New York summer mornings are their own breed type of evanescent heaven. Sunny or cloudy, hot or with a nice breeze in the air, these mornings infuse the city with a peaceful laziness. Everyone is doing their own thing. Some people rush to get to work, some people sleep in, some people bike through the streets and some people sit at cafes, typing on their computers. Can you guess how I prefer to spend my summer mornings?
After Tuesday’s yoga class, I decided to, finally, weave my way through the East Village to Ninth Street Espresso. The proper cafe this time. The one on ninth street, not in Chelsea Market nor the shockingly close Tompkins Square Park location. Exciting! I hoped.
While I knew I needed to try out the cafe that, in the words of many, began New York’s coffee revolution, my experiences with Ninth Street Espresso thus far had been ho-hum. The small location in Chelsea Market is okay, but that’s about it. I wasn’t in a hurry to try out the first location—the East Village isn’t a place I go to frequently—until I saw that their menu is organized as ‘espresso with steamed milk’ in varying ounces of milk. Amazing! I was practically running there.
Except I wasn’t. Until I was.
The day was grey and threatening to rain. New York’s oppressive July heat had finally broken way to the warm haze of August with endless humidity. People had left the city, seeking comfort in the beaches of Long Island, the Jersey Shore and New England. Those of us still there were trying to enjoy the city’s peace and quiet for as long as it lasted.
I nearly got lost as I walked through the grid-y alphabet city. But, of course, the hipsters sitting out front and the comparatively well kept windows alerted me to my destination. Walking in, I was surprised to find a good-sized cafe with ample seating and a chilled out vibe. I ordered my 6 oz espresso with milk and sat down at one of the tables, taking out my book.
Originally, I wasn’t going to take a photo and blog about this coffee. I’ve already been there, drunk that and written the post, I thought. After a couple sips, I knew I had to share this with you. There’s a reason that they changed the way you order, it’s good. You know what you’re getting. A latte or cappuccino? Unfortunately, you can’t always tell the difference anymore, but six ounces, three ounces and nine ounces will all taste very different.
The coffee was a lovely, not crazy dark but standing up well to milk. The foam was lovely, thick and heavy. It didn’t taste like rich whipped cream (thank goodness!). It felt like a pillow in the mouth. The coffee was standout, not because it punched you in the nose with flavor, but because it was good enough to make an impression without doing so.
I can’t wait to tell everyone about this location of Ninth Street Espresso. As far as I’m aware, they are the only location that serves ‘espresso with steamed milk’ as opposed to regular drink names, but it’s well worth it to go out for your way to try it. The remarkable cafe is another bonus; neither of their other two locations provides you with such a tranquil and utterly New York environment (that may or may not have to do with the baristas fulfilling your every idea of what a new york barista is…).
Summer Morning: what does it mean to you?