The Familiar Taste of… Jute?

I have a particular coworker who shares my love of coffee.  She often acts as my co-adventurer in tasting activities, but even further than that, we tend to exchange beans we find particularly good or interesting.  I was not terribly surprised when I got an email yesterday saying “I have some beans for you.”  The beans were an Indian Monsoon Malabar from Porto Rico Importing Company in the East Village of Manhattan.  I immediately tried a bean and thought “Hmm, this has a slightly strange, but familiar, aftertaste.”

This morning I tossed some in my French Press and brewed it for my morning coffee.  Again, I did not think the coffee tasted amazing, but it had this strange aftertaste that I thought I had tasted before.  At first I thought it was similar to a Sumatra’s peetiness, but it was not quite as full, and was a little muddier.

Then it came to me… JUTE.

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Just Another Flying Rhino Day

Those of you who know me know that if I am making coffee at home, I can be picky about it.  As a matter of fact, it is the rare day that I brew coffee I did not roast myself.  I like my coffee just so, and I know how to make it that way from roast to brew.  When things are a little slow on the roasting front, however, I will give other coffees a shot.

Recently a friend from Ohio called me to say she was just leaving her favorite farmer’s market and had picked up some coffee from her favorite roaster, Flying Rhino.  In fact, she mentioned ManhattanRoasts to the owner, who insisted she take another bag of coffee to send to me.  A few days later I had a fresh batch of Flying Rhino’s “Rockin’ Rhino Blend” and another of their “Jungle Jive Espresso.”

The first thing I noticed when I opened the Rockin’ Rhino was how dark it was.  I have been so oversaturated with dark, burnt beans in my life, which have lost all their sugar and instead are just a bitter mess, that I am very biased towards a medium to lighter roast.   Furthermore, I am always a little suspect of blends (Rockin’ Rhino is a blend from three different regions), usually preferring a single origin for a much more straightforward taste.   Still though, I ground my usually amount, tossed it in the french press and brewed up a batch.  What I found was surprisingly delightful.

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The Best Part of Waking Up Was Not Starbucks in My Cup

If you recall, some time ago we promised to try Starbucks’ instant coffee as soon as we received our free sample (Starbucks instant coffee is not yet available for sale in NYC).  Well last week we received the free sample and gave it a whirl.  Starbucks even gave us directions on how to make the best possible cup of coffee.  How could we go wrong?  How could the coffee NOT be delicious???  Even further, it came in two varieties, Columbia and Italian.  Never mind the fact I am pretty sure they were confusing their countries of origin with their roast styles, I boiled some water, poured in the packet, stirred, closed my eyes, and inhaled.

Hurrah!  It smelled just like coffee!  Oh sweet delicious, delightful, beautiful nectar that picks me up when I’m feeling down.  How could I ever have doubted you?!

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Ninth Street Espresso: A Chelsea Market Review

Last week we wrote about a trip to Café Grumpy, but that was not the only outing that day.  After Grumpy, Manhattan Roasts wandered down to the Chelsea Market to find an outpost of Ninth Street Espresso.  For those of you who have never been to Chelsea Market, it is definitely worth the trip.  Housed in the old Nabisco (National Biscuit Company) factory, the market is replete with character and great food.

Ninth Street Espresso has a rounded corner countertop that fits right into the market, and is a great area to hang around, enjoy a coffee, and catch up with a friend.

The Coffee:  Ninth Street Espresso brews exclusively Stumptown Coffee Roasters coffee (perhaps the most famous of well-known Portland, Oregon roasters).  The espresso was tasty, though a little more bitter and a little less thick than I would have liked.  I would put it well below Café Grumpy’s great espresso, but . . . → Read More: Ninth Street Espresso: A Chelsea Market Review

Oren’s Daily Roast: A Midtown Review

 Well, it is review day once again at Manhattan Roasts, so we will be looking at another coffee shop in the area.  If you are here for the first time and do not think you will ever need to know about the best New York coffee shops, this review is still for you.  Today’s shop will ship you beans that are roasted within 24 hours of shipping.  If you are truly insistent on not wanting to read about a New York City coffee shop, perhaps you should just skip down to our video on how to roast coffee, which is located here.

Last week the Manhattan Roaster and a co-worker took a little time off in the middle of the day to grab lunch and a coffee at Oren’s Daily Roast.  Those in the city might know Oren’s as a small chain spread about Manhattan (and it even has not one, but two locations in Grand Central, including one prime spot in the Grand Central Market).

The theory behind Oren’s is a “Freshness 24 Guarantee”, which means that beans are only sold if they have come from the roaster no more than 24 hours ago.  Such a guarantee is impressive, especially for the large variety of coffees and whole coffee beans the company sells (as a matter of fact, Oren’s was Manhattan Roasts’ first introduction to our beloved Papua New Guinea coffee, which we now roast at home).  You can buy their beans whole (which I would always recommend) or have them ground for you as you watch.

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Joe The Art of Coffee: A Grand Central Review

Last Wednesday was one of those days when I knew no matter how hard I worked I was not leaving the office until late, so what did I do with my busy afternoon?  In true Manhattan Roasts style, I took 45 minutes out of the middle of the day and walked down to Grand Central to stop by Joe The Art of Coffee to get an espresso.  When I got there and asked the barista if they make their shots ristretto I was not the least bit surprised when she looked back at me evincing a state of confusion.  I’ve seen this many a time, and every one of those times I have had to explain to / plead with the barista “Please just make me two shots, but only pull half as much water through each.”  It usually comes out okay, though invariably scorching hot and usually still a little bitter.

This time, however, the look was for a different reason.  The barista was standing there with this look of confusion on her face thinking “Who is this joker?  Of COURSE we make our shots ristretto!”  Very refreshing.  And very delicious!

Read the rest of this review after the jump.

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