This year I've drastically cut down on coffee. After spending the better part of last year in New York City, nearly drowing in excellent coffee, my addiction had grown somewhat beyond something to be proud of. For a time there I was drinking 2 or 3 strong cups of coffee a day, which seemed necessary at the time, walking and running from place to place. Of course, I never mind the excuse for more coffee. For me there is nothing like an afternoon with no set plans, a good book and a great cup of coffee. You could say I relished it for all it's worth while I was in NYC. Though there are surely dozens of excellent coffee shops in just the lower east side of the city, I found a few steady favorites. One being Stumptown, which reminded me of Lakeland FL (where I currently reside) more than anywhere else in the city. That could be why it quickly lost it's appeal for me after the second visit. Any place that seems to be trying hard to look like they're not trying - is trying too hard. Don't get me wrong, their coffee is superb (and I mean truly AH-MAAAZING) but the congested style of the shop and it's customers was a bit too overpowering for my taste. Then there was Taralucci E Vino where I had my first cup of coffee in NYC. I stopped in Taralucci when I was suppose to be in my first yoga class, training. Only I had locked myself out of the apartment that morning, luckily with my wallet in hand. When I'd typically switch to panic mode I just "embraced it" and found this little cafe and nearly fell in love. Then later returned to my apartment building, to go upstairs to meet our neighbor Garby, on the floor above us, who resembled a sedated version of George Costanzia from Seinfeld, who apparently hadn't bathed in a week and who's apartment ( and the cats residing in it) appeared that of a true NYC freelancer. I ended up climbing out his window, to head down the fire escape, to find my way through a window that was luckily unlocked and managed to get back into cozy 5D. Regardless of my morning being memorably eventful, the fresh baguette and jam, alongside an americano, at the breezy and shaded Taralucci was just as unforgettable. Needless to say my first visit there was not my last. It's french, rustic, unpretentious setting felt like I was sitting in the first scene of "Inglorious Bastards." The one in the wooden kitchen with the deafening pregnant pauses, that looked bare and hollow yet still completely enchanting? That was Taralucci.
Then there was La Colombe. Oh, La Colombe how I miss you.Believe it or not a yoga instructor, Mike from Strala, had first suggested it to me when he knew I liked strong coffee. He told me it was around the corner from Crosby street, on Lafayette, but warned me to be ready to wait in line from about 9-10:30 & 2-4. So I waiting in the line that stretched outside the door, to enter into a cafe with just a few wooden tables, absolutely no menu and latte glassware that looked like it came straight from Sicily. I ordered their iced-coffee, which is topped of with espresso - on the house! Without a doubt no coffee has ever come close. After that, few days went by that I didn't frequent La Colombe. Certainly it's one of the places I miss the most. La Colombe is about coffee and nothing else. Trying to get my La Colombe fix at Starbucks here in Florida isn't always ideal, but it's doable. Since, I've learned that the less I have of coffee, the less I want. This doesn't mean I no longer want it. It's simply a matter of quality over quantity.
So here are some ideas on ordering coffee for the summer... for a more waist and wallet friendly coffee buzz:
- Try 2 or three shots over ice in a tall (small) cup
(2 shot for you Dunkin Donuts fan, 3 if you're a man - kidding ;) )
This is great especially in the Summer, or spring in Florida when the highs are already 98 degrees!
- Order an iced red-eye (the closest thing to La Calombe), which is one shot of espresso in a cup of coffee
Even after the ice melts it's sure to keep you buzzing
- Instead of ordering iced milky lattes, mochas or mochaccinos (which we never would've been allowed to make years ago, when Starbucks considered putting steamed foam over ice to be a health hazard) try a few shots over ice with just a pump or two of your flavor
( mocha, caramel, vanilla) and then add a splash of milk or cream
- If you are going to order an iced latte make sure it's really good and the smallest size possible. Grab a small one at a authentic italian or french cafe or at Peet's coffee - if you're lucky enough to be near one.
Add a little cinnamon and nutmeg for flavor
- Use a coffee "sleeve" to prevent your coffee from sweating all over the place, which will also keep your drink cooler for a little longer.
- Try my current favorite, an iced tall doppio espresso with 1/2 a pump of mocha and coconut (or one of each if you like it a little sweeter)
It's the perfect amount of pick me up for me and chocolate fix when I'm craving it.