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Great coffee, great cafes... where are they?


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A wonderful thing happened today. Cafe Kubal opened in Eastwood, a neighborhood of Syracuse. Four blocks from our house. They're doing small batches of coffee in a 1904 roaster and serving a nice, basic set of coffee drinks and teas. They also serve pastries that are made by some Austrian guy in Geneva, NY. To get those pastries, they bring coffee beans to a customer in Weedsport and this person, who goes regularly from the Geneva pastry-maker's place to Weedsport, hands over pastries.

Because Cafe Kubal is run by it's owners, the cafe is able to cater to local tastes, pay attention to important little details, and still offer coffee that is quite possibly superior to anything else being currently roasted in Syracuse. (Lots of pictures in the slideshow here)

My question: We travel for food and coffee. Where are the other truly great cafes in the Northeast... outside of New York City? (Okay, include it if you must.) I'm looking for places from Toronto to Buffalo to Albany to Boston, and maybe up and down the Hudson Valley. Into Pennsylvania or northern New England would be fine, too.

Anyone have their take on Muddy Cup? They're expanding rapidly!

Lonnie

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

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I would list these shops as some of the more noteworthy when it comes to delivering a focus on quality coffee in the NorthEast:

Gesine - Montpelier, Vermont

The Carriage House - Ithaca, NY

Gimme! Coffee - Ithaca, NY

Simon's Coffee - Boston, MA

Joe The Art of Coffee - NYC

Ninth Street Espresso - NYC

Cafe Grumpy - NYC

Cafe Collage - NYC

Cosmic Cup - Easton, PA

Max Crema's - Fleetwood, PA

Chestnut Hill Coffee - Philadelphia, PA

Artifact Coffee - Baltimore, MD (soon to open)

Murky Coffee - Washington, DC

- I would have noted Spro Coffee in Towson, MD but since I own that shop it might seem a bit contrived to list.

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Anyone have their take on the Muddy Cup? They're expanding rapidly!

I spent a few evenings in the Beacon Muddy Cup last summer. I wasnt' very impressed with the espresso roast or coffees (over roasted, bitter) but the staff was very friendly and they had ac.

Edited by BeJam (log)

Bode

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I spent a few evenings in the Beacon Muddy Cup last summer.  I wasnt' very impressed with the espresso roast or coffees (over roasted, bitter) but the staff was very friendly and they had ac.

I bought a bag, in Hudson, NY, of their Colombian Supremo, a medium roast, that was heavenly. Then I bought the same thing a couple months later from the cafe in Albany and was disappointed.

Thanks for the lists of cafes and all, folks!

Lonnie

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

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I'll take the liberty of adding Spro Coffee because I have been to Onocoffee's previous venture (now on seasonal shutdown I think?) "Jay's Shave Ice and Kona Coffee" - which was in nearby Timonium. Like the others on the list (and any that should be recommended in this thread) - it has an ongoing focus on delivering , properly brewed coffee and properly pulled espresso shots with perfectly textured milk etc.. And - as one would expect - it can be counted on for consistency in its drinks. Every place on Onocoffee's list that I have visited (which is about half of them) was very good and worth a visit. Ditto with the places on Espresso Map that I have tried thus far - about a dozen in total to date.

I have yet to personally try any place in Albany, Rochester or Buffalo that really delivers the goods. Matt Godard (of Cafe Kubal - mentioned upthread) did once mention a place in Weedsport NY (between Syracuse and Auburn) that was, in his opinion, doing a darn good job and pursuing best possible practices. I can't recall the name and don't know if they are still open ( a Google search reveals nothing).

I'm just back from a long weekend visiting my parents on Anna Maria Island in Florida. I made three visits over the weekend to Metro Coffee & Wine - a place I first tried back in January of this year. It definitely deserves a place on Espresso Map - they are using Counter Culture Coffee, a La Marzoccco GB5, good process control and seem to be training the staff well. Of the couple dozen double shots I've had there thus far there were only two that were not at the standard of excellence any good cafe should aspire to - and both of those were pulled by a barista who appeared to be new and still on the earlier part of the learning curve. I would hope that there are other really good espresso places in Florida (but I have yet to find them).

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Speaking of good coffee places, where can I purchase good coffee beans online?? Any suggestions wold be great appreciated.  Thanks and have a great day.

This thread - from our ever helpful Pinned Coffee & Tea Topics index is a great place to start

Roasts... Buying It; In Search of Master Roasters

Thank you sir. Didn't expect a rely from you. I'm flattered. Seriously, I miss mild yet full bodied coffee like the kind I had from your shops in Syracuse. Hopefully one of the places listed will be to my liking.

Thanks again

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Speaking of good coffee places, where can I purchase good coffee beans online?? Any suggestions wold be great appreciated.  Thanks and have a great day.

This thread - from our ever helpful Pinned Coffee & Tea Topics index is a great place to start

Roasts... Buying It; In Search of Master Roasters

Thank you sir. Didn't expect a rely from you. I'm flattered. Seriously, I miss mild yet full bodied coffee like the kind I had from your shops in Syracuse. Hopefully one of the places listed will be to my liking.

Thanks again

By all means check out the topics Owen suggests above. But I'm still going to give a plug to my local coffee roaster (local, meaning it's closer to my house than any of the other roasters in Syracuse!)... Cafe Kubal. He'll ship anywhere in the world.

Lonnie

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

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Speaking of good coffee places, where can I purchase good coffee beans online?? Any suggestions wold be great appreciated.  Thanks and have a great day.

This thread - from our ever helpful Pinned Coffee & Tea Topics index is a great place to start

Roasts... Buying It; In Search of Master Roasters

Thank you sir. Didn't expect a rely from you. I'm flattered. Seriously, I miss mild yet full bodied coffee like the kind I had from your shops in Syracuse. Hopefully one of the places listed will be to my liking.

Thanks again

By all means check out the topics Owen suggests above. But I'm still going to give a plug to my local coffee roaster (local, meaning it's closer to my house than any of the other roasters in Syracuse!)... Cafe Kubal. He'll ship anywhere in the world.

Lonnie

Thanks Lonnie,

Actually I would prefer to order from a shop that is closer to my home in Albany. Syracuse is about as close as I'm going to get for a better tasting coffee probably. And then when you add the cost of shipping, the further away it is the less motived I am to order. I think we'll check out the place you suggested first.

Thanks again,

Stacy

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Actually I would prefer to order from a shop that is closer to my home in Albany.

It's worth checkign a few onlinesources to see who ships via USPS Priority Mail. Depending on how the coffee is packed and whether the roaster is levying a "handling" charge or not you may find places that ship up to two pounds for a total shipping cost of about $4. When you can get shipping down to $2 per pound and find a reasonable price on the beans it becomes fairly competitive with local sources.

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Actually I would prefer to order from a shop that is closer to my home in Albany.

It's worth checking a few online sources to see who ships via USPS Priority Mail. Depending on how the coffee is packed and whether the roaster is levying a "handling" charge or not you may find places that ship up to two pounds for a total shipping cost of about $4. When you can get shipping down to $2 per pound and find a reasonable price on the beans it becomes fairly competitive with local sources.

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Actually I would prefer to order from a shop that is closer to my home in Albany.

It's worth checking a few online sources to see who ships via USPS Priority Mail. Depending on how the coffee is packed and whether the roaster is levying a "handling" charge or not you may find places that ship up to two pounds for a total shipping cost of about $4. When you can get shipping down to $2 per pound and find a reasonable price on the beans it becomes fairly competitive with local sources.

Thanks again for the quick replies and the info concerning local coffee roasters. Can't wait to try some of the different roasters' beans to see which suits my taste??

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  • 2 weeks later...
Speaking of good coffee places, where can I purchase good coffee beans online?? Any suggestions wold be great appreciated.  Thanks and have a great day.

I find these guys reliable ..predictable and always offer wonderful beans

http://www.batdorf.com

why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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  • 2 months later...

I'm just back from a quick business trip to the LA area and have good news

1) Caffe Luxe is open in Santa Monica and they're doing a terrific job with traditional espresso drinks. All ristretto shots made on a Synesso machine with Vivace beans and it appears that they have well trained staff and good quality control. I tried a straight espresso, a machiatto and a cappuccino - all three were as good as the drinks I've had at Caffe Vivace in Seattle on multiple occasions. And that's high praise indeed.

2) Intelligentsia Coffee (based in Chicago) is opening a roasting plant in LA and also a retail cafe on Sunset Blvd. in the Silverlake neighborhood. I was fortunate enough to be given a sneak preview of the cafe and was mightily impressed. It's going to be the go-to spot in the city for great brewed coffee and excellent espresso. And they'll have a couple of Clover machines in operation. Very cool indeed.

There was an Eater LA update on this back in February but the space is now nearing completion and should be open in a few short months. I can't wait to get back out there when I have more time to make the coffee rounds and at least an entire morning or afternoon to hang out at the new cafe and explore the surrounding stores in the neighborhood.

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