Saturday, April 18, 2009

Fill 'er up!

It's no secret to anyone, least of all to my loyal readers, that I am a caffeine addict. Over the years, we've enjoyed many a caffeinated treat together, including coffee in Paris, hot chocolate in Prague, and Diet Coke on hungover New York mornings.

My latest caffeine-laced obsession is Joe The Art of Coffee. I'd visited Joe on Waverly a couple of times before, but obviously the Upper East Side to Greenwich Village trip is not always the most convenient trek for a cup of coffee. And so, I was pretty damn psyched when I heard that Joe was opening a new branch on Columbus Avenue, between 84th and 85th - just a crosstown bus ride away, and open in time for Staycation 2009.

On Wednesday afternoon, after my visit to Pearl Oyster Bar, I hopped on the C train from West 4th and headed uptown. The day, which had been hopelessly gray and dreary when I scrambled down the subway stairs, seemed noticeably brighter when I emerged at the corner of 86th and Central Park West.

It became brighter still when I spotted Joe - and, more importantly, a free table. I snagged the table, claiming it for my laptop, and walked up to the counter to order my first drink - a cappuccino, to stay. The barista punched a fresh frequent drinker card and got to work. Every single drink at Joe is made fresh, and every single one is a labor of love.

My cappuccino arrived complete with milk art (a heart, aw), and I retreated to my spot by the window to enjoy it properly. And what a cappuccino it was. The milk was silky and smooth, with a fine mousse (as opposed to the fluffier milk you get at, ahem, inferior coffee shops) and a nutty, toasty flavor. And the espresso - my god. Round and full in the mouth, smoky and sweet, almost like a good bourbon.

Next up, a cafe au lait, my breakfast beverage of choice. Made with Joe's house drip, this was less potent than the cappuccino, a bit gentler all around. That said, it went down just as easily and was just as delicious - just not quite as grand.

I ended up spending three hours at Joe that afternoon - and two hourse the next. The staff are happy to let you chill and hang as long as you like - though there isn't free WiFi provided by the house, which is pretty much the only even close to bad thing I can think of to say about it. So get your uptown bums over there now, ok? OK.

Oh, and - for you out-of-towners? Joe offers their beans for sale online!

Joe The Art of Coffee
514 Columbus Avenue
Between 84th and 85th Streets

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