Coffee in New York has very specific neighborhoods. Go downtown, near Soho mostly, and you’ll be tripping over good cafes. Go uptown and you’re in a desert. Williamsburg is heaven, Fort Greene is okay, Carroll Gardens has Cafe Pedlar and Park Slope could be good but generally falls flat.
There’s Cafe Grumpy! There’s Gorilla! Unfortunately, so many of the cafes that could be so good sorely miss the mark, catering more towards parents with strollers interested in uniform mediocrity as opposed to high quality. I understand that these places are needed, they just aren’t good for coffee. These cafes, that provide the self-employed with offices and stay-at-home parents a place to escape the chaos of home, deserve a different classification. You aren’t going for coffee, you’re going to your second living room or office. If a cafe is a third place, they are the fourth place apart from public and private.
De Luxe Coffee is a step-up from the normal Park Slope cafe. Right by Cafe Grumpy, they show up the unremarkable outpost of the otherwise brilliant coffee company. De Luxe Coffee manages to shove an astounding amount into a modestly sized space. There are about five tables with a banquet and opposing chairs. In the window there are three more seats and two seats in front of the store that were set up even in freezing temperatures with flurries.
My dad and I went on the Saturday before Christmas, eager to get some coffee coursing through our veins before starting our respective days. I was going to the Union Square Market with friends. My dad was wrapping my mother’s presents. We each got a cortado.
The coffee is roasted by Doma Coffee, a company from Idaho, and is one of the only cafes that serves these beans in the city. A shame, if you ask me. While I wasn’t a fan of the cortado, I loved the coffee. The cortado was fine, but the espresso was too good to be hidden in all that milk. It tasted too delicate to be masked and mitigated by a layer of warm, rich foam. If I was to go back, I’d definitely get a macchiato. The coffee was delicate and complex. It was bright and soft.
So many New York coffee shops enjoy creating a dense, thick espresso with notes of berries or chocolate. They enjoy something that screams COFFEE instead of something that gently suggests it to you. This coffee was such a lovely medium. It was undeniably a brilliant taste, but didn’t assault your taste buds. I wanted to taste it more. My only complaint was of my own choosing.
It’s a bit like the complaint I always have when I drink Blue Bottle coffee. You get a drink and can tell the coffee is amazing, if not truly brilliant (or unique), but simply cannot taste it. Some blends are too delicate for milk and I have a feeling that this is one of them. Maybe I’ll have to go back to have the same transformative experience that I did when I first drank a Blue Bottle macchiato. I have a feeling that is more than in my future.
Finally, De Luxe coffee offers top notch brews for those in the Park Slope area. You may have your computer to keep you company, but at least you won’t have to drink the middling brews at some of the more common self-employed Brooklyn hang outs.
Do you enjoy coffee more with or without milk? Perhaps you enjoy both at different times?