passion, they sent me out two coffees, the first being the Ethiopia Queen City Harrar. I brewed this medium roast via drip/filter, siphon and french press.

The drip dropped off a cup with notes of raisins, peanuts with the red chaff, subtle Dr. Pepper and a little bran amidst a milky texture and medium body.

The french press was also milky but had much more brightness more akin to blueberry and still had flavors of Dr. Pepper, cocoa and nuts.

The siphon was similar to the french press, with notes of blueberry, Dr. Pepper and cocoa amidst a milky, medium body and a small accent of black pepper.

While I didn't find the drip as spectacular as the french press and siphon, I felt all three were very tasty infusions and exemplified a stellar Ethiopian coffee. If you're in the mood for a good African coffee, give Brewklyn's Harrar a try.  

note: coffee was provided free of charge and the above review is objective feedback.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

CC: Southside Coffee

What's does "CC" mean?
Location visited: Brooklyn, NY
Free WiFi ? : yes
6+ [
see key]

Making it into Brooklyn for coffee is never easy for me. Despite knowing better, I always figure the subway to take a fraction of the actual travel time and when I finally do arrive at my stop, I realize I only have a small bit of time to enjoy my coffee.

So of course, to make sure I have more time for coffee, I briskly walk to my targeted coffeehouse, Southside Coffee on the corner of 19th and 6th. Having caught wind of some local praise and journalistic favor, my unexpected exercise was fueled by high hopes of finding a genuine gem.

Southside sits on a tranquil corner, with outside seating gated off from the sidewalk. Inside, the environment emits a decent coziness amidst orange walls and more tables then usual in a NYC coffeehouse.

Serving up Intelligentsia, I ordered a cup of their House Blend via french press (pre-brewed in a pump pot) as well as an espresso of Black Cat. The House coffee provided sweet honey, a little pear, orange juice, wheat, nutmeg and a bit of almond. The brew had a lot of sweetness to it and despite being a french pressed coffee, it didn't have a lot of sediment. The espresso also proved delicious, with flavors of lemon, peppercorn, cocoa, cane sugar and a touch of Merlot. I did not note the tea.

To put it simply, Southside satisfied my curiosities splendidly. They displayed decent skills along with good coffee to make me one happy camper. I just wish I had given myself more time.

When in South Slope (or nearby), stop by Southside Coffee.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

CC: Gorilla Coffee

What's does "CC" mean?
Location visited: Brooklyn, NY
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

Brooklyn is yet another part of the greater New York City area I've long neglected (oddly enough), but I finally made a visit on a recent Saturday. The conditions could not have been better, as the wind blew just enough to offset the warm rays of the sun and the streets were only mildly populated. Amidst it all, my three companions and I meandered down Flatbush on our way to fantastic fare at the Burrito Bar (great burritos!) and then on to Gorilla Coffee a few blocks over.

Gorilla has long been a place on my list of spots to dock at, so when we finally arrived I was not surprised that there was a line out the door (though I thought many of these people had been before). My compatriots plopped down on their bright red benches out front and I passed into their medium-sized cafe with a busy bar (at least four Gorilla-ians scurrying about) and bright red tables full of patrons.

Gorilla roasts their coffee and as somewhat of a testament to the popularity, half the people in line in front of me grabbed a bag or three of coffee with their order (I'd never seen such volume purchased in 15 minutes!). I ordered their deep roasted Brazilian via drip, a coffee that had been roasted a little too dark for me but had lots of redeeming aspects, such as some pound cake on the front, a bit of noticeable spice like that of a fine cigar and a nice acidity throughout. The espresso fared well, as the shots were pulled short and had a sugary and tart cranberry taste with some decent flecks of vanilla and a decent texture. The tea is Choice Organic Tea.

Satiated, I retrieved my friends outside and we left to go to Junior's Cheesecakes (a place according to my Brookyln-born boss is unparalleled anywhere else and now, after eating their strawberry shortcake cheesecake, I would have to agree). I would say that despite my dark drip, I went pretty ape for Gorilla.

When you're in the Park Slope area of Brooklyn, drag your knuckles down to Gorilla Coffee.