Showing posts with label Cafe Grumpy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cafe Grumpy. Show all posts

Sunday, March 24, 2013

CC: Je & Jo

Subject: Je & Jo
Location: Manhattan, NY
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Amongst the many things I hold an affection for, there are three things I love that I rarely see together: great coffee, great ice cream and a small NYC cafe off the beaten path. And praise the Lord above, I found them all manifested in Je & Jo, a small creamery/coffeehouse in Hell's Kitchen.

Located in a small space with enough room for a bar a long the window (par the course for many places in Manhattan), Je & Jo still pulls off an amazingly warm and cozy shop. As for coffee, they serve Cafe Grumpy and offer french press and espresso, of which I respectively got the El Cielito, Santa Barbara Honduras and Heartbreaker Espresso. The Heartbreaker as an espresso was anything but, with notes lime, cinnamon, chocolate, au jus and sage within a short pull with nice brown crema (aka delicioso). The Honduras hit it out of the park as well, manifesting a medium-bodied coffee smacking of wheat, sugar cane, nougat, basil and a bit of broth. As for the ice cream, I had the pleasure of sampling many of their flavors, all of which have proven dynamite.

I really don't know who could turn down a shop like this . If you happen to be in Manhattan whether for a Broadway show or work, make your way over for a delightful respite of coffee and ice cream at Je & Jo.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Irish Coffee

When it comes to putting stuff in my coffee, I'm a bit of a purist. If you've read my posts before and/or you're good with picking up intent from blog titles, you may have deduced that I pretty much always take my coffee black and prefer my espresso straight. Both, if of high caliber, need no additive to make them delicious.

But as proud descendant of the Irish, I occasionally will bend for a bit of whiskey and cream in my brew. Of course it's not because I find whiskey offensive alone (quite the opposite); it's more that the mixture of a correctly concocted Irish coffee makes for a delicious after-dinner treat. And even though it's near impossible to find a well-made Irish coffee out at eateries (mostly still due to the lack of good beans in restaurants), fortunately there's no true limit to what a coffee enthusiast can do in the confines of their home coffee bar.

To that end, in honor of St. Patrick's Day, I sought to truly explore what Irish coffee could be. I recently set out to try out some different combinations in the space of my kitchen and with the help of Powers Whiskey, Concannon Irish Whiskey, Gorilla Coffee and Cafe Grumpy, I began the exploration.

Of course, the components should be noted separately. I tried out both coffees straight (in the name of science!) and was pleased with the results. From Gorilla Coffee, I sampled their Gishamwana Rwanda, a rich coffee that held notes of cocoa, raisin, orange and thyme within a creamy, medium body. From Cafe Grumpy, I chose their Santa Teresa Dipilto, Nueva Segovia Nicaragua, a delightful coffee that doled out dark chocolate, citrus, light merlot and some light nuttiness amid a supple medium body. To put it plain, both coffees proved delicious on their own and each held the perfect combination of chocolate and bright complexity to compliment the whiskey.

As for the whiskeys, having deep appreciation for a good glass of whiskey served neat, I tried out both separately as well. Powers held notes of vanilla, caramel and some light sage with a noticeably heavier body than most other whiskeys I've had. Concannon proved a little lighter in essence but proved tasty with notes of pound cake, butterscotch, orange juice and a slight smokiness. Neither drink was the best whiskey ever but their agreeable components coupled with their very affordable price tag swiftly nominate both as great whiskeys for Irish coffee.

Now knowing what I was working with, I went to work. I performed multiple trials, using different ratios of a simple recipe of brown sugar, coffee, whiskey and home-made thick cream (i.e. not fully whipped so it's pourable). In the end, I found a great recipe for someone looking for a just-so-sweet Irish Coffee.

As for the different components, I found they all worked splendidly together. Both coffees provided a silky and cocoa-ish backbone to furnish the sweet, vanilla and bright flavors of either whiskey. Especially with the cream floating on the top to provide the correct trademark taste (remember to pour the thick cream onto the back of a spoon), I found my final recipe a home run (note that it's nothing ground breaking; just minor differences from the original):

Irish Coffee
  • 6 oz. of quality coffee brewed a touch stronger (i.e. add about 2-4 grams of freshly ground coffee to your usual water/grounds ratio to accommodate for the upcoming dilution)
  • 2 tsp. of brown sugar
  • 1.5 oz. of whiskey
  • Freshly and lightly whipped heavy cream
  • Preheated mug (simply heat your mug by letting hot water sit in it)
1. Brew your coffee in the desired method (I recommend pourover or siphon to keep a cleaner cup), using 2-4 grams more of coffee than usual to make the coffee more potent.
2. Add the brown sugar to the empty mug and then pour in the hot coffee. Stir lightly.
3. Add whiskey.
4. Using the back of a spoon, lightly pour the thick cream over the top the spoon to make the cream float on top (this aspect of the cream is not only a necessity of custom but also a linchpin in the taste of the drink as the other components must pass through the cream on the way to the mouth).
If you're on the lookout for whiskey well-suited for Irish coffee, look to Powers Whiskey or Concannon Irish Whiskey for your spirit. As for the coffee, since the two above won't be around forever, make sure to choose a high quality, well-roasted, sweet dessert-like coffee.

note: coffee and whiskey was provided mostly free of charge and the above article is objective feedback.

Friday, December 22, 2006

CC: Cafe Grumpy

What's a Coffee Commentary?

Subject: Cafe Grumpy
Location visited: Manhattan, NY
224 West 20th Street)
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

n another excursion with the lovely girlfriend, we spent the day wandering the bustling metropolis of Manhattan. We took in Christmas sights, had an interesting walk through Harlem, and even spotted this curious vendor (Luscious Aixa's Paper) out of Hoboken who had some of the nicest leather-bound parchment.

Towards the end of the day, we make our way back home from the South St Seaport with an agreed stop at Cafe Grumpy (I begged), a Brooklyn-based coffeehouse that had recently sprouted a Chelsea location (Chelsea is a neighborhood in Lower Manhattan). The overall operation has received much acclaim and I figured a small detour for an after-dinner coffee stood as a wonderful idea.

My premonition couldn't have been more right. To get straight to the coffee, I stood amazed at the wonder that met my eyes when I ordered my coffee: a beautiful java contraption that makes individual cups of coffee of french press quality in a mere 40 seconds! I didn't believe it could happen for I have seen too many "pod" coffee machines that boast superior coffee and yet fail, but after watching the barista work this wonder machine, I stand convinced.
*After later research, I discovered it's called a Clover 1s and is supposedly the first of its kind on the market.

Moving on, the coffee itself was Counter Culture, a growing coffee operation out of North Carolina that seems to emphasize social conscience and high quality. I swear I've had experience with Counter Culture before, a bad one at that, but the coffee I had at Grumpy was tasty and full-bodied with very little bitterness (could it have been just the machine that made a difference???).

The espresso also tasted great. The shot was pulled with finesse and it tasted very smooth and not too bitter. Their espresso blend comes from Ecco Cafe, yet another company I could have sworn I had a bad experience with but the blend that Grumpy uses for espresso was pretty good.

The tea was Art of Tea, an operation that seems to place emphasis not only on the taste of tea but on outward aesthetics as well. From the looks of it alone, the products look appetizing though I can't vouch for it from experience.

To sum it up, if you frequent or visit Manhattan or Brooklyn, you need to make a stop by. It's worth the effort.