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.

On to the drinks.

I ordered a latte and a double espresso, just as I did at Joe last week.  I decided to put my coffee snob away for a few minutes and not kibitz on how the espresso was prepared.  I guess that was my own fault…

The espresso was fine, nothing special, but fine.  Definitely not ristretto, so I had a lot more volume than I expected, and the crema was fine but on the thin side.  The roast was very dark (think Starbucks).  Between the dark roast and the long pulls, the espresso was pretty far to the bitter side.

The latte was much better.  Here is where a slightly darker roast might have helped, because it pronounced the flavor of the bean more through the milk than a lighter, sweeter roast might have.  The difference between a shop like Oren’s and one like Joe is that Oren’s will give you more volume in each size (i.e. its medium is larger than Joe’s), which means it needs to find a way to highlight the flavor of espresso.  Joe on the other hand will give you smaller volume, and I would argue higher quality.  I am sure some readers would prefer volume to craft, or not notice the difference, which is fine, but it was not my favorite.

All in all, I would say the espresso is slightly better than a big coffee shop’s, but if you are at Oren’s go with a coffee or an espresso drink.  Alternatively just stop in and pick up some whole beans to brew at home (they are by far the best place I have found in the city to get freshly roasted whole coffee beans).  That way you can choose exactly what you desire.

Atmosphere:  Every Oren’s is different, most only have standing room or a few seats, but it can be a comfortable place to hang out for a bit and chat with a friend or co-worker.

You can find Oren’s online at www.orensdailyroast.com, where you can read about the store and even order some of their fresh roasted coffee.

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