There are certain types of foods that I take very seriously. Sushi for example, nothing but the best will satiate my picky palate. Despite my best efforts to explain to my friends that I’m not attempting to appear snobbish, the explanation usually falls onto deaf ears.
Curiously, that’s how I feel about the coffee ponce who obsess over every cup of brew. While I personally can appreciate a nice cup of espresso, I’m not terribly scared of my office Flavia machine. Add enough Coffee Mate and it goes down easy. What I’m saying now probably sounds horrifying to a serious coffee drinker. I apologize.
So I’m probably not the most qualified person to discuss and judge the merits of coffee. However, I do feel quite capable of reviewing the coffee house, which in our society serves many purposes. It’s the quickest sane way to get a dose of caffeine before work, it could serve as a place to catch up on some reading, and it’s the ideal spot to start a first date. The coffee and the atmosphere, it all goes together magically.
Therefore while I do appreciate gourmet coffee, the modern day coffee shop’s obsession with industrial chic leaves me disappointed by the lack of proper seating. Which is why I failed to enjoy Cafe Grumpy, despite the excellent coffee. I would honestly at times trade the fancy espresso art for a sofa, not a particularly comfortable one, a Starbucks grade seat will do.
Within 2 blocks of each other, Williamsburg features two top tier coffee shops. Blue Bottle and Toby’s Estate Coffee. At first glance, they’re quite similar, people who take coffee way too seriously on both sides of the counter. Hand made everything, even drip coffee.
Blue Bottle retains the old school Williamsburg feel. Coffee beans are roasted in the back, which gives it a genuine industrial setting. The coffee is excellent, though there are but a few bar stools. You’re supposed to come in, drink, then head out. Fact, the macchiatos are also not available for take-away because it’s not proper. Starbucks drinks, you just learned something.
A few blocks away, Toby’s Estate Coffee resembles much more of your traditional “Coffee Shop”. In this converted warehouse there are plenty of comfy seats, people reading books, people on Wi-fi. The folks brewing the coffee takes everything just as seriously, the drip coffee over electric scales takes it a bit too far. Too much science over artistry. That said, they really serve an excellent cup of coffee, and for now this is my go to spot in Williamsburg.
An I moving towards becoming a coffee ponce?
Toby’s Estate Brooklyn
125 N 6th St
New York, NY 11211
160 Berry St.
Brooklyn, NY 11211