How seriously do you take your coffee?
For most Americans, the daily cup of coffee is a routine or necessity. Some opt for the corner vendor, others at a fast food joint. For years, my allegiance was with Starbucks, and for that reason some in my office considered me a caffeine ponce. Nothing can be further from the truth.
Fact is, with many things that people find enjoyable in life, there are some who take it seriously, very seriously. Wine, sushi, cigars, oysters…. just to name a few. One quick visit to Cafe Grumpy, and you’ll see people who take coffee more seriously than you take your day job.
I discovered Cafe Grumpy on a website showcasing the “best hot chocolate of NYC”. The artistic details on the foam definitely caught my attention. A quick browse of the website shows that they even teach coffee brewing and espresso art classes.
Although grumpy has multiple locations, I chose to go to the original, which wasn’t easy. Located on the same street as a police precinct, the angled parking makes it almost impossible to find the cafe, especially when it has no sign and barely any street presence. When I finally made it on my 3rd visit, I asked about the lack of signage, to which the staff answered: “we’re already busy enough without a sign”. Fascinating logic.
Now the coffee. I’m not going to even pretend to understand the depth of the coffee served at Grumpy, that’s like me trying to offer tasting notes on a bottle of ’82 Lafite. What I can see, however, is the care and precision that goes into brewing every cup of coffee. Temperatures are measured, timers are set, and the espresso art is spectacular. Did it taste good? Absolutely. Was it worth the drive, looking for parking, looking for the actual store front, waiting for a seat? No, not quite.
I was also slightly disappointed by the hot chocolate. Excellent presentation, but falls short on flavors.
If you live in the neighborhood, or at least in the proximity of a Cafe Grumpy (there are locations in Brooklyn), then by all means this should be your neighborhood coffee destination. The attention to detail on brewing you a perfect cup of coffee here is fantastic. However if you hop on a motorized mode of transportation to go to Grumpy, then you are undoubtedly a caffeine ponce.
224 W 20th St
New York, NY 10011