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Megan Blocker

My morning coffee fix...

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Me too! I'm not sure what the issue is...though I have noticed that New Yorkers are totally brainwashed into loving Starbucks, so maybe it has something to do with the fact that we just go there...or with the size of our "downtown?" I have never been to Seattle (  :sad:  ), so I don't know if this is true, but I would guess that the New York office district (for lack of a better word) is bigger/more scattered.

Bigger is an understatement but the "carts" in Seattle are true carts only in a few places. More likely what you'll find are walk-up "stands" that are either free standing in a small hut of sorts or else occupying a small space on the front of another building. It's a bit like the crepe stands in Paris or those little vendor spaces on 8th Ave in the 30's that are sort of a like a closet built into the front of a building.

Seattle's central business district is relatively small - not much bigger than midtown west in NYC but with a far lower density. But you have many other smaller independent business districts that are mixed into residential areas - more akin to what you have in parts of Queens and Brooklyn (and I love NYC but Seattle's neighborhoods are waaaaay more aesthetically appealing).

And every Starbucks I walked by in Manhattan this weekend - there were many of them - was jam packed with people. But the reality is that both market conditions (high start-up cost) and legal/city code red tape make it very very difficult for an independent operator to open an espresso business in NYC.

I think an operation like Portland's Stumptown or Chicago's Intelligentsia might have deep enough pockets and enough stomach for risk to try opening a place in the NYC market but it's a gamble and a costly one at that.

Nick Cho of Murky Coffee is probably just the guy to try it but he'll need to save his ducats for a couple years or get some very well heeled investors to take on Manhattan. And Nick - if you're reading this please note that I'm generally considered well heeled in some respects but money is something I rarely have enough of :laugh:

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And Nick - if you're reading this please note that I'm generally considered well heeled in some respects but money is something I rarely have enough of  :laugh:

:laugh::laugh:


"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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For me lately it's a faux cappucino made with my Moka pot, freshly ground beans and whole milk frothed in 50/50 decaf/regular blend. I ordered some Intelligensia Black Cat decaf and regular beans which should be arriving tomorrow and I can't wait to try since I heard it's one of the best decafs around.

Sometimes if I'm really tired I just have my husband save me 1/2 a cup of regular drip and I stumble downstairs to drink it. (not a morning person!)

-Kelly

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Morning coffee has become a ritual in our house, mostly because I have an old Silex narrow-neck vac pot that requires a certain level of ritual just to get it to produce coffee.  Excellent coffee.

Lonnie, this sounds much like our routine. I like the word "ritual". That is it exactly!

I start by preheating water for my wife's coffee in the tea kettle. While this is warming I grind her coffee (typically Indian Monsooned Malibar) in one of our two Zassenhaus Grinders, set to a coarse grind. This is a hand grinder so it takes a little while to grind enough coffee. It's quiet, though, so it doesn't create some horrible noise as I'm waking up.

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When her coffee is ground I turn to the other Zassenhaus, set to a very fine espresso grind to do my coffee (typically an espresso blend of some sort, I experiment quite a bit). As this grind is much finer, it takes considerable time and usually her teapot is boiling by this point. I stop grinding my coffee and pour the hot water into her Cona vacuum pot, light the burner and add her coffee.

gallery_41031_2353_1816.jpg

This takes about five minutes to move the water from the bottom chamber to the top chamber so I return to grinding my coffee. In five minutes I turn off the gas to allow the vacuum process to draw the brewed coffee back into the lower chamber. Around this time I move the La Pavoni Europicolla to the counter, fill it with water and start warming it up. Then I return to grinding the espresso. And grinding. And grinding.

gallery_41031_2353_4583.jpg

Once I have enough coffee for two shots, I fill the portafilter, tamp the coffee down and pull the first shot. Hmmm.... Life returns to the suburbs...... a second shot and we're good for the day. By this point her coffee is ready. I'll pour her a cup and place the rest in a thermal carafe. This is quite a process and takes 45-60 minutes.

It's a great way to start the day and we each get our perfect cup of coffee each and every day. I really enjoy it because it is so "manual". The La Pavoni has the feel of a real "throw back" with it's lever operation. The manual grinders do as well. And the quality of the coffee produced is just amazing. What a terrific start to the day!

Ken


Edited by kbuzbee (log)

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Wow, Ken - that's an excellent ritual! It's almost Zen-like, isn't it? Devoting that amount of time to repetitive, satsifying activity so early in the day. Almost as though the activity itself helps center and motivate you as much as the coffee itself...


"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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The morning ritual actually starts before any given morning, seeing as I have to roast the coffee for the morning ritual. Every two weeks, on the weekend, I roast four-five pounds of coffee, in one-pound batches. I put each pound into a one-liter clamp-top preserve jar that I get at World Plus imports and put each jar into the freezer. So at any one time, I have five different types of coffee beans and one to two types of espresso beans to choose from.

I get up during the week before anyone else, and the wife, two dogs and sometimes the cat continue to snore away while I am up. I go get the paper, open the freezer and select the bean for the first pot. I grind the beans in a KitchenAid blade grinder (the Rocky doserless is used only for espresso) and make a pot of drip using the Capresso MT500 coffee maker. I read the paper, drink a couple of cups of coffee, take a shower, get dressed in the monkey suit (what I call the business suit/tie expected in my position), fill up a thermal cup for the car and hit the road. Rinse and repeat.

Evenings and weekends is when Rocky and Livia get to do their thing.


Edited by MGLloyd (log)

Regards,

Michael Lloyd

Mill Creek, Washington USA

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It's funny how not only the coffee, but the ritual of making the coffee helps to wake us up.

My alarm rings at 5:30, but I usually can't drag myself out of bed until almost 6. My husband gets into the shower first, and while he's there, I set up my cruddy $20 coffee maker. Where I live, most people drink instant, so getting the tools together to make proper coffee is fairly difficult. The only ground beans I could find in my area were Hazelnut flavoured, which I consider an abomination. So, I got a Costco membership, where I can buy a kilo of Starbucks espresso roast for about $13. Unfortunately, I bought the wrong filters there as well, bulk; of course.

So my tools are: reasonably good coffee; crappy coffeemaker; overlarge filters; noname blender to grind beans.

First: Stumble into kitchen; retrieve pot and dirty filter from previous day. Chuck old coffee into the sink; rinse; toss grinds and filter into the garbage

Second: Fill pot from water cooler. (Tap water being not only wretched tasting, but unsafe to drink). Pour in more than intended use, to account for spillage.

Third: Pour water into maker, spilling at least half down the back of the cupboard; due to crappy quality of pot.

Fourth: Attempt origami to make filter fit into filter-holder; if not folded just right, the maker will reject the filter and filter holder mid-way through brewing process, spewing hot coffee everywhere in the kitchen but into the pot.

Fifth: Transfer beans into grinder, attempting not to scatter any onto the floor. Kick those that do fall on the floor into the corner, and hope husband doesn't notice. Resolve to sweep them up later.

Sixth: Unplug heater to plug in blender. Grind for however long I can stand the noise. Try to remember to plug the heater back in.

Seventh: Transfer grinds to filter, and shut the filter compartment, utter incantations to prevent aforemention brewing accidents. Click it on, and wander off to shower. At this point, husband usually comes in and complains about errant floor-beans. Resolve to sweep them up later.

By the time I'm finished getting ready for work, my coffee's brewed, and it's into a thermal mug for my trip to work. The process takes about three minutes every morning, and it really wakes me up. Brewed coffee is unavailable within a half-hour radius around my apartment, and I can't do without.

In two months, I'm moving to Viet Nam, where I plan to look for apartments based on their proximity to a Trung Nguyen.

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Wow, Ken - that's an excellent ritual!  It's almost Zen-like, isn't it?  Devoting that amount of time to repetitive, satsifying activity so early in the day.  Almost as though the activity itself helps center and motivate you as much as the coffee itself...

You are so right Megan. It's fun reading here the extent to which this routine has insinuated itself into each person's life. For me each stage of life has had it's own "ritual". The current one having sucked me in 100%. Zen like is a great description because nothing else goes on until the coffee is made. I used to turn on the TV to try to catch the weather but with everything going on in the kitchen, I never heard it anyway so I no longer bother (there's always weather.com isn't there?)

At previous stages:

Working the oilfield offshore - There was always a pot of Community Coffee SLUDGE in the wheelhouse. We drank a LOT of this stuff. (NOTE - it was fresh brewed. This stuff brews as SLUDGE) CC provides small (4-5 oz?) cups. I'd fill with 1/4 sugar and 3/4 SLUDGE. A typical day had 10+ of these in it. Amazing I lived through that period!

Office work - We had a coffee shop downstairs that would be the first cup but there was way too much to do to ever go back during the workday so the office pot was the only selection. It's like something you just have to do so "I held my nose, I closed my eyes, I took a drink....."

Technical field sales support - I knew where every coffee shop was in North East Ohio. Starbucks, Arabica, independants..... I knew them all. Quilit varied but most were usually Okay.

During the weekends of these periods a budding barista was being born. Disasterous flirtations with various insanity inducing machines (read Krups espresso makers, 5 $30 grinders etc) I certainly learned what not to do. I also made several business trips to Italy and had the very best espresso I'd ever had. I still don't know why (Oh please, somebody tell me!) My assumption is it's just a societal thing. More knowledgable customers demand better products and people grow up wanting to be baristas, learning, training etc. It could be the coffee. It could be the water. It could even be "Hey, your'e in Italy, stupid! WOW!"

So now I have created the best coffee centered morning routine I am able to. I know what every day will start like and I enjoy it. I wish as much to all here.

Ken

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This isn't my normal coffee routine, but...

New York is in the midst of the first and only serious snow we've gotten this year (almost two feet outside my apartment right now and still falling at 2-3 inches per hour). And, of course, I'm an idiot, and didn't think to buy coffee beans and milk last night. So when I woke up at 8 AM, I immediately poked my head out the window to see if my coffee place (which is right across the street) was open for business. The snow was so thick, I couldn't even see if their lights were on. However, about an hour later, I checked again, and someone was shoveling a path to their door.

SCORE!

I finished making the bed, threw on some jeans and boots, and headed down the stairs about 10 minutes later.

The path had been totally covered by a half inch of snow. TEN MINUTES LATER.

I was covered in snow when I walked into the empty coffee shop, normally packed with people at 9:30 on a Sunday. So I got my coffee, and I got it fast. :cool:

One of the best things about snow in New York is the way it brings together neighbors who never speak to one another. I had a small conversation with every person I passed walking down the block, crossing the street, and coming back. I watched dogs cavorting in the snow, and two kids building a snowman on the sidewalk in front of their apartment building.

The other great thing is how it mutes everything. Even the cars and buses braving the snow are quieter, muffled by all that great white stuff. I love New York in a snowstorm - it's like a quiet little town, and nothing is more beautiful than those rows and rows of townhouses, their railings and steps covered in snow, their old-fashioned street lamps festooned in white...

And I love my coffee. Mmmmmmm...


Edited by Megan Blocker (log)

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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Megan now you really make me want to visit new york even sooner than i planned on. You wrote that so beautifully i could picture it while reading it.

I like my coffee with a little sugar and cream.

I haven't found any coffee shop here that makes better coffee than my husband.

Sometimes that is not a good thing :sad:

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This morning was special. This morning I taught my daughter how to make coffee in the ibrik. She was a bit nervous about the foaming process, but things were fine!When kiddle drinks ibrik coffee, it is prepared in the cup in a unique way. She only drinks ibrik coffee when we have canned whipped cream available. Her method is thus:Spray whipped cream into coffee cup, to rim. Pour in coffee, slowly, to rim. Stir. Wait a minute or so, slurp down to dregs, turn cup over onto saucer, and BEG "Fortune, fortune!". :wub: I'll need to think up a funny story, pronto. :biggrin:


Edited by Rebecca263 (log)

More Than Salt

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My morning-phobic wife leaves early for work, so she makes coffee on work days. She sets up the coffee-making implements the night before, and then grinds the beans each morning. While our nothing-special drip coffee maker does its thing, she boils water to heat up my battered steel thermos. She then grabs a cup of black coffee before leaving for work.

I stumble out of bed, shower, and herd the boys through their morning routine. The school bus picks up elder son from our front yard. On my way out the door, I dump the hot water, fill the thermos, put the grounds in the compost, and rinse out the coffee maker. I drive younger son to his bus stop, conveniently located a block from my office. After seeing him safely on the bus, I park the car, carry the thermos to work, and savor my first cup (with half-and-half and a touch of sugar) while the computer boots up. Ahh.

On the weekends, I make the coffee. Same routine sans thermos, but I use more coffee and grind a bit finer. My wife rises late, greeting me with her usual affectionate morning greeting: “COFFEE?!!”

Yes, dear.

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This is quite a process and takes 45-60 minutes.

It's a great way to start the day and we each get our perfect cup of coffee each and every day. I really enjoy it because it is so "manual". The La Pavoni has the feel of a real "throw back" with it's lever operation. The manual grinders do as well. And the quality of the coffee produced is just amazing. What a terrific start to the day!

Ken

Ken, what a nice picture you paint, and a lovely way to show your wife you care! 45-60 minutes out of every morning. Whew!

I've wondered about the manual grinders. At this point I don't think I could do it - they've got me teaching really early classes this semester (ugh!) so it's a bit of a stretch just to use the new Starbucks burr grinder (thank you, hubby!) and vac pot. But good habits and good rituals, like bad ones, are hard to break, so vac pot coffee it is. :smile:

Lonnie


"It is better to ask some of the questions than to know all of the answers." --James Thurber

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One of the best things about snow in New York is the way it brings together neighbors who never speak to one another.  I had a small conversation with every person I passed walking down the block, crossing the street, and coming back.  I watched dogs cavorting in the snow, and two kids building a snowman on the sidewalk in front of their apartment building.

The other great thing is how it mutes everything.  Even the cars and buses braving the snow are quieter, muffled by all that great white stuff.  I love New York in a snowstorm - it's like a quiet little town, and nothing is more beautiful than those rows and rows of townhouses, their railings and steps covered in snow, their old-fashioned street lamps festooned in white...

And I love my coffee.  Mmmmmmm...

Megan, I'm sitting up here in Syracuse just green with envy. It's been a very, very strange winter for Syracuse, more like New Jersey or even North Carolina. Hardly any snow, by Syracuse standards, and lots of sunlight. ("Hark! What's that golden orb up in the sky?") Life has been easier this winter. But something important is missing, and it's the big storm or two when neighbors come out with shovels to help the old folks get out of their houses or to move stuck cars out of the street so plows can get through. And get to know each other a bit.

There is a seat in my 1931 kitchen at the old metal-top table (eBay) from which I can look out past my Depresssion-era curtains (eBay) and down onto the intersection that should be a 4-way stop but isn't. We are often entertained by the near-hits there (if they were near-misses, they'd hit, wouldn't they?). I can also see out the living room windows. A lot of sunlight comes in those windows, and one of the sweetest moments of the day is when I get back from the two classes I teach in the morning and find the remains of this morning's vacpot (eBay) coffee in the thermos. It's still almost hot enough, so I add a little half-n-half (not eBay) and zap it just the tiniest bit. No, it's not as good as the first, early morning sip. But at that time of day, around noon, it's still the best cup of coffee in the city outside of the cafe where Owen roasts the beans. The moment when I sit down alone, coffee in hand, neighborhood vistas out my windows, sunlight and silence bathing me, is when I think that it doesn't take all that much to feel really, really content.

But... I should be seeing great big, fat, lazy snowflakes falling past my windows! How come you guys in New York got 'em all???

Take care!

Lonnie


"It is better to ask some of the questions than to know all of the answers." --James Thurber

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But... I should be seeing great big, fat, lazy snowflakes falling past my windows!  How come you guys in New York got 'em all???

Take care!

Lonnie

:raz::raz: Because I've been such a good girl, that's why!!! :wink:

I agree - a winter without snow is just...sad. You know you're a true New Englander/Upstater when...


"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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I've never been much of a coffee drinker, save three months spent in Morocco, drinking cafe au lait every morning at one of my two favourite cafes. However, with my recent purchase of a Mukka Express, I've been making a nice pot of milk coffee every morning. I fill the water tank, spoon some Illy in the filter, and screw on the top before I go to bed. When I get up, I head to the kitchen, pour the milk in, and put it on the stove. By the time I finish my business (don't have a dog, and my cat is in Canada with my mother), my coffee is ready. I usually only drink half a cup, then pour the rest in a thermos to bring to work.

I love the ritual, and I love how the milk coffee reminds me of Morocco.

I've only been doing this for about a week, though... :smile:

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I love New York in a snowstorm - it's like a quiet little town, and nothing is more beautiful than those rows and rows of townhouses, their railings and steps covered in snow, their old-fashioned street lamps festooned in white...

And I love my coffee.  Mmmmmmm...

That makes me think of something about cities.

Each building is a little vertical neighborhood, a tiny town of its own, with heavily overlapping outskirts.

So on a normal day, if you go out to the street, there are a lot of strangers out there, going from their town to another. But if it's snowing hard like that, not as many people make their full trek. So you know the people you meet are closer to you; they're your real neighbors.

Maybe that subconsciously improves the cameraderie.

Or maybe it's just the fact that finally something is different in their dreary lives dragged down by the expense and pain of living in such a crowded place.

Can you tell I live somewhere else? :blush:

Anyway: on topic: I just got my first french press (Bodum Brazil 3-cup (12-oz/360-ml; it's wee), $12/€10 at CostPlus) a couple of weeks ago and I'm digging it. I also got a cheap ($30/€25) Mr. Coffee conical burr grinder and it works a lot better than the reviews indicated. Maybe I'm doing something wrong wrong. :biggrin: I also got a Mr. Coffee mug warmer for 10 bucks/€8.40 at Albertson's on impulse while I was looking for beans, and it works great.

Technique: While the teakettle boils up enough water, put one 2-tbs/11-g scoop of beans in grinder and burr them up fairly coarse (E was way too coarse, leaving halves of beans in there, so I'm down to a C-D now), and dump all into carafe (don't even have to remove the ground-collector lid for this, saving on mess).

Pour just-off-boil water (210F/99C at 1100 ft/350 m alt.) onto grounds to a pinky-width above the logo. Start 4-minute/2.8-milliday timer. Place seive in carafe and secure lid. Swirl entire doohickey to submerge grounds. Dump a little sweetener into mug (sometimes just blue stuff, sometimes a short shot of Torani sugar-free chocolate syrup, sometimes also a little nonfat milk which then gets a warmup in the microwave). Go swing golf club (I got room in my empty livingroom). Come back and wait for beep. Swirl again.

Press plunger gently. I'll never get why anyone would scald themselves on one of these. They're not understanding the principle. This isn't an espresso maker. Pressure has nothing to do with French Press coffee. It's nothing more than an immersion brewer with a fairly quick straining process, so you can strain all the coffee right at the optimal time. Then you should dispense it all. Leaving the water in there doesn't "stop the brewing process", because water can go through the seive easily and continues to extract from the grounds. If you a> use the proper grind size and b> swirl before pressing and c> press gently (like 3+ seconds rather than a half a second or less) you'll get the grounds out of the way without clogging your filter and creating a pressure that can crimp the seal and cause a spurt. You could simply tip the thing and let it strain without pressing, but that could take a minute or so to drain, so using the press is slightly more precise, but doesn't have to be so fast that it becomes dangerous.

Rinse the strainer and carafe right into the sink with the disposal on so it pumps the grounds down the pipe. The only catch is that grounds can get caught between the plastic frame and the mesh, so I unscrew the frame a half-turn, holding the little plastic ferrule behind the mesh, and rinse under the frame. Takes two seconds, and it's flat-out clean. Set it all in the drying rack.

Grab my mug and head upstairs to set it on the warmer and post about it.

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I must say this thread has yielded some of the most delectable food writing i've seen on e-gullet. Bravo.

I am not sure whether i am blessed or cursed. A brisk five minute walk from my Williamsburg Apt. is Oslo, this wonderful little cafe that has what Gourmet mag. calls arguably the best espresso in the five boroughs. (the spelling mistakes are mine, not Gourmet's)

So morning, which usually starts somewhere around two in the afternoon due to the nature of my work, starts with tug of war. I have grounds, milk, filtered water in the house. Oslo is eight blocks away. I turn on my computer. It would be much more productive to just whip up a nice pot of coffee, settle down in front of my computer, and begin procrastinating immediately. But Oslo, with its velvety crema floating cloudlike atop Zeuses own lightning bolts, is just down the street. Then like any good junkie I start in with the justification, denial, and bargaining.

"Well" I say to myself, "If I get one of those espressos with the cream shaken with a vanilla bean, it will be much better for my psyche than boring old coffee made here. Boring coffee is a really demoralizing way to start the day. I don't know how to make really good coffee. If I do some work first then I'll deserve it."

I will go into the kitchen, putter around, starting the ritual of caffeination. I know before the water gets lukewarm that I will be putting on the B-burg couture, and trudging to Oslo.

Decked in a hoodie that says Brooklyn (in case i get lost and need someone to point me home), 501's, and boots worn down at the heel from aimless, existential trudgings, I head down Bedford Ave, trying to decide exactly how many shots of espresso I can take before cardiac arrest.

Oslo is a well lighted, spare room that says scandinavian, without a whisper of Ikea. The baristas are knowledgeable, and friendly. And the espresso...is like a stampede of Libason (Lipizzaner, who knew they were from Austria, not the border of Lisbon, and Libya) stallions in a demitasse cup. It's not bitter in a bad way. It has some acidity, but is balanced with its richness. I have three. It will be humanly impossible to procrastinate by the time I get home. It was worth all the hemming and hawing.

Edited twice for spelling by a drunken slovenly dyslectic. My actual editor had to go to her real job.


Edited by Alchemist (log)

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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I don't drink my coffee in the morning. I "take" my coffee. As precocious as that sounds, it is a very important distinction to me. My coffee is a ritual, a moment, a signifier of time that is all mine. To drink coffee is to expediate the functional physical reaction to caffeine. To "take" coffee is to enjoy a moment in time.

My favorite morning coffee location is 71 Irving, tucked below street level on one of NYC's best blocks. You can find me on the benches out front, observing the neighborhood go by--commuters on their way to work, mom's pushing strollers, kids on their way to school.

71 has that unique quality that makes you feel like it's yours, and yours only. Everyone in there probably speaks of "their" coffeeshop when telling friends of 71. When sitting out front, these warm thoughts tend to sink into me along with the warmth of my doppio macchiato. And then I look up the block and see the rows of buildings, and realize that thousands of people must feel this way. what a special place that can make so many people feel like they are the only ones!

why can't I be loved as what I am.  a wolf among wolves and not as a man among men -bpp

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edited for spelling

:laugh::laugh::laugh: I'm trying to figure out what this post looked like BEFORE editing. You made my day! <Rebecca shuffles off to get the bread out of the oven, giggling 'witty boy on eGullet!'>.


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71 has that unique quality that makes you feel like it's yours, and yours only. 

71 is fantastic - it's not in my neighborhood, so I could never claim it, but I do love it there. This is how I feel about Java Girl on 66th Street - walking in is like arriving in my own space, no matter how crowded it is.

I don't drink my coffee in the morning. I "take" my coffee. As precocious as that sounds, it is a very important distinction to me. My coffee is a ritual, a moment, a signifier of time that is all mine.

If this thread proves anything, it's that there's nothing precocious about that at all. "Morning coffee routine" has quickly become "morning coffee ritual." I'm reminded of one of the duller books I read during my time as a religious studies major - we all hated this book, rebelled against it, and yet it was one of the more important, conceptually. It was about the study of ritual as a means of identifying the truly important aspects of a religion - ritual theory, something borrowed from anthropology.

This thread reminds me of how interesting that concept is in application, if not as reading material in and of itself! :laugh:

Or maybe it's just the fact that finally something is different in their dreary lives dragged down by the expense and pain of living in such a crowded place.

Can you tell I live somewhere else?

New York may be crowded, and it's certainly expensive, and, yes, it can even be painful at times. But one thing it is not is dreary. :wink:

Can you tell I love it here? :blush:


Edited by Megan Blocker (log)

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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As a single Mom of two, and small business owner, I can't even begin to pretend that my morning coffee ritual is anything except workaday and necessary. However, this morning my ritual became somewhat luxurious, thanks to my second-smallest child. He greeted the morning by making drip coffee for me, using a "safe" blend from Chock-full-of-Nuts brewed through the drip coffee-maker, and brought the final results to me in bed... Gotta love a thoughtful eight-year-old! (And the "new and improved" version of morning coffee was presented in a nice, new Oneida commercial carafe, "discovered" by smallest son at Goodwill a week or two ago. As smallest son noted, the new coffee carafe won't just keep my java warm, but its fully-metal construction will prevent accidents by klutzy Mama. Even when smallest son is noting my shortcomings, I love that he's so darned practical for an eight-year-old!)

Meanwhile, I doubt that anyone will ever improve on my kids' day-early Valentine's version of a luxurious breakfast in bed: a big, nearly 2-liter carafe of coffee, courtesy of youngest son; coupled with a tin on Almond Roca candy, courtesy of small daughter. I love my kids!


Edited by R.E. Turner (log)

"Enchant, stay beautiful and graceful, but do this, eat well. Bring the same consideration to the preparation of your food as you devote to your appearance. Let your dinner be a poem, like your dress."

Charles Pierre Monselet, Letters to Emily

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Since routine has changed to ritual I must share the way it's done in north west Sumatra.

I ended up spending two excruciatingly long weeks in Sibolga, due to missing the boat to Nias by fifteen rain soaked minutes. I cannot for the life of me remember why I stayed in this horrific cesspool of a town when all around me were the beautiful rain forests, peopled by noble Orangutans. There were only two hotels in town each worse than the other. One was run by the mosquitoes, the one cross town by cockroaches. Hoping to spend my time in fever induced delirium, I chose the one with a tiny lanai overlooking a marsh seething with exotic, tropical diseases.

It took twenty four hours to get a cold beer. There were only two things on the menu that were edible: Nasi Goering, and Mee Goering (rice or noodles, fried). I had one book. So the hours stretched out before me to the horizon, impossibly long, with nary a ripple of excitement.

But there was coffee. Kopi tubrik, or kopi susu. Kopi tubrik is a lightly roasted bean, ground and dropped into a plain, straight sided glass. The grind must not be so rough that it won't bob about on the on the murky surface malignly waiting to get stuck in your teeth. But if it is too fine the sludge creeps up the side of the glass as sneakily as a ninja, and gets stuck in your teeth. One then adds hot water that was hopefully bottled or at least boiled to avoid a cornucopia of parasites that make ebola seem as innocent as a rosy cheeked little girl eating an ice cream in sunday school. You then give it a good stir. The grounds swirl, a captured tempest. One then waits. You stare as deeply into the glass as a fortune teller into her crystal ball, it seems to take forever for the grounds to settle. This is a type of anticipation as tantalizing as heavy petting. The sun is rising, sending song birds into a frenzy.

Eddie, a rickshaw driver who appointed himself Sibolga welcome wagon, and department of tourism, somehow always knew when to show up. Dragging a battered chair from another table he would order a kopi susu manis. It made my teeth jangle contemplating how sweet that cup was going to be. Eddie would then line up three or four djarum cigarettes (whose emblem is a coffin nail, gotta love truth in advertising) on the table. we would chat about what to do that day. a trip to a waterfall, maybe over to the other hotel to see if there were anyone with a book in english. I savored the coffee, but eddie always drank his like he had a plane to catch. A plane that was leaving soon. Once he finished the liquid in the glass, he would scoop up the sticky sweet mush and carefully put a line down each of the cigarettes. As the frightening mixture of sweetened condensed milk and leeched coffee grounds dried I would order yet another plate of greasy fried rice, with a destroyed egg on top. And then eddie would smoke the coffee laced, clove cigarettes. One after another. and what one must remember is that this man made his living by running around, toting a cart loaded with everything from squawking chickens to dreadlocked surfers, boards sticking out like inflated jousting poles. I guess it was the magic of the kopi susu that kept his lungs working day after day.

edited for spelling


Edited by Alchemist (log)

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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Gee, Alchemist, you could always carry an ibrik around with you! Better coffee, AND instead of reading a book you could 'read' your grinds! :laugh:


Edited by Rebecca263 (log)

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