Most mornings I make my own coffee. It’s easy enough and cheaper than the coffee shop cup. I get to sit down with my bowl of cereal that I share with Mika (my excitable parrot), sip the coffee from the french press, and watch New York 1 before heading out the door.
But, on days I’m running late, I give in and grab my coffee on the way to school. The problem is that Joe’s, the coffee shop near school, always has long morning line–to make me all the later getting to class. The bodega coffee near school is weak and needs a ton of sugar and milk to be drinkable. So when I was running late Tuesday, I decided to try a new coffee shop (having seen it’s enigmatic frowny face sign time and time again) that’s on my walk to the subway: Café Grumpy.
I went to the counter and asked for a large coffee to go. I’m not sure what it was about the place, the limited sitting place, the few people, all the actually ceramic cups…. but I could tell that there was something different going on. The guy asked what I kind of coffee I wanted and , sensing a little confusion, he pointed me towards the printed list at the register.
When I looked at the list, the first thing that struck me were the prices. There were three coffees listed, one for $2.75, one for $3.50, and one for $4.50. This had the potential to be dangerous. But deciding that this place probably had really good coffee I went for the middle of the road in the price range, the Rodomunho, hailing from Brazil. After I ordered, I was informed that they only had one size, but that my pick was very “robust.”
Then I found what probably accounts for some of the price and what was going to hold me up. First, the barista (is it still barista for a man?) measures out the correct amount of beans on a digital scale, then grinds the beans, places a metal filter in a glass holder, places your cup underneath, puts the grounds in the filter, pours a little water into the grounds, and spends the next minute to minute and a half checking in and pouring more water over into the grounds until the cup is full. (I missed my train by seconds–this is how I got to be 2 minutes late to Criminal Procedure.)
When the brewing was done and the barista asked if I needed room for milk, I was right in guessing that this brew wouldn’t need it. So he took my full coffee cup, poured it into a metal pot and then back into my cup (probably to mix together various layers from the slow brewing process).
I walked the next two blocks to my train letting the cup cool before trying my first sip at the subway entrance. It was probably the best coffee I’ve ever had. There was nothing completely magical about it, I didn’t feel like the skies opened and the light of god shined down upon me, but it was a great coffee. It had that acid that coffee has but I would say it was soft, rounded and had a roasted nutty sweetness. It had a little texture that started to remind me of espresso. Oh, and yeah, it was “robust”, packing the full caffeine kick I was looking for.
A little research has revealed that Grumpy’s is a chain is a few other locations around the city. All seem to just have the same enigmatic frowny face sing outside.
All, in all, Grumpy’s is off the list for my regular morning coffee–but holds first place in coffee shops I want to get back to again. I can’t wait to sit down and order this fine coffee in a proper glass or to venture a sip of their espresso.
383 7th Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11215