Showing posts with label Ithaca. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ithaca. Show all posts

Monday, March 29, 2021

Forty Weight Coffee Roasters

Subject: Forty Weight Coffee Roasters
Location: Ithaca, NY
WiFi?: yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

I have seen many farmer markets in my travels, but none exactly like Ithaca. Most markets are set up in a grid and consist chiefly of tables but the Ithaca Farmers Market has an ambiance, electricity and variety that is hard to find elsewhere in the region. When I lived in Syracuse, I had gone to the market a few times but since I moved away a decade ago, I had not set foot. Thankfully I recently got the opportunity to visit again to check out the wares and grab some coffee. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Mugged: Copper Horse Coffee

Subject: Copper Horse Coffee Roasters
Coffees Mugged and Rating [see key]:
Ngoma Microlot #3 Burundi  6+
Bloom and Bough Blend  5+
Finca Auroro Xolhuitz Guatemala  5+

As a former resident of Central New York, it always warms my heart to see great coffee gaining a stronger foothold in the land of finger lakes and (seemingly) eternal winter. Back in my first days up north, the options for coffee roasters were few and thankfully, the options have grown varied and delicious ever since I left. One of the newer and more delicious of these entities is an Ithaca operation called Copper Horse Coffee Roasters. Getting three of their coffees sent down my way, I took each for a spin via pourover, french press and siphon.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Shop Cafe

Subject: The Shop Cafe
Location: Ithaca, NY
WiFi?: Yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

Back when central New York was a regular stomping ground, Ithaca was one of my favorite haunts. Its lovely small town shops, independent culture and its array of good coffeehouses always made for a nice little day trip.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

CC: Dryden Community Center Cafe

What's does "CC" mean? Location visited: Dryden, NY
Free WiFi ? : yes

3+ [
see key]

Community centers, places where the townspeople hang out, seem to be a thing of lore these days. Sure there's your typical fire hall or space that can be rented out for large events, but an actual community center where people can just stop in without incurring a cost seems to be extinct in most lands.

But it just so happens that the town of Dryden, a small town between Ithaca and Cortland, not only has a community center but has a community center cafe that apparently uses volunteers to staff the counter. Curious how a cafe dependent on volunteer labor looked, as well as the fact that I happened to be in the area, equaled out to a quick stop by the DCCC.

The cafe is located on the corner of what seems the town center. The building is a lovely brick structure with open windows. The interior looks kind of like a community center, with out-dated decor and mostly old dorm furniture, but despite the shortcomings, the cafe demonstrated a nice environment (especially by the windows).

They serve Coffee Mania via pump pot and espresso (for ridiculously low prices too!). I ordered a small cup of drip and via their selection of brews brewed, I went for the Brazil Magiana, a sweet coffee that had reminded me of Yoo Hoo, sweet bread and sunflower sprinkled with cayenne pepper and a little sauciness (I think it was a little stale). The espresso, a medium shot with not much crema, smacked of citrus, milk chocolate and beef broth amidst a milky body and a tingle of bitterness on the end. The tea was available in various bagged assortments.

Given the above drinks were fairly decent AND came from unpaid community volunteers, I have to say I stand slightly impressed. This community cafe took the time to use a decent, local roaster and also take their espresso (at least somewhat) seriously. If I could also give out points for heart, I would.

This is a place that deserves business and hopefully with time, will improve greatly. Stop by the Dryden Community Center Cafe.

Friday, April 11, 2008

CC: Smart Monkey Cafe

What's a Coffee Commentary?

Smart Monkey Cafe
Location visited: Ithaca, NY
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

Completely organic establishments seem to be hit-or-miss in my experience. I've hit some that reek of the pungent smell of vitamins and others that have prices that are way beyond reason for most people making less then $200K a year. Yet once in a while I will discover a place that smells nice, has moderate pricing, and actually has appetizing food (that's a killer trio!).

While driving the streets of Ithaca, my wife spotted a sign that said something to the effect of "coffee this way"; we had other plans for the time being but we figured we'd check it out before we left town. A couple hours later, we pulled into their somewhat confusing one way driveway, parked, and made our way in. At first glimpse, the cafe seems to be part of a larger structure but upon entering I realized that the cafe was actually the whole structure. The interior was a massive open atrium (with space in the middle large enough for a giraffe to jump in), decorated Rainforest-Cafe-style, and complete with drive-thru.

As you may have guessed, the initial standout feature of this place was that Smart Monkey serves only organic fare. As for coffee, they use local Gimme! coffee (only the organic ones I guess) which boasted the normal Gimme! quality though my particular cup was slightly stale. The espresso was pulled fairly decently; it possessed a nice tangy sweetness yet also a little sharpness. I didn't note the tea (though I'm pretty sure it is organic free leaf of sorts). The cafe also has a very full menu for all three meals, including alcohol and sit-down service for dinner.

While I did find the Smart Monkey as a tremendous example of what an organic cafe/coffeehouse should look like, it seemed that a couple of areas in their coffee operation could be spruced up (such as I can't say I was sold on their passion). Nonetheless, if you're looking for a nice open space to get some work done or a place for (what seemed like) a nice "natural" meal, drop in on the Smart Monkey.

Friday, February 15, 2008

CC: Ithaca Coffee Company

What's a Coffee Commentary?

Ithaca Coffee Company
Location visited: Ithaca, NY
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]

It really comes as a surprise to me how much influence pretty architecture, decor, and design has on my bearings when I come across businesses, especially (and obviously) coffee establishments. It's always refreshing to see a local, regional, or even national establishment put creativity and pizazz into their decor. Not to mention that a business that puts you to sleep with its drab walls or eye-burning decor needs to spend a little time rethinking the importance of first impressions.

So when I pulled up to Ithaca Coffee Company, I was very used to the flat brick exterior as there's not much one can (cheaply) do with the outer face; it's the inside that should shine (though they had very nice red awnings). Yet when I walked in, I was a little perplexed, as the sign said "Ithaca Coffee Company" but the coffee establishment in my midst said "Cafe Quik-E Mart." The place was very much filled with all kinds of products, even beer towards the back of the space. Upon further inspection of the company, it seems they produce a whole lot more then coffee so consequently the space serves dually as a cafe and store (at first, caught me as weird but now it seems to be a wise service of convenience). To their credit, the place has a decent look and moderate seating, but I think it could use a bit more design love.

Onto the product, ICC roasts a number of varieties of coffee, with a good handful that look pretty promising according to their website. In-house, the coffee sampled nicely with some floral and berry accents in the coffee (I recall it being the Ithaca blend). The espresso was also not bad, as it possessed a nice fruitiness in the cup and a barista that seemed to have qualified skills. I failed to note the tea.

After leaving, I gotta say I kind of envy Ithaca. They not only have Gimme! but on days where they want something different, they have ICC; especially if they need to grab a some cheese and a 6-pack.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

CC: Gimme! Coffee

What's a Coffee Commentary?

Gimme! Coffee
Location visited: Ithaca, NY and Manhattan, NY
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 6+ [see key]

4.11.08 - Upate follows original post

ome say the key to a successful operation is just having a good product while others expect that a well-hyped and deliciously packaged product is the goal. And while I do know a couple places that do thrive on just one of those criteria, obviously a business that masters both is going places.

In my opinion, Gimme! Coffee must be the Northeast poster child of such dual success. I've seen more plugs/ads/publicity for Gimme! coffee (they roast their own) and espresso (apparently they have some strong mastery) then any other nearby operation, and for seemingly good reason as I've heard nothing but positive things from lots of credible sources. The only negative thing I read was that they really like to roast dark, which could be good (if they know what they're doing) or bad (if they purvey nothing but charred oiliness).

Obviously hearing so many pleasant things about a place so relatively close (in NYC area as well as Ithaca), I made it a point to stop by the first chance I was near a location. Ironically, the first time I was near Ithaca, I hit a closed sign by a mere 8 minutes (drat was I disappointed) but a month or so later, I made a day trip to Ithaca plenty early so to make a day of the town (Ithaca is gorges!).

The first store I made it to was State St, a location tucked into a block of various small Ithaca businesses with an all but too quaint, flat brick face. The outside had some exterior seating with a very inviting appearance complimented with a very warm (orangy-red!) interior filled with patrons. The only odd thing about the inside was the overwhelming smell of celery or minestrone (it lingered in my nostrils like an angry hornet). The coffee was a stellar brew (I believe it was a Bolivian) with a beautifully smooth body and a floral accent. The espresso held a full, chocolaty sweetness and was pulled wonderfully. The tea is Harney and Sons, a tea I've found all too wonderful at other establishments.

The other store was their Cayuga St location, seemingly placed on a very random corner near what appeared to be a canal or irrigation channel and some local residences (what a nice place to live). The outside was a beautiful store front with large windows and exterior seating, while the inside was a high-ceilinged narrow store with the counter smack in the middle of the place with seating orbiting around it. This place was also packed. The coffee, espresso, and tea here were of similar superb quality with some talented baristas working the machines.

I must say that my visit to the Gimme locations lived up to the hype, as they were extremely professional in their performance and product. But as they are a roaster and purvey to various establishments, I've also had some truly poor Gimme roasts from other vendors (some really really dark coffee that I don't think was meant to be brewed) but what can you do? Make a point to give a visit to one of the Gimme locations in either Ithaca, Trumansburg, or the NYC area (I do believe there's a Manhattan location forthcoming on top of their Brooklyn establishment, but I could be misquoted).

*Update 4.11.08

Visited the new Mott St Manhattan location. While a very small space, the coffee and espresso still hold to the same quality. Make sure to give it a stop.