July 18, 2013 by skeeta79
Confession…I will drink Starbucks if I have to. I actually like Frappacinos – which I guess doesnt really count. And when I say ‘have to’ I mean when I’m in the US because I’d rather swallow draino than drink brewed/drip filtered coffee. At least the two-tailed mermaid is something resembling espresso.
However I felt a civic duty this trip to research where in NY the real coffee is hiding. There’s been a spate of Aussies who have taken the charge and opened proper cafes in Manhattan and Brooklyn and I was going to find them. Challenge accepted.
HEADS UP: Whilst we found decent baristas, for some reason the coffee always tasted better when we sat and drank in. Also for such a litigious society, Americans seem to need to make the coffee scalding to the point of trying to give your oesophagus third degree burns. So particularly when I was doing ‘take away’ I’d ask if they could make sure the milk wasnt too hot. Probably sounded like a brat, but who cares – the accent should’ve given them the hint that coffee isn’t a joking matter. You can thank me for that tip later.
I admit I didn’t get to all of the places on my list…also turns out Hugh Jackman is a silent partner in a cafe called Laughing Man in TriBeCa…yeh, wish I had known that so I could’ve done some Wolverine stalking…I wonder how Wolverine holds a coffee cup?
Ruby’s cafe, NoLiTa – didn’t partake in the caffiene but we walked past this on the way to Little Italy/Chinatown – looked like a cafe should and busy enough to suggest trying it.
Also didn’t make it to Milk Bar in Brooklyn or its sister Bluebird coffee shop, East 1st St – but the name Milk Bar should give away its Aussie influence. Let me know what you think if you go. When, you know, you just happen to pop in to Manhattan.
I did however make it to Culture Espresso – it was on the same street (38th) as our apartment but West, instead of East, so not exactly next door…great looking cafe and excellent coffee – there was a queue out the door of both ‘down under’ accents and local yanks wanting their cawfee. I cant believe I didn’t have one of their signature choc-chip cookies…some days I’m just foolish.
Ninth St Espresso is a take-away coffee bar in Chelsea Market. Of all the ‘good’ coffees I tried, this was the least impressive but it still kicked goals over regular joe (there are a few other locations, so the coffee may vary at each site depending on the barista). Based on their website they have some wanky approach to espresso (ie it doesn’t look like you can just order a cappucino – however they are considered the first to bring true espresso to NY so high-5 for that). Good to grab on your way to walk the Highline.
The lucky find was Lucid Cafe, tucked in under our apartment building. Some may have seen my FB post at the time – we’d been on a very early train from Boston so dumped our bags and set off in search of caffiene (or tea for Fran – I should point out she doesn’t drink coffee so was very patient in putting up with my investigative journalism). Thinking it would be a Starbucks event, a tiny blackboard with ‘espresso’ written on it caught our eye as we rounded the corner of the building…and there it was – a little (aka tiny – so small if they had a website the URL would be bigger than the cafe) mecca in the middle of nowhere (we stayed in the most perfect location – close to everywhere but no tourist spots for a couple of blocks). Proper coffee (once we’d established a reduced milk temp) and of the 4 chairs and room for 2 standing the count was 4 Aussies and 2 Kiwis. What The Froth? I’ll say it again, when it comes to antipodeans and decent coffee – if you brew it, we will come.
PS – there is a truckload of bracket use in this post…(it’s like you get two trains of thought at the same time…so lucky!)