Wednesday, May 12, 2010

To Do List

It's been a while... ok, almost 2 entire months since I've posted a review. Admittedly, I've been slacking on the Java Haus blog, but do not think I've given up! The last two months have been very busy. Between being a full-time college student and juggling a part-time job, I haven't had much time to write reviews for the blog. To make it even harder, I'll be heading out to Long Island for the summer in just two weeks.

Going out to Long Island for the summer makes blogging about New York City tough, but there are also some good things that will come out of it. I will be reviewing eastern Long Island coffee shops. While there are probably less coffee shops in eastern Long Island than there are in the West Village alone, the few we have give hip-Manhattan coffee shops some good competition. I'll also be working on a coffee-related project with a friend of mine, but won't reveal the details just yet.

As I prepare to leave New York City until the fall, I want to get in a few more reviews. Cafe Grumpy has caught the attention of blogs and news websites, as they now serve a $12 cup of coffee. I'm not sure if I have the financial resources to experiment with this, but it is high on my list for things to try. I also want to get a review up of Blue Bird Cafe in the East Village. I've spent a lot of time at Grounded lately, and recently tried the Grounded Spiced Latte, the shops signature drink. It may be my favorite drink there, and contains honey, vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon. I like going to Grounded for a cozy atmosphere where I can get work done. It's certainly my favorite spot I've found so far.

I know I've probably lost the attention of many readers since I haven't posted in a while, but I'd love to hear suggestions of places you enjoy, or places you would like me to review.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Grounded Coffee Featured in Daily Show Segment!

Although I usually don't watch much television, The Daily Show is one program I try to watch regularly. Last week, during a segment on open-carrying rights, I noticed a familiar place. Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac went into Grounded in the West Village strapped with (presumably fake) guns to order his tea. The clip in general is funny, and also great to see one of my favorite coffee shops!

Open Carrier Discrimination
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Monday, April 12, 2010

Gorilla Coffee Workers Walk Out

The employees at Gorilla Coffee in Park Slope have all walked out due to what they describe as a "perpetually malicious, hostile, and demeaning work environment." I have never been to Gorilla Coffee, but this is pretty big news that goes beyond just coffee. The New York Times has even covered the incident. Read the New York Times article here, where you can also read the employees statements.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

West Village Review: Third Rail Coffee

The New York Times recently mentioned Third Rail Coffee as one of the top 10 coffee shops in New York City (Read it here), and I've been eager to try it since. Located in the heart of the West Village, a neighborhood where good coffee is becoming almost as common as sex shops, Third Rail has been able to stand out as one of the best coffee shops around.

Third Rail is located on Sullivan Street, just a block south of Washington Square Park. Although seating is limited in this small shop, you can take it to go and enjoy whatever festivities are happening in the park, which I always find enjoyable since there is almost always a jazz improv band playing. What they lack in seating is made up for in their coffee itself. I ordered a cappuccino, and I must say it was the best I've had yet! It was noticeably fresh and slightly more sweet than others I've had so far.

There are a few things that separate Third Rail from other coffee shops around the city. They were the first place in New York to use Chemex coffee makers and filters, in which they brew four different single origin coffees, as well as their decaf in. Other shops have followed their lead and also began using Chemex, which is a new, top-notch way to brew coffee. Still, Third Rail remains one of the few in the city who use Chemex, and are also the only coffee shop in New York to carry both Intelligentsia and Stumptown coffee. Of the four single origins they have, two are Intelligentsia, and two are Stumptown, and offer the following:

Papua New Guinea: Agoga
Burundi: Miyonge
Ethiopia: Michelle
Rwanda: Muyongwe

Besides great coffee, they also offer pastries, some of which are vegan-friendly. They serve tea and hot chocolate, and support direct trade with high quality companies. The New York Times ranked Third Rail Coffee as one of the Top 10 coffee shops in New York City. Does it deserve such an accolade? In my opinion, yes. They are able to separate themselves from other shops around the city on more than one level, a difficult feat in a neighborhood that offers some of the best coffee in New York. I've had my best cappuccino to date here, and I'm certain it was not by chance. Though it is not ideal for laptop users looking to stay for a while, it is perfect for anybody looking for a great cup of coffee.

Location: 240 Sullivan Street, bewteen Bleecker and West 3rd

Ost Village Review: Ost Cafe

I have started a few recent blog entries with a sentence about the beautiful weather, and always note how eager I am to take advantage of it. Unfortunately, this weekend felt like February all over again. That didn't stop me from getting down to Ost Cafe (which I hope means "East" in German) in the East Village last night. I had actually ran into Jason Schwartzman on my block the other day, and after a brief chat about coffee, he recommended I check out Ost Cafe. My day was off to a late start, but I was able to make it down in the evening and warm up in this cozy shop with a great cappuccino!

The first thing I noticed about Ost Cafe was comfortable and spacious it was. There is plenty of seating, including a counter, but it is not cluttered or cramped inside. The inside is modeled after two coffee shops in Slovakia, and the atmosphere is relaxing and welcoming. There is a certain sense of community inside that can't be found in every coffee shop, especially in a major urban environment like New York City. The baristas are also some of the friendliest I have encountered yet, and their sense of humor keeps the mood of the shop light-hearted and fun. Even though it is one of the better shops I've seen to sit down and relax in, they do not allow laptops after 7 p.m, which is important to note if you plan on being there late.

The menu is basic, however besides coffee, they also serve wine. With that wine, you can order meat and cheese plates. They brew Intelligentsia coffee, which they make sure is fresh and in season. All espresso drinks are made with two shots, which I see as only a good thing. I got a cappuccino, which as I mentioned in a previously blog, is normally not something I would get, but have been quite fond of lately. They also have small pastries, though I was there in the evening, so I'm sure most were sold out.

The small town, neighborhood feel is definitely what stands out about Ost Cafe. The drinks are certainly of high quality, and the baristas are exceptionally friendly and have a great sense of humor. The atmosphere is refreshing, and there is plenty of room and chairs if you would like to sit down inside for a while. Perfect to escape the sometimes chaotic, small coffee shops in the neighborhood.

Location: 12th Street and Avenue A
Directions: 4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R, W to Union Square

Monday, March 22, 2010

Upcoming Reviews and Going DIY!

This weekend I finally got my hands on a coffee grinder. I've been without one since moving to New York, and all it took was a trip back to Long Island for me to grab one from home. I've relied on buying coffee from stores, which has been unwise financially. Don't think I'll visit shops to review less often now that I can make quality coffee from home though. It's not an everyday thing for me to buy a four dollar espresso at a downtown coffee shop, and I'm usually stuck with mediocre, cheap coffee from Tal Bagel (best bagels I've had in New York though!). I don't know all that much about specific coffee grinders, but this one is virtually silent, which is enough to impress me!

I also brought back some organic, fair-trade Columbian coffee from Aldo's, a local coffee shop in Greenport that certainly deserves its own review in the future. I only brought back a little, and plan on getting the Alphabet City blend from Ninth Street Espresso when I run out. In the meantime, I'm really enjoying the coffee from Aldo's. It will especially come in handy this week with the three midterms I have! After that my schedule opens up, and I plan on getting down to Third Rail Coffee in the West Village and The Bluebird Coffee Shop in the East Village by the weekend. I did go back to Grounded today to get some work done, and unfortunately right after I ordered my Nutella espresso, I noticed the Grounded Signature Espresso. I can't remember the exact ingredients, but I do remember thinking it could possibly be even better than their Nutella latte.

If you have any suggestions or requests on which coffee shop I should review next, please let me know! More reviews will be coming in the following weeks at a more consistent rate, and I am always looking for new places to try out.

My current set up (the coffee is from Columbia, just in an Ethiopian bag):

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Joe: The Art Of Coffee

When researching the best coffee shops in New York City, you are guaranteed to see one name mentioned in all blogs: Joe. Joe Coffee is one of New York's most reputable coffee shops, and I decided that it was time for me to see if its coffee lived up to its reputation. I screwed up this past weekend by not going to the original location for Ninth Street Espresso, another one of the top dogs in New York, and made sure not to make the same mistake with Joe. There are five different locations around the city, but the one most often talked about is located on Waverly Place in the West Village. The West Village is home to some of the best coffee shops in New York, including my personal favorite, Grounded coffee on Jane Street.

I had first heard about Joe because I had read that Amy Sedaris would occasionally sell her famous cheeseballs and cupcakes there. I called Joe almost every free day I had asking if they had them in that day. I was always met with them telling me she rarely does that anymore, but I refused to accept that. In my mind, she would have to make them eventually, and I was relentless with my calling. It wasn't until after the daily phone calls that I began reading about Joe online. So many bloggers, and even sources like The New York Times, would praise Joe as one of the best coffee shops in the city. I still continue to think of it as "The Amy Sedaris Place," and after reading so many positive reviews, I decided it was finally time for the baristas to meet the man behind the phone.

Considering its prestige, I expected a line out the door. It wasn't chaotic, but there weren't any seats available inside. I decided to go with the drip coffee without milk or sugar, in order to get the true Joe experience. The coffee was fantastic, and the baristas were very friendly. In fact, they even have biographies for all of their baristas on their website. Joe gets their coffee roasted from Ecco Caffe, a company from California that roasts high quality, fair trade coffee from around the world. It is clear why Joe is considered one of the top in New York. They even offer classes for those interested in learning anything from basic brewing to making the perfect espresso.

I'm sure if you're a New Yorker with a coffee habit, or obsession, you have at the very least heard of Joe, and most likely have gone there. This is maybe at the top of my list of "must visit" coffee shops in the city. I have only been to the Waverly Place location, which I believe is the original, and definitely most popular location. I plan on going back here, and to Ninth Street Espresso, to really get a grasp of the entire menu.

Location: Waverly Place and Gay Street in the West Village.
Directions: 1 and 2 trains to Christopher Street, A,C,E,B,V,F trains to West 4th street.