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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The Importance of a Good Machine

I am not a huge “gadget” person.  Sure, I enjoy new gadgets and new machines every once in a while, but I do not lust after them.  Well, except for today.  You see, today I am traveling for work, which means I stopped in to see my family.  My family happens to have a small roaster and a Rancilio Silvia espresso maker with a temperature control gague on it.  I have to admit I get a little excited just walking in the door…

The Rancilio Silvia is not only a beautiful piece of machinery, but it brews espresso meticulously.  The pressure is just right to get the perfect pull and a delightful crema.  Retrofit a temperature control to the machine and you can brew at exactly the temperature you want.  For my family that temperature is 192.5 degrees fahrenheit, which means you get enough heat to extract the espresso, but not so . . . → Read More: The Importance of a Good Machine

Manhattan Roasts is Now Twittering

We are trying to keep up with twitter these days, so if you feel like knowing everything that is going on in the world of the Roaster join as over there under username: ManhattanRoasts.  . . . → Read More: Manhattan Roasts is Now Twittering

Illy, A Classic Reviewed

On another break from work last week (thank you recession), a coffee loving coworker and I decided to head over to a classic in the world of coffee.  Most people who have either drunk coffee, purchased coffee equipment, or even heard of coffee know the name Illy.  In fact, this Italian coffee company is undoubtedly the first name in coffee.

Both of us were surprised to find there was only one Illy near our midtown office, but it was close, a stand in a mall-like atrium just a few blocks away, so we made the trek.

I have to admit, I was excited.  Granted, I get excited about coffee a lot, particularly reviewing coffee shops, but this was different.  It was like the difference between visiting the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) and the Louvre.  The MoMA is cool, but it does not have the same panache as the Louvre.

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On How to Make an Espresso Last Two Hours.

This post is Part II in Foodie Abroad’s articles on the role and place of coffee in France.  Also check out her other articles on fair trade, decaf an ethics of the bean.

Coffee is very social activity in France. It plays a fundamental role in social relations as well as in the workplace. Networking and office gossip revolves around the coffee machine, so much so that there is a popular daily TV comedy programme (Caméra Café) that is based on just that idea. Unfortunately, despite two years of living in France, the humour is lost on me. Apparently, the programme resonates well with other viewers because it has been adapted and remade in almost 20 countries. You can read more about it here:

When questioned about coffee culture in France, my friends all had similar stories. One French journalist friend explained:

 ”I started drinking coffee at university. Not because I liked it, but because everything else was more expensive when we were all going to the”bistro”. Instead of going to classes we would rather go to the café, order one espresso each with a glass of water, and stay there as long as we could. We just needed a place to stay and since you had to order something, we just ordered coffee.”

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It’s a Flying Rhino Kind of Day

Today at Manhattan Roasts we are trying out a new kind of coffee.  In fact, we almost ground our own PNG before we remembered some Flying Rhino came in the mail.  Looking forward to it!

If you have a coffee you think Manhattan Roasts should try, email us . . . → Read More: It’s a Flying Rhino Kind of Day

Johnny Espressobean

At Manhattan Roasts we are always on the lookout for ways to improve coffee around our city and around the world.  A few weeks ago, after a delicious French bistro dinner we had some of the most boring espresso we have ever tasted.  After complimenting the owner on a great dinner we also discussed the espresso and gave some recommendations on local coffees that could make a far superior cup.  Some might call this snobby or insulting, but hey, it is in our genes.

You see, the Roaster’s father has been threatening, for almost a year, to take a temperature gauge to all the local coffee shops and ensure that cafes and restaurants are all brewing at the best temperature possible.  He will call himself “The Johnny Appleseed of Espresso.”  Personally I prefer Johnny Espressobean.

There is one place Johnny Espressobean will not be needed anymore.  The European Commission.  Last year the EC purchased 21 espresso machines at the staggering cost of $7500 per machine.  The La Cimbala M1 grinds beans and brews espresso at high quality and high speed.  Now, this story first came to prominence as a symbol of government excess in a time of economic woe.  More recently, however, the story gained fame as it came out that employees at the EC from high ranking to staffers found the espresso brewed from these machines nearly undrinkable.

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Foodie Abroad: En Paris

This week Foodie Abroad has travelled from her usual home in Barcelona to the refined comforts of Paris.  Today’s article is about ordering your favorite coffee drinks in an unfamiliar city.

Part one: the basics

So you’ve made it to France and you are craving some terrace time at a local café. Here are your options:

Café: this is what most of us would consider to be an espresso, but in France it constitute a “café normale” (café normal). To avoid confusion, you can order an “express”. To clarify, the confusion is that if a waiter suspects a foreign accent, they are likely to second guess your choice and confirm that you are not expecting an “American-style coffee”.

Café Décafféiné (déca): decaf…. But you will have to specific how you want your decaf prepared.

If you are looking for something closer to home…

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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

The Man With the Golden Tongue

Courtesy of one of our loyal readers.  We welcome all comments at tips to

This out of the BBC.  One of the world’s foremost coffee tasters, Gennaro Pelliccia, a “Master of Coffee” has had his tongue insured by Lloyd’s of London.  The famous shipping insurer, known for covering anything you need to protect, has allowed a £10,000,000 policy on Pelliccia’s tongue.  Pellicia’s employer, Costa Coffee better hope Pelliccia does not need to cash in on that policy any . . . → Read More: The Man With the Golden Tongue