As in my previous coffee journal updates I’ll go in chronological order of coffee experiences in this first official ‘Barry’s NYC Coffee Journal’ update…After going to a doctor’s appointment in Midtown I decided to check out Blue Bottle’s Rockefeller Center location. Thankfully though I had some difficulty finding it I had a great experience starting from the moment that I walked in. As with my love for seeing others enjoying craft beer it was exciting to see tourists and young professionals ordering good quality coffee and buying beans to take home. Another aspect of this cafe that impressed me was that it’s set up as if 2 cafes are operating in one location. One serving only coffee and the other serving coffee and food. So after browsing their selection of single origin coffees I picked their ‘Ethiopia Sidama Hunkute’ and a Costa Rican coffee whose cupping notes peeked my interest and then decided to order my usual pour-over and macchiato from the counter serving both coffee and food. To my delight both baristas were open to geeking out with me, helping me finalize my decision for which single origin coffees to purchase, and chat about the aromas I picked up from the ‘Ethiopia Sidama Hunkute’ (ESH) pour-over (lemongrass and black tea) that I had ordered. As seen in the picture that I took with my cell phone when I got home I ended up swapping the Costa Rican beans out with the barista recommended ‘Honduras Santa Elena Mayor Victor Ventura’ (HSEMVV). Upon brewing them at home I was surprised that the ESH wasn’t as berry forward as the other Sidama coffees that I’ve tried, but enjoyed it nonetheless…At first the HSEMVV didn’t impress me as much as i thought it would because I hadn’t tried a coffee with a combination of brown sugar and nutty sweetness in the aroma and upfront taste. However, once it cooled down a bit some mild acidity surfaced and made my drinking experience quite enjoyable. One last thing that I’d like to note here is that while a touch pricey I enjoy being able to buy 8oz bags of beans at Blue Bottle cafes so that I can buy 2 single origin coffees at once to enjoy over the following week or so (instead of buying one 12 or 16oz bag).
The next two coffees that I alternated between each involve their own rather unique new specialty coffee experiences or stories if you will…For those of you who follow my homebrewing blog I recently brewed a brown ale and then split it so I could add cold brewed coffee to one half. As you can see in the picture to the left I purchased two coffees from Porto Rico Importing Company (Columbian Supreme and their Iced Coffee Blend), cold brewed a portion of them using my usual 1 cup coarsely ground coffee to 3 cups water rartio, and then added some of the Columbian Supreme cold brew to one half of my brown ale. Luckily I had more than enough beans leftover to brew via my Hario V60 pour-over cone and the french press that I keep in my office at work.
The next coffee that I enjoyed brewing at home involved the following experience. After yet another dental appointment at the NYU clinic I headed straight to Madman Espresso (14th Street between 1st and 2nd avenues) for a dose of “my usual”. Thankfully the pour-over coffee of the day was a single origin from Caffe Vita called Columbia Esperanza and not a blend (not that blends aren’t also good). As i sipped on it I looked up the cupping notes on my phone and was able to pick up the honey and pineapple notes that I had just read about…This time I decided to order a second pour-over instead of a macchiato and before leaving I bought a pound of Columbia Esperanza beans to go. I should not that the barista scooped the beans from his large bag into a smaller one that he had saved for this type of occasion. Upon asking for the beans he informed me that a free espresso shot comes with the purchase of beans to go. So for the first time I gave straight espresso a try and to my surprise I was able to enjoy it without a chaser of club soda or needing to add milk. In turn, I’ll definitely be ordering straight espresso again to truly taste the difference between the coffees that NYC roasters use for their espresso drinks.
As you may have seen in my previous blog post (‘Public Service Announcement / Where I stand‘); I visited Gorilla Coffee‘s Bergen Street location on Monday, December 28th. Upon my arrival I was pleased to see that the cafe wasn’t too busy. As I usually do, I first browsed their “beans to go” (yes I know coffee is technically a fruit) selection and chose Asobagri, a Guatemalan single origin coffee whose cupping notes are baker’s chocolate, plum, and mango. I then walked up to the counter and asked the barista for a pour-over recommendation. She recommended and I then ordered their SAN JOAQUIN, EL SALVADOR which had a great floral spice note to it that I really enjoyed. In addition, to the pour-over I ordered their single origin espresso of the day (La Esperanza, El Salvador) in a macchiato, which I wasn’t too impressed by, but I’d still like to taste the coffee itself at some point…Having enjoyed the Asobagri over the days since purchasing it I’m quite certain that I’ll be buying more Gorilla single origin coffees in the near future…As a side note to me this Guatemalan coffee initially presents with a punch of honey in the aroma and taste that is typical of coffees that I’ve tasted from Guatemala and Colombia, but as it cools a big dose of delicious baker’s chocolate and fruity acidity dominate the aroma and flavor and make for a perfect cold weather drinking experience.
So why’d I decide to start a completely separate blog devoted to sharing my NYC specialty coffee experiences? Two conversations that took place this past Monday guided me towards starting a coffee blog instead of continuing to post ‘coffee journal updates’ on my homebrewing blog. First, when chatting with the baristas at Gorilla Coffee I told them that I have been trying my best to visit as many of NYC’s coffee roasters as possible and they were both quite curious about which ones I had been to and which ones I enjoyed the most. Then once I got to work I was had a great discussion with a fellow coffee geek friend of mine via Facebook and he asked me why I hadn’t started a coffee blog yet. So after looking over the updates that I had already posted on thebrewedpalate.com I decided to take the time to register a new WordPress blog called Barry’s NYC Coffee Journal. I hope you enjoy this first official journal update…I’m looking forward to continuing to share more of my NYC specialty coffee experiences with you in the near future.