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Topic: NYC Notes -- 9th St. & Grumpy (27 lines)
1) From: mirrera
I was visiting the old 'hood in NYC this weekend (LES), and drank quite a bit of very good coffee.  These places are already well-known to most of the list-goers, but I wanted to add my 'reviews'.  Verbosity warning -- so if you're not interested, hit delete now.
9th St. Espresso (9th & Ave C) was always my local cafe.  Since I left NY, it has expanded, with a Union Sq, location, and one due to open in Chelsea Market, too.  It's pretty plain, but they've moved the counter around a bit since I was last there, and repainted.  There used to be a lunch counter at the bar with 6 or so seats, which is now gone.  Still a good amount of room to spread out at the tables, though.
I went both Saturday and Sunday morning, and had an espresso shot from their 3 group Marzocco each morning, followed by an Americano (iced one on Saturday).  All of these were of the highest quality.  They pull ristrettos by default, all from triple baskets.  Probably right around an ounce each, with thick crema.  The shots were nice and sweet, full of body -- I could have had 5 of them, probably.  Of course, the Americano and wife's latte, complete with art, were very good, too.
Their non-espresso coffee is all press pot, with a couple of different selections available, though I didn't have any.  Near the register, they have some beans in an open box of the coffee-of-the-moment.  Not only does this let you see the roast level, but they have the roast date listed, too (6/6 when I was there on 6/9).
So, while not a fancy place, the coffee is really top-notch, and the baristi really care about it.
Then, on Saturday, I found myself in Chelsea, so made my way over to Cafe Grumpy, which I had never been to.  It's on W 20th, between 7th & 8th -- kind of a weird location, since the street is a typical Chelsea residential one.  They have an average sized storefront, with a somewhat aseptic feel to it.
The big draw here is the dual Clovers sitting front and center at the bar.  There's a menu of 5 or 6 SO beans (complete with roasting dates) to choose from.  They are weighed and ground on demand, then brewed in one of the Clovers.  I asked the guy running them whether or not they have to change the settings from bean to bean.  He said that the two machines are set up slightly differently, and their beans generally do well in one or the other, so they don't have to tune each cup.
I ordered an Adado Co-op Yirgacheffe brewed with the Clover, as well as a shot of it, too.  I was a bit apprehensive to get a SO Yirg shot, but I need not have been.  The barista filled the triple basket with plenty of grounds -- it had to be 25 grams -- and pulled a delicious shot.  It was much more balanced than I would have thought -- fairly sweet, obviously on the acidic side, but surprisingly it worked well.
Then I drank the cup brewed with the Clover, and it was perfect.  Fairly light bodied citric and floral flavor, just getting better as it cooled down.  The cup tasted unbelievably clean.  That may have been due to the Clover, or not, as I had no real direct comparison.  It was good enough that I'll go out of my way a bit to have some more Clover-brewed cups, though.
All in all, it made for a very enjoyable, well-caffeinated weekend in the City.
-AdkMike


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