Friday, February 6, 2015

Great Cups of Joe By Bryant Park

Charlotte lends her palate to taste test different coffee shops in the Bryant Park neighborhood. 

I am as revved up as possible, a little shaky, and filled with coffee fueled inspiration that I can impart some arabica wisdom on you. If you are looking for an above average coffee shop around Bryant Park, look no further than the following establishments. Each prides itself for preparing superlative coffee drinks, and they don't call a medium sized cup a small. A small is a small, am I right?

Blue Bottle, a new addition to the park's perimeter, is located in the WeWork building on 40th Street. The shop is minimally decorated with gorgeous tiling on the floor and the behind-the-counter setup evokes the feeling of being in a hipster coffee laboratory. If you order a regular coffee be prepared to wait (it's worth it) as they use a drip method, bringing the customer the freshest possible cup of joe. So yes, the regular coffee is good, but I have a sweet tooth and a preference for iced coffee so I opted for the New Orleans. It's a cold brew coffee mixed with milk, cane sugar and roasted chicory. To be frank, that's one special iced coffee.

The aromatic New Orleans ice coffee from Blue Bottle (psst, check out that tiling. Am I right?)

Next stop Fika, also new to the neighborhood on 41st Street between Sixth Avenue and Broadway. This particular coffee shop is expansive with high ceilings and a lot of extra space. The room is sparsely decorated with clean modern furniture and pops of color in orange and red. It seems to me to be the perfect place to hold a meeting over coffee as the atmosphere is quiet despite the slightly cavernous feel. Ambiance aside, the coffee is good, its full flavored (ie not burnt or watered down) and sold at a pretty reasonable price compared to it's boutique counterparts. They are also known for their chocolates, so I paired my black cup with their award winning hazelnut and quinoa bonbon. If chocolates not your thing but you want to enjoy food with you beverage they dish out a mean oatmeal for breakfast.

One regular coffee paired with Fika's award winning hazelnut and quinoa chocolate bonbon

The last and final stop on my tour-de-cafe is Zibetto Espresso Bar on 42nd Street and 5th Avenue. The space is small, similar decorative elements as the first two, but with a more classic aesthetic. So far I have indulged in the coffee drink category aiming to save the espresso drinks for store for whom it is named. I love cappuccinos so ordering one was the obvious choice. Ordinarily I would ask them to make it bone dry, but since I am trying this place out I thought it would be a better idea for them to brew this creation the way they would without instruction. It was perfecto and I enjoyed drinking this delightful beverage at the white marble counter, it felt very European.

Swirly and delicious cappuccino from Zibetto's

If there is any lesson that I have learned while preparing, researching and writing this post it's that yes, you can have too much coffee and no, not all coffee shops are the same. Each brew had a different taste and focus. I enjoyed every caffeinated minute of it.

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