Tuesday, February 22, 2005


i'll take mine with cream, sugar & mice?

if i may be so bold, the problem here -- with nasty health-code violations at a surprising number of large chain coffeeshops here in nyc -- is that these mere people-behind-the-counter (pbtc) they hire simply don't care.

they don't care about coffee beverage quality, they don't care about what they are doing, and so why should we expect them to care about hygiene? and why should they care; what incentive has been put in place for them to do so?

they have no career path, are part of no profession, and are mostly just marking time until the end of their shift.

let's contrast this with quality shops, like gimme coffee in bklyn: those guys are serious pro baristi. they care about every single detail of making perfect coffee, one of which is impeccable cleanliness.

if your machine isn't perfectly clean, the built-up oils ruin the shots. if the grinder isn't clean the stale coffee ruins the shots. thus they are constantly cleaning, and this attitude is conveyed throughout the whole store, the entire chain of operation.

i actually called gimme before i wrote this and confirmed that they have no violations, no problems. none. nada. zip.

not only is the coffee fantastic, but the atmosphere is clean, yet fun and funky. go drink the amazing gimme coffee in full knowledge that you won't be sharing the cup with any of nyc's rodent citizens.

let's also discuss, for example, our friend oren. i talked to kevin, the manager of the 79th st. store, which of course, is cleaner than a whistle.

(long-time readers may recall that oren is so fanatical about cleanliness that he himself once washed my grinder hopper out between blends so that no dust or oil from one batch of coffee would touch another.)

what's great about oren's is that he posts the health code certificate right in the window. when i called kevin, he said, "i can read the paper to you right now. it's there for you to see. it's in the window."

again, not only does oren have lovely single-origin beans for sale and fresh hot coffee ready for you, you can go there without a second thought.

let's face it: many of new york's building are old; they have settled and cracked. if you keep a perfect shop, the people next to you might not.

you can't necessarily control what creeps through the fissures in the foundation, especially since -- it's not a secret -- the four-tiny-legs-and-a-naked-tail population appears to be shaking their whiskers and roaming as freely as in the 70s.

reliable estimates say that for every human new yorker, there are now 12 rodent new yorkers, or 96 million rats in our fair city.

but even with these challenges, i can easily recommend these fine specialty coffee stores to you for great coffee -- and food safety!

and finally, congrats to heather perry, who won the western barista championship over the weekend. she gets to go to the u.s.a. nationals at scaa conference and attempt to take her old title back!

super-finally, the results from the first colombian cup of excellence are in. consumers can hope to start seeing these coffees in may, probably.

both stumptown and intelligentsia are pretty good about buying c.o.e. coffees and making them available at retail.

posted by fortune | 7:13 AM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 0 comments

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