Mess Around Downtown: Coffee Anyone?

04/16/2010 in


Welcome back to Mess Around Downtown!

Overheard in my brain lately: ” Ugh,this water tastes like coffee. No, this coffee tastes like water. I must find real coffee because this coffee tastes like water.” As a result of this highly deductive reasoning ability I hit the streets of Lower Manhattan to find the perfect cup or shot for my Mess Around palate. I hit up the Downtown Directory and narrowed my search to five retailers that were primarily about coffee. I designed my own Downtown coffee tour, went to a different spot everyday and learned much about coffee along the way. Below are five places where I got my coffee buzz on last week.  Don’t be afraid to e-mail me at [email protected] to let me know about new retailers and changes to existing ones. Thanks.


Beta Coffee 50 Fulton Street: 212-300-4311

I learned about the importance of freshness at this spot. No dregs from a canister here. Order a cup of coffee and it will promptly be French pressed just for you. All the beans have been roasted within the last two weeks, another standard of freshness. It was hot the day I was here and wanted a cold caffeine delivery system. I was in luck because Max, the owner, had just added his specialty “24 hour cold brewed single origin Brazilian iced coffee” to the menu for the season. Adding ice to this condensed coffee doesn’t cause bitterness when brewed this way. As I drank it I thought, “This iced coffee tastes like coffee.”


Zibetto Espresso Bar – 102 Fulton Street

When I stepped into Zibetto I immediately felt as though I had been transported to a cafe in Europe. I bellied up to the marble bar where my Italian barista quickly poured me a mini glass of water. I glanced at the minimalist menu and, in fear of looking like a silly American, ordered a shot of espresso. A beautiful woman next to me ordered an espresso macchiato. She let me have some of hers to compare. I was buzzing now. Feeling good on the high notes Zibetto provided, I payed the beautiful woman’s check and stepped out once more onto the streets of Lower Manhattan.


Kaffe 1668 275 Greenwich Street: 212-693-3750

This is a popular spot amongst the community of students, professionals, families and nannies that make up this neighborhood. They brew each cup of single origin beans one at a time and only use free range milk from upstate. The baristas mean business, refusing to serve single origin espresso in a cappuccino because milk would hide the flavor. Inspired by my previous day’s excursion and for the sake of comparison, I got the espresso macchiato. It was fresh and light on my palate and the foam art delighted me.


Fika Espresso Bar – 66 Pearl Street

A title can say it all, but there is more to Fika than espresso. This flagship location is making and serving award winning chocolates, Swedish meatball sandwiches and homemade gravlax.  Swedes take their coffee seriously. Fika (pronounced feeka) is a Swedish social institution that means it’s time to take a break and drink coffee with whoever you’re with. They are proud to import their coffee from Lofbergs Lila, Sweden’s master roaster. Now, I’m not a highly skilled taster of coffee but I do know when it’s good. I ordered the cappuccino and it was just that. So good.


Jack’s Stir Brew Coffee – 222 Front Street: 212-227-7631

Inspired by the story of Jack himself inventing a coffee maker to brew his beans led me here for this, the final stop on my self imposed coffee tour. I wanted a good ol’ fashion cup of coffee to bring me back to my roots. When I walked in I thought, “Jeezum crow, feels like Vermont in here”. I quickly forgot I was in Manhattan and while ordering I chatted up the barista and found out that Jack’s buddy roasts the beans in his barn up in Vermont. Everything is organic and fairtrade, including the baked goods. I found a comfy seat and took a nice long slug of the rich, smooth and tasty brew. My little hippy heart was in heaven.


Vacancy Alert

The Bag Shoppe at 63 Nassau St. has closed.

2 Rivers Burger Bar at 10 Murray St. has closed.


As always, thank you for being on the lookout and please continue to send any changes you come across to [email protected]

Tags: Beta Coffee, Fika Espresso Bar, Jack's Stir Brew Coffee, Kaffe 1668, Zibetto Espresso Bar

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