Monday, October 12, 2009

Coffee


One of my favorite places to get a cup of coffee is Ninth Street Espresso at their original digs on 9th street between Avenues C and D (700 9th Street, to be exact). Artisanal coffee has become such a thing here you'd think it was Seattle or Portland.

Speaking of Portland, establishments serving Stumptown coffee now hang arty little signs outside advertising the fact. A little co-branding never hurts, especially if it encourages people to drop 3 to 4 bucks on a cappuccino. For those wanting the real Stumptown experience New Yorkers no longer have to hop a plane to get it, thanks to the new Ace Hotel which plays host to the first Stumptown cafe in our fair city.

The Mud Truck seems to be permanently parked across the street from Cooper Union on Astor Place. I love their sense of fun, 60's graphic sensibilities and fun music, but mostly I like their strong coffee.

After Yoga you're supposed to drink lots of water and cleanse yourself (or something like that). Instead, I like to go to Everyman and get jacked on caffeine. It was started by the Ninth street people, but then got sold, but the new owners make an equally rockin' cup o' Joe. I go to Om Yoga at 12th and Broadway just upstairs from the Strand, so Everyman is just a hop, skip and a jump away on 13th street and Third ave.

Mostly what got me thinking about coffee today was not how much of the stuff I consume, but how expensive it has gotten to buy good quality beans that fit all my criteria. I like my beans to be roasted locally (the Roasting Plant does it on the premises and in their shop on Orchard the roaster was in the front window, I wish they would put it back, they had to move it when they opened their fancy new West Village location) , be preferably shade grown, organic and grown by people who aren't being exploited by the folks who purchase their product, so Fair Trade or the even better Direct Trade.

So if you are as big an addict as I am and fussy to boot you're no longer getting the canned stuff from the ghetto grocery store across the street for 4.99. No sirree, if you're like me your spending 12-14 for a pound of the good stuff, that is if you don't plan ahead or don't want to shop at a mega grocery store where sometimes you can get a deal. I like supporting small business people, and I really like supporting people who are helping farmers make a living wage, which is why all summer as part of my CSA I was getting my coffee from Crop to Cup. What I really like about them, other than how great their coffee tastes, is their commitment to making the production of coffee personal. You can go on their site and see movies of their farmers talking about coffee beans and farming. The majority of them seem to be in Uganda (now why couldn't Rick Warren be doing something productive in Africa like this, instead of proselytizing and spreading his pernicious homophobic hate and intolerance? But I digress...)

Crop to Cup is a wholesale business with a non-profit attached to it so if you want to add a buck to your order it is a tax deduction and goes directly to the farmers. The best thing is because they don't have retail overhead, if you are willing to buy a 5 pound bag of beans it works out to be about $9 a pound! I have yet to place an order on their site so I'm not sure how much the shipping is, but they're pretty easy to get to from my place so maybe they'll let me go and pick it up? They also have a coffee club which if you sign up to have a regular shipment they give you a further discount.

Worth checking out and as a caffeine addict I can vouch for their beans. I mix equal parts Uganda Bugisu and Citizen Espresso for what is, to me, a perfect cup of coffee.

Cheers.

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