Coffee culture is something I really have no business pretending to understand. There are so many different ways to handle a raw coffee bean. Different types of grinding. Different methods of brewing. Machinery so complex it could be the brainchild of a Fifty Shades of Gray project gone awry.
I will fully admit to growing up in the typical suburban American coffee culture where Starbucks was the alpha and the omega and every other letter in between. Drinking coffee was the first in many faux symbols of being one of the cool kids at the grown up table. I loved frappuccinos and macchiatos of the caramel variety. Ordering a venti frappuccino was akin to ordering a sugar cone with four scoops of double chocolate chip ice cream. Clearly you were a
diabetic badass in the making.
This, thankfully, was a phrase I outgrew. I graduated to the latte, leaving whipped cream and sugary syrups behind. I could finally taste the coffee. It was all going so well until I found myself on a flight from Frankfurt to Dublin after a three hour connection that involved two lattes of whole milk. It was a short flight but it only took so long to realize just how much dairy my body cannot handle, especially as I’ve spent most my life drinking 2% milk.
So now I’m a happy little cappuccino drinker, but I am very particular about it. I love a good cappuccino with the right amount of velvety foam and tight espresso. I devour them in Europe because, more often than not, they’re cheaper than bottles of water and they always taste like little cupfuls of heaven. The ritual of enjoying a freshly crafted cappuccino when there’s nothing but time is one I cherish.
All that said, fewer things irk me more than burnt espresso, its taste and smell. If I can smell it, I have to believe you smelled it, too. But let’s say you don’t smell it, that somehow this acrid scent escapes you. There’s no reason this should escape you, too –
If you’re like me, you’re not entirely sure what this is. What looks like an ice cream sundae was presented as a cappuccino. A cappuccino. If a frappuccino can pass as a gourmet coffee beverage, I suppose any caffeinated beverage has the right to dream. But friends, this is not a cappuccino by any means or definition of the word. I think I could use that mess of foam as a pillow and take a little nap.
For me, the best place to get a cappuccino in NYC is at Blue Bottle Coffee. I happily forgo a mediocre one on Saturday for this special treat. The people there are coffee demigods, in my opinion.
Maybe your weekends be filled with time to spare for a good cup of coffee.