(skip to end for quick recs if you are a busy bee!)
The moment I noticed the SF based coffee craze Blue Bottle arrive in NYC a few years back, I ran the other way. I faintly remember my initial encounter with its first location in Chelsea. I saw the fancy artistry of the pour over through the window. Then, I saw its price tag and laughed. That’s it in a nutshell.
Four years later, I reconciled my supercilious behavior. I told myself that coffee is an art. Pour overs are special. But, where I remained stubborn was with espresso. Usually, the new hip places choose to brew espresso blends that are way too fruity and overly full of bittersweet chocolate notes. I immediately shot down Blue Bottle as another hipster intrusion to my traditionalist Italian robusta/arabica blend mindset. I was wrong, like really wrong.
Blue Bottle provides an exceptionally smooth Hayes Valley espresso blend, that lends a gentle chocolate-y touch to their foamed (and LOCAL!) milk. The espresso is gently sweet and thick like a nice Neapolitan caffe. It creates a blissful combination with foamy, highlighting its beautifully bittersweet crema. Sugar is only needed in your pastry my friends.
Their macchiatos are expectedly artsy and have a bit more milk than a traditional macchiato. Let’s say it is more painted than “marked” (macchiato means “marked” in Italian, given that the espresso receives a nice dash of foam…hence the scandal over Starbuck’s calling a ginormous drink a macchiato….)
Let’s talk beyond coffee aesthetics here. The World Trade Center location boasts high ceilings with open windows, allowing ample eastern exposure. “This GREAT feng shui!” as my mother would put it. The minimalist design instills a harmonious atmosphere, where coffee is the accent piece. The iconic Blue Bottle warm white ash wood and soft white compliments the sleek and fortified WTC surroundings. From the glorious swirl of the pour over, to the delicately organized food display case, there is something to satisfy everyone. Did I mention all of their food items are either made in house or from Blue Bottle’s own bakery? (Catch my quick food suggestions at the end!)
Any-who, you are rest assured to get your ideal coffee, with approachable baristas who seriously know their craft. There are rush periods, during weekday mornings and on sunny weekend afternoons, where an open concept cafe can seem more like a bustling cafeteria. This does push your patience a bit, in that the excellent baristas take their time to make every single drink. If you are in a rush, I suggest getting a something chilled, like a New Orleans, and bolting for the door. A New Orleans is a brilliant creation of iced coffee brewed with chicory root, cane sugar, and milk of choice. Chicory lends a nice bitterness that flourishes with a touch of cream and sugar. Perfect for these rather sudden summer days.
So, give this Blue Bottle a damn shot. It is one of the new kids on the block in the WTC and overall FiDi neighborhood. It comes as a new neighbor to support, as we all work to rebuild an area shattered by disaster and terrorism. 17 years later, we New Yorkers are here making such a place look incredibly stellar, supporting local businesses from near and far to create a solid community. Community is always necessary! So, let’s support some good ole coffee roasters, even if they are from the West Coast…we just have to pardon that (just kidding!)
Did I mention Breads Bakery is opening next door? Imagine: perfect coffee + perfect chocolate babka… that sounds like an ideal community based relationship right there.
Food & drink:
-sexy unadulterated pour overs and exotic teas,
–deep dark espresso (check if they are brewing Hayes Valley, its rich chocolate-y and has a beautiful crema!)
–New Orleans or a house made soda on a nice sunny day like the Cascara Fizz
-baked goods, specifically the SAFFRON SNICKERDOODLE COOKIE and the EVERYTHING BAGEL CREAM CHEESE SCONE (BUT ITS ACTUALLY A BISCUIT THOUGH)
-house made LIEGE WAFFLES with CHOCOLATE SAUCE
The Place for:
-for a cute ass date
-to meet some friends (but not too many
-if you are a lost tourist hanging around the memorial or looking to escape the tourists around the memorial
Don’t bother if:
-you do not drink coffee
-want to avoid people
-are on some sort of trendy cleanse that prevents you from joy in the morning and in life in general
And, here’s to all the cheesy drink photos I take because I can be a slut for some coffee art.