Oh No: O Cafe

My mother drinks decaf coffee.  Oh, now don’t roll your eyes, it makes sense, it’s fine, people should respect decaf more than they do now.  You see, she loves coffee, but she doesn’t like how it makes her feel.  Understandable, isn’t it?  Some people just react badly to caffeine but love coffee.  Personally, I’m not a fan (I would say disgusted, but that just sounds a tad strong) of people who must use coffee in order to wake up.  Look, I get it, I really do.  I’ve been in the situation when my eyes are drooping and I enjoy my daily cup of coffee as a beautiful pick me up.  That’s how it usually plays out when I first land at an airport after sleeping for an ungodly few hours on the plane the previous evening.  In my everyday life, however, I limit myself to one high-quality cup of coffee per day to be enjoyed as a ritual.  Some people have church, I have a cafe.

Decaf coffee, as my mother will tell you, is so often looked down upon and just pushed to the side.  Cafes are fine using moldy beans, stale ones or not serving any.  This isn’t cool.  My mom is always on the look out for cafes that serve decaf.  As I’ve taken her to different coffee shops, I’ve learnt a lot about where serves good decaf and which cafes should be ashamed.  Joe, we commend you for having the best decaf in the city.

Another cafe that serves top notch decaf, according to my mom, is O Cafe on East Twelfth Street and Sixth Avenue.  “It’s so good,” she says while scrunching up her face and making fists, “that you just have to sit down.”  O Cafe has been on my must drink list for quite sometime and I finally made it over there after a Tuesday morning yoga class on my way to work.

Let’s just say, my mother and I obviously have very different ideas about what makes a good cup of coffee.  I glanced at the menu and debated between ordering a cappuccino or a cortado, deciding on a cortado as it was quite the muggy day and the idea of gobs of foam was less than appetizing.  They asked me if I wanted to go and I replied that I would like my drink to have in.  Seemingly straightforward, no?  I thought they would put it in a glass, as most cafes do.

So you can imagine my surprise/shock/horror when I say the barista pouring steamed milk into a paper cup.  A paper cup for a cortado!  My goodness!  I would have been willing to forgive this horrible blunder had the coffee taste good or had the milk been well-steamed.  Unfortunately, milk was over frothed  and the coffee tasted heavy, bitter and one note.  Perhaps decaf is the thing to get there.

Sure, this isn’t the worst coffee I’ve ever had, but it will never be making my ‘must go back list.’  O Cafe is coffee for people who want to like good coffee, but sort of prefer what they get at Starbucks, even if they won’t admit to it.  It’s the stop between MudTruck and Stumptown.  If I’m looking for a mediocre cup of coffee — which I surprisingly do want from time to time — I will be heading somewhere like Nolita Mart and Espresso or La Colombe (love the beans, don’t like the cafes).  They make milky cappuccinos that are deeply satisfying and taste like pleasant coffee.

The best thing about my experience at O Cafe was the adorable french bulldog sitting on the bench out front.  I sat at a bar in the window and read while watching the dog’s escapades.

Sorry Mom, I won’t be meeting you at O Cafe.  Why don’t we go to Joe instead?

Decaf: what are your thoughts?  Do you drink it?  Do you like it?

O Cafe on Urbanspoon

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