Because coffee is the greatest beverage ever invented, I want to write about a few new coffee places that recently opened up in Manhattan (my part of Brooklyn is still sadly lagging behind when it comes to a decent cup, for some reason. Williamsburg is well served by a few excellent places, but where's the strong coffee in Cobble Hill or Carroll Gardens, huh? Someone needs to jump on that business idea, quick).
My current winner is the new Gimme Coffee in Nolita, an offshoot of their original Williamsburg store. They have a narrow counter spot on Mott Street staffed by the coolest, nicest people who pull the most ridiculous cappuccinos. I like the kind of coffee drink that's super rich and chocolatey, and along with my favorite at Ninth Street Espresso, Gimme succeeds in giving me exactly what I like. With a mediocre drink, sometimes it's as if all you can taste is milk (I am still baffled by people who willingly drink large lattes—why not just order a pint of whole milk and put some espresso powder in it, 'cause that's really all it is...), and other times the coffee flavor is too lame or acidic to really shine. Gimme totally gets it, and I love that every time I have walked in there over the last month or so, I have run into someone I know (including the proprietor of another new favorite coffee place, Abraço) and/or had a great, hilarious conversation with the folks behind the counter. And they do that pretty leafy design thing in the foam, which I find charming.
I also liked the Mercury Dime, the new coffee house opened by the same guy as Milk & Honey, the semi-private cocktail lounge downtown (where it actually makes me sad to go because the last time I visited several years ago was with a guy who has now passed away... Apologies for the morbid aside). Basically, anyone who has such a knack for mixing such spectacularly balanced, creative cocktails is bound to have a talent for brewing coffee, too. Mercury Dime is on one of my most favorite blocks in all of Manhattan, 5th Street between Second Avenue and Bowery; a lovely, downtown block with great restaurants and a quiet, leafy vibe. I liked that Mercury Dime was also hushed and relaxing, with thick carpeting and low music, and a soft-spoken quirky hipster behind the counter. They also give you a mini palmier with every cup (I was told they come from the infamous Patisserie Claude), which is a very nice touch. Nice place.
To top this off (ugh, bad coffee pun?), here is the link to the coffee article I wrote for Metromix (with fabulous pictures from Kate!). Both Gimme and Mercury Dime opened right around the time when I turned this in, so sadly, they couldn't be included. I learned so very much writing this article—I don't think I have ever enjoyed researching a piece as much as this one, and I realized how much there is to know on the topic. Like wine or chocolate, it is a deep subject with infinite information to be uncovered about the history, the product, cultivation, techniques, and the rest. I know I am nowhere near to being a true coffee geek, but I am working on it, and hope to attain total coffee dorkiness soon.