We took some time with three influential roasters in the specialty coffee industry to talk a little bit about how they got into roasting to begin with, and where they've taken it now.
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It's both the salvation of the freelancer and the bane of the cafe owner's existence: the coffee-shop-as-workplace. And though the scenario's second-nature in most cities, finding a place to "laptop camp" in New York City can prove to be a bit of a challenge. That said, there are a handful of places that still let, and in some cases encourage, their working patrons to linger.
It's the Starbucks Capital of the USA, the birthplace of specialty coffee in America and the only place you can reliably get a cappuccino at the laundromat—so why aren't there more truly exceptional coffee places in Seattle? We've got our hunches—it's a city steeped in a certain tradition of coffee, and one where there's plenty of coffee that's at least very good—so digging the most special cafes out of the throngs of "specialty cafes" can be a toughie. And though any rundown of the top of the tops in the Emerald City is sure to incite minor street riots, we're pleased to point you toward the truly best stops on the Seattle Coffee Tour, as we see it.
Just because you only have the time to walk five short blocks for lunch or coffee shouldn't leave Midtownites stranded, and though it's a part of Gotham slow to embrace, say, a lengthy Chemex brew, it shouldn't be so hard to find a great cup of carefully crafted, thoughtfully sourced, beautifully roasted coffee in the heart of Midtown New York City, right? Well...maybe. We'll let the economy catch up for a bit and cross our fingers for a flood of newcomers in months and years to come (we're looking at you, future Blue Bottle Rockefeller Center) and in the meantime point out a few truly great oases in a blighted landscape of chains and delis.
The playing field of cool brewed coffee has widened considerably since the days when espresso over ice was the only option. From industrial plastic tubs to mesmerizing chemistry-set corkscrew drippers, cold brew is in full summer effect. Whether you're toting a cup of melting ice cubes to the park, or bringing home a handsome bottle to nurse all week long, you want your coffee cold? Baby, you've got options.
As spring blushes into summer, the emergence of lush, almost enthusiastically flavorful Kenyan coffees has come upon us courtesy of some of North America's finest roasters. We've rounded up four of the very best of these—all hailing from the fruitful Nyeri region of Kenya—plus a bonus coffee from Burundi for good measure.
Lower rents and a tabula rasa of long-forsaken storefronts with huge potential dominate the ever-changing Bed-Stuy, and coffee is hot on the heels of restaurants and hipster-exodus gentrifiers in populating the city's streets. Three of the newest are doing a great job both in pouring above-the-bar espresso and coffee drinks, as well as filling out a sense of community in a constantly shifting landscape.
There are few neighborhoods more pleasant for a coffee wander than those on the East Village and Lower East Side of Manhattan. There must be something in the proximity of the East River that just brings the magic—wait, scratch that—at least there's something in the community, anyhow. This list comprises a handful of our favorite coffee destinations in the neighborhood.
If New York City is truly in the throes of birthing a coffee revolution, it's going to be impossible to do so without true five-borough penetration. Sweetleaf Coffee in Long Island City, Queens, joins the neighborhood's trendy upswing by raising its own game: now a place of bigger, better beauty in which to savor the borough's best coffees.
Distance from the beaten path has never much thwarted New Yorkers or coffee snobs, most of whom relish the opportunity to get the hell off that beaten path anyway. Hike on out to Red Hook, then, where Stumptown Coffee's much-lauded Brooklyn roastery has at long last opened a cafe space open to the public, the Red Hook Tasting Room.