I have a friend who is a coffee aficionado. His eyes light up when he discusses the perfect brew, and his knowledge of New York City coffeeshops might be unparalled. One afternoon he took me to Cafe Grumpy, a sliver of a spot tucked away on a side street in Chelsea. Inside, two state-of-the-art brewing machines (rumored to cost around 10K each) prepare the coffee you’ve chosen from an exotic list of choices (I went with an Ethiopian bean). A few baked goods are on display, but the reason you are there is to savor what might be the perfect expression of gourmet coffee. Indeed, it puts the bitter sludge you pay $1 for at city street carts in stark perspective.
However, the most beautiful cup of coffee I have ever had came at the price of $7 while finishing lunch recently at Union Square Cafe. They offered a pot (a generously-sized french press) of Selva Negra Estate, an organic blend of Bourbon, Caturra and Catauai beans grown in Nicaragua. They promised it would be lush and it was, a deep coffee with subtle nuances of cinnamon, clove and my favorite, cardamom.
Cafe Grumpy: 224 W. 20th St, NYC. Open from 7AM-9PM. Visit their website here.
Union Square Cafe: 21 E. 16th St, NYC. Visit website here.