Coffee, The most popular drug for Americans. And in the city of New York, there are just too many joints where you can find this popular beverage. Before we dive into the matter of how to find ‘an espresso machine’ as opposed to how to find a ‘coffee shop’, let us ask ourselves, what makes a good coffee shop?
Well, firstly the taste of the coffee at the shop. I mean Coarsely Grinded coffee should taste like Coarsely Grinded Coffee and Fine Grind should taste like a Fine Grind if the shop needs to pass the first test. I am a coffee junkie who likes to follow 5 simple rules that allow me to taste good coffee wherever I go around NY every time.
1. Coffee beans are not stale
When roasted coffee beans are left out in the air for long it tends to oxidize from exposure to the air-more accurately oxygen. This makes the coffee beans pass their best. It is not possible to check coffee beans before ordering in a café but you can always check where the beans are kept by observing where the barista keeping the coffee beans.
If the coffee beans are away from air and moisture then the probabilities are the beans are fresh. Another surefire way to ensure this is by going to a coffee shop where there is a higher customer footprint.
Another subtle thing you can do is to ask the barista whether they were supplied with whole beans. If the barista answers positively, then you can be relatively assured that the coffee beans are fresh.
2. Coffee beans are roasted properly
There is nothing wrong with the espresso machines. As a matter of fact, here in the USA, we prefer a dark roast. But there is a difference between dark roast and over-roasted. If your coffee tastes bitter, then the chances are that the coffee you are having hasn’t been roasted properly.
Roasting coffee beans are an indispensable part of coffee. After all, the roasting of the beans gives you the aromatic flavor when you drink the brew. Roasting is an art as much it is a science. Overly roasted coffee beans will taste better and will also leave a burnt flavor in your mouth.
3. Equipment is clean
Make sure that the equipment of the café is clean. A dirty French press or a coffee maker or an espresso machine can certainly change the taste of your coffee. Think of it as cutting some fruits with the same knife after you have chopped a fish with it. You will satisfyingly get an ammonia-like smell while you eat your salad. The same principle applies to coffee. Be observant about what is going on behind the barista.
4. Make sure that coffee machine is not used
If used it is not sitting on a warming plate for too long: For businesses, it is tempting to brew a huge pot of coffee in the morning and let it sit on a warming plate of the coffee machine for hours. There is a reason that last sips of coffee are left in the warming plate at an Armed Forces Officers Mess and no one is drinking it. You want your coffee freshly brewed because that is when you get the optimum taste and flavor.
5. Check that water quality is acceptable
This might seem negligible. But a good cup of coffee starts with a good cup of water. There are whole sets of coffee-related watchdogs that executed strict sets of rules on what type, temperature, and chemical composition it has to be before the water can be certified as coffee worthy for their respective countries. But let’s be honest. You are not going to find water as purified as French Alps in any downtown New York café.
The chances are the water within the city confines tastes chlorinated. Make sure that the water which is being used to make the coffee is what you are willing to drink. JUST ASK! Ask the Barista nicely and without sounding pompous whether the water they are using is safe to drink. You will be amazed at how helpful people can be if you ask a question with a smile.
Now we got a perfect cup of coffee. But is it the only thing- a good coffee- that makes a good coffee shop? What about those hot, life-saving freshly-baked cookies, different flavored colorful muffins to die for, or those overloaded creamy Belgian buns. Let’s be honest, once in a café, most of us like to have something else on the side.
What about the atmosphere- the ‘other things that keep dragging you back to the same shop. The openness of the shop layout maybe or maybe friendliness of the member of the staff; it all contributes to getting that esteemed label of a ‘good coffee shop’.
Do you like to be in a place where there are people from different walks of life around you when you are experiencing “the hot stuff?” or do you like to be in a place of near tranquility as if the time has stopped when you delight yourself with a dose of “café au lait”? Believe me, guys certain changes in the atmosphere can have a big impact on your experience inside the Café.
In New York, you will find a lot of cafes with differing experiences. From the gleaming rays of glass polished trim, globe lights, and a post-Euro splendor of a busy café to a more personal barista experience and nitro-fueled cold-brew coffee that looks – but doesn’t taste anything – like Black Sambuca.
What works for you? You said it. The kind of a person you are.
Find out the shop where you feel welcome from outside and follow my 5 rule on how to taste a good coffee. There you go; you have found a ‘good coffee shop’.