Cafe Grumpy: A Chelsea Review

This weekend Manhattan Roasts decided to venture out of the neighborhood and try something new.  We called up a friend and made the trek from our safe Upper East Side cocoon down into the trendier bowels of Chelsea.  The mission was simple:  2 coffee shops, 4 shots of espresso, and perhaps a croissant for good measure.  Stop number one, and the topic of today’s review, was Cafe Grumpy down on West 20th Street.  Incidentally, stop number one was also the best espresso we have ever had.

The Coffee:  Cafe Grumpy does a couple things different than most.  First, if you are ordering a coffee, you order the specific type of coffee you would like, by country.  Second, they make everything fresh for you, and I mean everything.  My friend ordered a Guatemalan coffee and I ordered a double espresso.  His coffee took as long as my espresso, because the barista had to tend to the Clover single brew machine, even making sure to whisk the grinds while the coffee brewed (yes, just for him.  This was not coffee that had been sitting in tank for even minutes.  Do not worry, we will do a full piece on the trendy Clover soon).  This coffee came out full, sweet, and delicious.  No milk or sugar required.

The espresso was no different.  We received it after meticulous preparation, and of course it was served ristretto.  It had both a nice thick crema and a lot of texture to the espresso.  The drink was very sweet with only the slightest hint of espresso bitterness

The Atmosphere:  Cafe Grumpy is a no frills coffee shop with both regular and bar tables, but not much else.  Although there were at least six people waiting for drinks when we arrived, we had no trouble finding a seat at 12:45 on a Sunday.  The atmosphere is simple and low stress, exactly what Manhattan Roasts wants out of our coffee shops.

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