Since the beginning of time, Suz and I have been java junkies and coffee house prowlers. Whenever we toured with Exit Clov, our first order of business after soundcheck was to grab Brett (our bassist and fellow coffee enthusiast) and track down the city’s quaintest coffeehouse, where we’d set up shop with our laptops and wait for our set time to roll around.
Most coffee establishments have caught on to the general best practices by now (ie, good music, plush but affectionately worn sofas, plentiful electrical outlets, and saccharinely sweet baristas). But the only silver bullet for a loyal, repeat customer base is, of course, quality joe.
Yesterday, I visited a relatively new coffee joint, Blue Bottle Coffee at Rockefeller Center, that had this last best practice down to a T. It was a bit of an odd, worlds-colliding sort of experience with hipsters and finance professionals (and NBC execs) all co-mingling in one tiny place. Behind the counter were baristas clad in their requisite fashionista get-ups (newsboy hats, full-sleeve tattoos, tweed vests). Across the counter were sharply dressed clientele — mostly men, in crisp slacks, button-down shirts and ties. Everyone seemed so content in this bizarre coexistence, making or sipping their mid-day libations. I mean, whatever happened to Occupy Wall Street?? Instead, I almost felt like everyone in the room could have joined hands and sang Kumbaya together, in a joint barister-banker homage to the pan-cultural pleasure and gift of coffee…
We ordered their Ethiopian drip coffee, which was a whopping $4.50. But granted, it wasn’t the brew you get at Starbucks where they flip a spigot to release your portion of a massive metal tank of coffee. Here, when you order drip coffee, each cup is specially made — for you. It’s an old-fashioned hand-drip coffee brewing technique that involves pouring water methodically through a single-cup filter dedicated to a single cup of coffee. It allows you to control the brewing time and water temperature. Pictured above: our two Ethiopia blend coffees being tended to by our barista.
Interestingly enough, hand-drip coffee is something that we first encountered in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, last April. The little lady behind the counter was rather exuberant in promoting her unique “handmade coffee” (pictured right). Here’s a how-to for making your own hand-drip coffee. I think we’re due for a new dripper funnel contraption thingamajig of our own now… *e