There are moments in life, on occasion, where a serendipitous series of coincidences will lead to a spontaneous trip to New York. For me, it was a miraculous reprieve in my coursework, a friend who currently lives in California would also be in the city, said friend’s grandfather’s apartment wouldn’t be rented out for the holiday weekend and ticket prices were at an all-time low. Like I said: serendipitous.
One tiny plane flight later, I found myself overlooking the glistening lights of the Big Apple. Or a water treatment plant in Jersey — who can tell? A few hours later, I was catching up with my friend, Svenya, and planning the rest of the weekend. It was a weekend of visiting old friends, shopping downtown, walking through Central Park, scamming our way into the Met and trying to find our caffeine limit. To quote one Miss Lindsay Lohan, “the limit does not exist.”
We started our coffee journey at the miniscule Birch Coffee right off of Central Park on the West Side. Birch Coffee is a smaller chain in New York; there are only six locations throughout the city. However, they have an iced latte that is like nectar from the gods. Made from ethically sourced coffee beans and served in a recycled plastic cup with a strawless lid, this is a drink you can feel good about buying. Birch Coffee is a hipster’s paradise, and despite the fact that I was only in the city for three days, I managed to have my punch card halfway filled.
After our escapades at the Met, I left Svenya to meet a different friend at the Sant Ambroeus at 1000 Madison. Sant Ambroeus is a stylish Italian restaurant and coffee bar that brings true Italian-style espresso to New York. I discovered it after an internship interview last year and was struck at how the ambiance and quality of coffee took me right back to Italy. If I closed my eyes I might have been back in the little Caffetteria on Lake Iseo. If you find yourself in New York, but wish you were in Italy, stop in at the standing coffee bar for quick espresso or latte. Perhaps pair it with a classic Italian pastry from the glass case behind the bar.
On Sunday, after doing a serious amount of damage at Dior (well, Svenya did damage while I watched), we wanted to find someplace to quietly chill before braving the cold walk home. After a quick Google search, we came across a neat little spot called Blue Bottle Coffee. Funnily enough, one had just opened this summer in Georgetown, but I didn’t recognize the logo until we were ushered in out of the cold. Blue Bottle offers a range of coffee and specializes in offering a random amount of non-dairy milk options. Their specialty beverage, however, hails from New Orleans. Stir an iced cold brew with whole milk with a drizzle of their specialty syrup made from cane sugar and roasted chicory, the Orleans is reminiscent of a cup from Café du Monde.
This article started as a run down of my trip and slowly morphed into empirical evidence of my caffeine addiction. Oh well, “live and let drink coffee” sounds like a stellar motto to me. If you find yourself craving not only a decent cup of coffee, but a work of culinary art, book a flight to New York City. You can get coffee in between sightseeing and Broadway shows. Isn’t that what normal people do in New York?