We already knew that New York is a place where a good idea can be taken so seriously that it becomes a huge trend. However, we never expected that after our last three weeks in the US, New York would become one of our favorite places in the world for espresso coffee. Being Italians and picky (when it comes to food, wine and coffee), this is a strong consideration!
It all started on our first day in NYC, about three weeks ago. I and Marika love the ACE Hotel (on W 29th St. and Broadway) and so we arranged all our meetings at its beautiful vintage lobby. When we first tasted the excellent espresso at the coffee bar just next door (Stumptown Coffee Roaster), we thought it was just a nice coincidence, or may be the jet lag.
When a few days later, we read Oliver Strand’s article on the New York Times, we understood it was not just a coincidence: something very serious was going on in New York.
On our spare time I and Marika went on a coffee tour trying as many coffee places recommended by Oliver Strand as we could. At the end of the tour, the Stumptown Coffee Roaster (by the Ace Hotel) was our first choice (first love!); but we also liked a lot the Third Rail Coffee, not too far from our favorite Soho area.
There are lots of things we liked about the coffee places we tried. First, none of them belongs to a chain but they are all small and sort of boutique cafes (similar to what we have in Italy).
Moreover, as highlighted by Oliver Strand, lots of attention is dedicated to quality: from the origin, to roasting and grinding the beans, every little detail is taken into serious consideration (even more than in Italy!).
Finally, the espresso is always served in a ceramic coffee cup (real beautiful Italian style). This means that people must drink their espresso inside the coffee bar, when it’s still warm. As Oliver Strand points out, people cannot take it away and drink it cold. We also tried the “macchiato” which came with a little “heart” on top, made with the foam milk (again, like in Italy). We loved it!
The only coffee bar which we would add to Oliver Strand’s list would be Gina’s on Amsterdam Avenue. We particularly loved the “Italian way” of serving the coffee: the guy who made the coffee also came to talk to us. He started with a “buongiorno” and we ended up talking about his coffee for more than 10 minutes.
When we go to good restaurants we love having the chef/owner at our table explaining his or her dishes. When we have a good coffee we love talking to the person who made it for us. The coffee just tastes different and even “warmer”.
Finally the cherry on the cake of our trip to New York was having a tea (for a change!) with Fred Plotkin, which was a great honor for us. After the super fascinating conversation we had with him about the Italian cuisine, traditions, opera and culture (all in its perfect Italian!!!), he also told us where to taste a good coffee in NYC.
What a wonderful trip! what interesting people! We love New York!