All posts tagged latte art

  • Verb Cafe in Brooklyn, NY | Cappuccino

    verbcafe

    Verb Cafe

    218 Bedford Ave

    Brooklyn, NY 11221

    Cappuccino

    As my knowledge for coffee continues to grow and develop, so does my appreciation for particular stores who have seemingly developed their own niche styles in many different ways. Whether that would be a concentration of precise flavor tastes to art and interior design, I like to find time to fit it all within my schedule. In this particular case, I bring you Verb Cafe located in Williamsburg who have done a great job of offering a comfortable escape from the busy street of Bedford Ave. I’m sure many of you have seen the infamous “hipster bear trap” picture, which was taken just blocks away from this location, but the area isn’t exactly your most peaceful morning coffee experience. Verb Cafe welcomes you in for a break with plenty of seating indoors, as well as an outdoor patio to take in some sun rays.

    Verb Cafe is serving coffee by a local long standing roastery called Porto Rico Importing Co., who have been serving it fresh since 1907. I didn’t see any descriptions posted in the shop describing the coffee, but the barista was nice enough to give me a little background info. The competition for great tasting cups of coffee is high in this neighborhood, yet Verb has held their own by keeping things traditional for your everyday coffee drinker. I decided it had been some time since I went with a cappuccino, and with no pour over brewing in sight or espresso profiles highlighted, I was confident with my choice. The french italian blend of espresso from Porto Rico was definitely roasted dark, as the bite struck through this drink from the first sip. Appartently they are using this blend for a regular drip coffee as well, but they take the espresso roast time even further resulting in a dark and oily bean. I watched as the barista was preparing the shot and the extraction resulted in a very dark brown crema. Aside from my liking of a sweet tasting cappuccino, as a lot of third wave shops are offering, there is always room for a shop serving an espresso that isn’t scared to make it’s stage presence known. I’ve noticed that there are a decent amount of shops in NYC only offering quick service. Some shops are so quaint that they don’t offer any places to sit and obviously are catering to the “on the go” commuting customer. Don’t get me wrong, there is room for all styles of shops and not one is taller than the other, but today I was able to find a place that fit my mood well. In my opinion, the culture of coffee can only be defined as whatever you make it for yourself. Find your positive channels of why you like coffee. Whether it be a creative environment to meet new people, productive getaway, or simply the experience of enjoying the flavors of the one drink that keeps your daily motivation wheel turning, make it your own.

    itsagreatdayforcoffee.com

  • Little Skips in Brooklyn, NY | Macchiato

    littleskips-copy1

    Little Skips

    941 Willoughby Ave.

    Brooklyn, NY 11221

     

    Macchiato

    I am a little late to be wishing everyone a Happy New Year officially, but I hope everyone has made their resolutions to drink more coffee. The new year has also brought the official 1 year anniversary of It’s A Great Day For Coffee! With over 85 reviews under my belt, and surpassing 20,000 online views to this site, I want to thank anyone and everyone who has ever visited iagdfc.com.

    This time I bring you another local gem location called Little Skips. Based just blocks off the Mrytle/Broadway stop on the J/M train in Brooklyn, the location seemingly falls right into place on this busy corner. It wasn’t in fact until the shop’s twitter started to follow me @greatdaycoffee where I knew this place even existed. It just brought the attention to me even greater on the importance of staying on top of your online presence as an independent coffee shop. All it took was that one person taking a few minutes to search for people interested in coffee, following them, and in turn, resulted in me returning back to this location 5 or 6 times since. Maybe you are an old school shop trying not to conform to the reality of what year it is, and that is fine too, but I just wanted to take a second and mention this particular situation.

    Little Skips is serving coffee provided by Counter Culture Coffee, who also have a New York City based training facility where they have a variety of focused labs, classes and seminars. I was first introduced to Counter Culture through Spyhouse Coffee back in Minneapolis, which is one my my favorite spots to visit when I am back there. They prepared my drink with the Espresso Rustico blend by CC using a La Marzocco Linea espresso machine. The Rustico blend packs flavor notes of almond and dark chocolate, leaving it to be a very smooth and balanced espresso. The macchiato brings the stand alone espresso to even a sweeter level with the great consistency of the smooth froth. Along with serving great coffee, Little Skips offers a great menu of breakfast and lunch items. Their vegan sandwich options are normally what keeps me coming back for more. The environment inside Little Skips will definitely make you want to take some time to relax with a book or unfold that laptop to get some work done. They showcase impressive artwork all over the walls, and seem to have a great relationship with local artists by having show flyers and local news magazines available at the front door. I am becoming more aware of the special niche locations throughout the city, and I hope you can take the time to peak your head into the next shop that catches your attention.

    John, itsagreatdayforcoffee.com

  • Blue Bottle Coffee in Brooklyn, NY | Espresso “Retrofit”

    bluebottle

    Blue Bottle Coffee

    160 Berry Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211

    Espresso, Retrofit

    If there is one place proving that specialty coffee is on a new wave of popularity, it is Blue Bottle Coffee. This location has definitely been my favorite stop in New York City thus far. Located in Williamsburg, the surrounding area is over flowing with all different origins of restaurants, skateboarders cutting off taxi’s and creative influences to surely set the mood to grab a cup. Blue Bottle, just a few blocks off the Bedford Ave stop on the “L” train, invites you in with a large garage type door and a decent amount of seating and chill space. Any true coffee lover will be instantly impressed with their full roasting facility and training center located alongside of the shop area inside of Blue Bottle. I’ve already visited this shop numerous times over the past month or so, and there has always been some sort of taste tasting or practicing going on. This great attention to detail has not been overlooked in the community. Lines stretching out the door and onto the street is not an uncommon trait of Blue Bottle, and it is great to see people taking the time to visit a shop who concentrate on their craft day and night.  The “Retrofit” espresso is an original blend of coffees from Brazil, Guatemala, Sumatra and Ethiopia. This seems like an eclectic blend of origins with my experience, but it all came together in this quick pick me up. My order came just in time as a new barista was being transitioned onto the bar, which normally means some dialing in to do on the espresso machine. I was in no rush, and always have the time for the barista to pull that perfectly timed shot. Great flavor takes precision, and it was hard to not want to take this shot down all at once. I finished the shot in 3 sips and chased it with the provided sparkling water. Each sip was a different experience in itself, balancing a mild sweet red fruit and finishing with a bright citrus bite.  According to their “Retrofit” blend description online, this pull calls for 20g of coffee at a 32 second extraction time to yield 1.25 oz of espresso. I’d like to make it a habit of mine to look further into different techniques and recipes specialty shops are using for their espresso. It is obviously a foundation for a wide range of items on the menu and these type of shops concentrate very closely on the flavor details. I definitely look forward to trying more of their original blends from Blue Bottle. If for some reason you live in the area and have never had the chance to stop in to this location yet, you need to make it your next priority. Cheers.
    itsagreatdayforcoffee.com
  • Swallow Cafe in Brooklyn, NY | Latte

    swallowcafe1

    Swallow Cafe

    49 Bogart Street

    Brooklyn, NY 11206

    Swallow Cafe Facebook Page

    Latte

    I am finally happy to say that I have gotten settled into a new home in the busy streets of Brooklyn, NY. I have taken a couple weeks to do some exploring and get to know the town and the surroundings better. I have traveled to NYC many times, but moving and calling a new city your home is a whole different venture that I am excited for. Needless to say, New York City is flourishing with cafes and coffee shops pouring fantastic cups of coffee. So far I have visited Blue Bottle, Grumpy’s, Ground Support, Colombe, Central Cafe, Joe The Art of Coffee, and Swallow Cafe of course. I look forward to visiting all of these places again and sharing my experience with everyone.

    Swallow Cafe is a local gem off the uprising and creative Bogart Street in Bushwick. They serve local roasts from Brooklyn Roasting Co. and have plenty of room to find a table and relax with a cup. The baristas take the time with each cup and it definitely shined through with this latte. With a smooth froth consistency down to the last sip, it wasn’t overrun by burning steamed milk that hit’s your lips and ruins your taste buds for the day. I generally order a latte for the artistic craft of the drink, and hope to concentrate soon on some single origin coffee’s and espressos. One thing that caught my attention was the fact that they french press brew all of their coffee and pour it into an air pot (carafe). That is just one interesting trait among tons of other aspects that makes a coffee shop its own unique vibe. Sometimes a picky drinkers biased opinion can try to say what is right and what is wrong, but I personally enjoy finding those small differences in all kinds of coffee shops. They are running a nice La Mazorca espresso machine and have a quality selection of morning food items including sandwich bagels, waffles and wraps. Swallow Cafe is walking distance from where I live, and I feel fortunate to have a shop so close to me pouring quality cups of coffee.

    itsagreatdayforcoffee.com

  • Northwest Coffee Roasting in St. Louis, MO | Latte

    northwestroaster1

    Northwest Coffee Roasting

    4251 Laclede Ave

    St. Louis, MO 63108

    http://www.northwestcoffee.com

    Latte

    I made my first trip to Northwest Coffee Roasting last Sunday to enjoy a late afternoon cup with a friend of mine. Unfortunately, they had already locked their doors at just after 3pm and I blame myself for driving 35 miles each way without checking their store hours. Regardless, the layout of Northwest Coffee was one that I hadn’t experienced before. Entering from off the street, large metal gate doors led you into a courtyard full of tables and quiet nooks for you to enjoy this perfect fall weather with a warm cup. They displayed great art pieces throughout the courtyard and I could tell right away why this hidden gem has made a name for themselves in the St. Louis community. The inside of the store was mostly taken up by their roasting facility which was in the wide open for customers to get an inside look of how their coffee is made. It is interesting to find out how many people still really don’t understand the long and expensive process that it takes to get their delicious “pick me ups” in the morning. I really appreciate when stores do their roasting on site, as it gives the customer the opportunity to investigate and see first hand how their coffee is being crafted. The roaster was hard at work with the Probat giving the store it’s own personal soundtrack of tumbling coffee beans inside of the chamber drum. I have been trying hard to scope out specialty and micro-roasted coffee shops in the St. Louis area and it has not been very easy so far. They have their large corporate roasterys that seem to be flooding coffee shops around town just as I have seen before in other cities. If anyone from Minneapolis is reading this article, please know that you have something very special happening in your city. The amount of independent roasters, and coffee shops at your disposal is something you will not be able to find everywhere. Get out there, try different shops and know that there are people dedicating their lives to the cup of coffee that gets your motor skills running on the daily. I ordered the latte from Northwest “for here” as I wanted to sit back and enjoy a read while I tried their coffee for the first time, but I received it in a paper cup. Call it pretentious if you’d like, but the experience for me is different when my $5 investment after tip is sitting a paper cup that is going to find it’s way to their trash can. Aside from that, the flavor of the latte was on point and definitely satisfied my 70 mile round trip drive to check out Northwest Coffee. The froth of the milk had great consistency and blended nicely with the brightness of their espresso. I was satisfied that the flavor of espresso didn’t get lost in the rest of the drink. This is a special location with a unique and creative atmosphere, and I hope everyone living in the area can get a chance to give it a try if they haven’t already. There is plenty of college students and populated shopping areas for this shop to capitalize on, and I am excited to make a trip back to learn a little more about this hidden gem in St. Louis.

    itsagreatdayforcoffee.com

  • Spyhouse Coffee | Latte

    Spyhouse Coffee Shop

    2404 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis

    http://spyhousecoffeeshop.com/

    Latte

    Recently, the Vita. MN here in the cities did the official “The List of Lists 2011″ that called out Spyhouse Coffee as the #1 Best Coffee Hangout. You can read more lists of 2011 done by the Vita. MN here. It seems as though that people have caught on pretty easily to Spyhouse’s coffee, as nearly every table was full in the shop. It’s no mystery to why they continue to increase in popularity as a great local hang out. The coffee is exceptional and they offer choices for the flavor specific specialty coffee drinker, as well as the customer who just wants to quickly get in-n-out to get their daily fixation and continue on with their day. Even after a hot bike ride from my house to Spyhouse, I went ahead and ordered a latte “for here”. The barista prepared a delicious drink. The great thing about the drinks I have gotten from Spyhouse is that they are never too hot. I can’t stand burning my mouth on coffee drinks as it basically ruins the experience of enjoying the rest of the drink you just spend 5 bucks on. The milk can be heated up to about 180 degrees without being burnt off and ruined. Most of the drinks that you are getting from your Starbucks or Caribou are probably sitting around 150 or 160 degrees in my experience. I figure a good and enjoyable drinking temperature would sit around 130 degrees in my opinion. You’ll know what I am talking about if you take the visit to Spyhouse and try one of their lattes. Great consistency and flavor shined through this drink and it was only a matter of a few minutes before I knew I had taken the whole drink down. I finished off my caffeine kick with an iced coffee which was a perfect touch to the hot and humid weather in the city.

    itsagreatdayforcoffee.com

  • Rustica Bakery | Iced Miel Latte

    Rustica Bakery

    3220 W. Lake St. | Minneapolis, MN

    http://www.rusticabakery.com/

    Iced Miel Latte

    It’s always nice when I get the chance to bring a friend out to grab a cup of coffee, because they are normally picking something off the menu that I wouldn’t choose on a regular basis.  Today, the hot weather called for an Iced Miel which is a latte made with honey and cinnamon. In my experience, I have always used real cinnamon and honey for making Miels, which would leave some of the cinnamon powder still preeminent in the milk. I was curious if they had used a syrup for this drink but it definitely didn’t take away from any of the flavor. It was always one of my favorite drinks to make at the shop, and the combination of the flavors with the espresso and milk make it a perfect hot or iced mix. The iced drink came with a layer of foam on top which was a nice touch to the presentation, and maybe it will take some more experience on my part from ordering ice drinks to see different shops mixing up the styles in how their drinks are served. Rustica Bakery had the place packed wall to wall, calling out interesting drinks like a “green mango ice tea” and other tasty combinations to get you coming back for more. With other food options around like Burger Jones, Punch Pizza, Wakame Sushi and Whole Foods, you are bound to make an afternoon trip to this area for a great cup of coffee and some delicious restaurants to choose from.

    itsagreatdayforcofffee.com

  • Muddy Waters | Macchiato

    Muddy Waters (New Location)

    2933 Lyndale Ave. S | Minneapolis, MN

    Monday – Friday:  7am – 2am

    Saturday & Sunday:  8am – 2am

    http://www.muddywatersmpls.com/

    Macchiato

    Now, if you haven’t already had the chance to visit the new Muddy Water’s location for a cup of coffee, great happy hour specials or late night menu, you have definitely been missing out on one of Uptown’s new best food and drink restaurant. They have evolved from their homely like cafe’ menu and environment to a one stop hang out spot that really meets everyone’s daily fixations. The layout of the place is fantastic. The restaurant has a full bar, outdoor patio, and as you enter Muddy you will find a full cafe bar that serves the residing coffee through B & W roastery out of Brooklyn Park. It seems as though that the transformation of Muddy Water’s has also included a new Conti Espresso Machine as well. I noticed this same brand of machine at the SiP Coffee Bar in Northeast a couple weeks ago that was also serving B & W coffee. The espresso bit pretty hard through this drink, which is almost better than the contrary in my opinion. I was able to chase the drink down with a piece of their vanilla espresso shortbread which was definitely a tasty finish. This was my 3rd or 4th visit to this new location and I hadn’t had a chance to try out the coffee yet, and I was glad to get a taste of what they are serving now. This is a must visit place this summer with an impressive drink menu, create and original food items, and reasonable prices throughout the entire menu.

    itsagreatdayforcoffee.com

     

  • Kopplin’s Coffee | Macchiato

    Kopplin’s Coffee

    http://www.kopplinscoffee.com

    490 Hamline Ave S., St. Paul

    It’s always a pretty easy call when I have a friend in town who wants to have a taste of some of the drinks that I post on this site, and Kopplin’s in St. Paul is more than worth the trek from South Minneapolis. I need to find more time to get out and try some other St. Paul coffee sites, as a lot of my posts have been in the Minneapolis area to date. Kopplin’s was nearly fully just 45 minutes to closing time on this warm evening and I figure this shop, just like any other, has some of the old classic regular customers who enjoy this quiet getaway spot as much as I do when I visit.  The macchiato tasted as good as ever and it is starting to be my drink of choice in a lot of shops, aside from a good cup of black coffee. I like the smaller portion of milk and the flavors from the espresso that still reside and pop through the drink. I hope to concentrate on some coffee profiles at some shops and get some write ups about some of the origins of coffees being sold throughout the city. It’s interesting to see people’s different reasoning for liking certain coffees when you’re working behind the counter, and I hope to share some of the flavor profiles that other shops describe. Kopplin’s does this well with an unique menu and actual globe that shows the locations of where your coffee is coming from. I feel like if you are a daily coffee drinker, being knowledgeable about some basics of the coffee and where it is sourced from is important, especially at a time where coffee prices have never been higher. Sourced from their website, “Our buying decisions support farmers, co-ops, and local companies that deliver real, quality ingredients. By supporting products that are created responsibly and sustainably, we know that our enjoyment of great coffee and food does not come at the expense of the people that work hard to create them.”

    itsagreatdayforcoffee.com

  • Sip Coffee Bar | 34 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis

    SiP Coffee Bar

    34 13th Avenue NE, Minneapolis

    http://sipcoffeebar.com/

    Located in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District, Sip Coffee Bar has been open since 2004. This area holds a lot of history and the shop is tucked away in the Historic Grain Belt Brewery Complex.

    “We brew locally-roasted, organic fair-trade beans and use natural syrups. Our baked goods are made from scratch and baked fresh daily. And for lunch, we serve tasty soups, salads and sandwiches.”