posted 2012-04-07 01:55:06

The Coffee Grind

Death before decaf

Tiffany Huan

Associate Features Editor

Additional reporting by

Salim Westvind

Opinion Editor

Oren’s Daily Roast on 71st and Lexington. Photo by Apneet Kaur.
When most New Yorkers think of coffee, they think immediately of the coffee super-corporate giants like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts who think “fair trade = best coffee.” Well, it’s a start, but that’s not all it takes to make a beautiful brew. In New York City, we have the option of far better roasts and independently owned coffee shops that craft each cup with more care than their competing corporate monoliths. The Envoy’s Coffee Grind is here to bring you beyond the green straws and the pink and orange styrofoam cups. You don’t need to spend six dollars and change on a “grande mocha-triple-orange-caramel-frappachino with soy”. Treat yourself, save a couple bucks, and read on.

Oren’s Daily Roast

Oren’s is close to Hunter, right on Lexington Ave and 71st. Yes, they do have a French Patisserie style candy-striped awning. But what you can’t see from the exterior is that it actually houses a myriad of single origin coffee beans from around the world (Africa & Arabia, the Americas, Indonesia & the South Pacific), not to mention young baristas devoid of coffee snobbery, and a student friendly environment.The reason that the company is called “Oren’s Daily Roast” is because each store selects a new bean to brew every day. If subtle flavor variety matters to you, this is your spot. The roast of one day last week was “Yirgachefe,” a mellow and slightly sweet, but definitely not bland Ethiopian-origin bean. The prices are fair, and for the area, it was a pretty damn good cup. Take that short walk to Oren’s, and it’s like getting a caffeine brain massage.

Sicaffe

If you’re a no-joke coffee drinker, or a serious minded business student, Sicaffe might be your spot (around these parts, anyway). I felt immediately under-dressed (and under-age) at Sicaffe. In spite of all its pomp, the coffee at Sicaffe, located on Lexington between 70th and 71st, did live up to the atmosphere. Although the Sicaffe crowd was populated with several presumable coffee snobs, the baristas were friendly and helpful. Sicaffe roasts their own beans three times a week, a specialty that you wont find at your local Starbucks. One of their specialties is the Guatemalan “Huehuetenango” pour-over. The pour-over process is uncommon in New York, as it takes approximately 5-10 minutes of waiting time. Why you ask? Pour-over coffee requires a kettle, water just under boiling point, newly ground beans, time to wait for the coffee to drip through the filter, and the slow stirring of a grind-and- water mixture. Sicaffe delivers on each of these very necessary steps, even grinding the beans right in front of customers! As pleasantly surprising as these cups of coffee are, the environment and the prices at Sicaffe aren’t exactly inviting to the average college student.

Caffeine enthusiasts rejoice! We’ll be back in two weeks with new beans to explore!

Email features@hunterenvoy. com and tell us what grinds are on your minds.