I admit it. I am a coffee fanatic, a coffee geek, and a coffee snob. I love coffee so much that I am excited about my morning cup when I go to sleep the night before. French roast, American roast, French press, drip, espresso, cappuccino, with whole milk, skim, or half and half any which way is fine with me as long as I get it strong and hot. The first thing I do upon rising is to participate in my brewing ritual. I grind, I brew, and I always heat my mug – something I picked up from my mother. I dream of the day they invent a “Coffee Robot” that will brew coffee to my liking and wheel it in to me first thing in the morning saying, with electronic intonation, “Here is your coffee…Madeline.” I owe most of my fanaticism to my mother for getting me addicted at the ripe young age of two. There I sat in my high chair, reaching with delight for my morning fix, a tippy-cup filled with five parts milk and one part coffee, what I called my “feefee.” (i was to young to say the whole word!) Until the explosive morning when my mother forgot to add the one part coffee to my milk, she was entirely unaware of the fact that she had created a feefee monster. I threw my tippy-cup on the floor. I kicked, I screamed, I cried, “FEFEEEEE, FEFEEEE!!” She had had no idea just how bad my addiction had become. She eventually weaned me off the caffeine, but by age twelve I was drinking a cappuccino before school every morning.
Why am I telling you this? Well, partially because it is one of my favorite stories to tell, and partly because I want you to take me very seriously when I tell you that you should forever buy your coffee from Empire Coffee & Tea co. They are truly the best roasters around. Many others, claiming to be serious about their coffee, will tell you to buy from Puerto Rican Coffee co. PR Coffee co. my ass! Okay, perhaps that was a little harsh. PR’s coffee is good coffee, but it is maybe my second or third choice. More often than not their beans taste bitter and burnt. Empire’s coffee is simply better. Maybe its because they roast in small batches, or maybe its because they have been doing it with love for 91 years, who knows why . The store is located on 9th avenue in the forties and is nothing fancy. There are two couches in the front and sacks of coffee and jars of tea in the back. You can buy your coffee by the pound, or have a fresh brewed cup and biscotti from the counter. I have been going there for about 15 years now, and the staff has always been incredibly nice, it’s actually almost bizarre how nice- this is NY after all. If ninth ave and 42nd is too out of the way for you, you can order their coffee online. The web sight is a little wacky and easy to navigate, after you fill out you order form you can leave a comment, or “ you could write some poetry if you like.” I left a bit of Pablo Neruda the last time I ordered.
So if you yourself are a coffee snob, or just interested in becoming one check out Empire Coffee & Tea co. online or at their store locations:
568 9th ave (41st-42nd streets)
nyc, ny, 10036
(212) 268- 1220
(800) 262- 5908