April 30, 2012

Roasting Plant, 75 Greenwich Avenue

Coffee: ***** Overall: *****

Sampled: Soy Latte, Jamaica Blue Mountain brownie. The latte was just the right temperature and the coffee had such a good flavor. I really could tell that the beans were freshly roasted. I didn't even add sugar to my latte because it was just perfect. I'm not a brownie fan, but the Jamaica Blue Mountain brownie was moist and chocolaty. What's even better was that I got the Jamaica Blue Mountain brownie bite, which is a small piece of the bigger brownie. Perfect when you want just a little something to go with your coffee.

Offerings: Whole Bean Coffee, espresso drinks, coffee, and pastries.

Unique Features: Roasting Plant's coffee beans are roasted throughout the day and their Javabot™ distributes the beans through vacuum tubes to the brewers. The beans are ground at the moment the drink is ready to be made. Coffee beans are constantly whizzing about. There is also a cool beer tap-like device that dispenses milk and creamer for coffee, as well as water.

Interior: The first thing you notice are the vacuum tubes along the ceiling. You often see freshly roasted beans being shooting through the tubes to the brewers and whole bean dispensers and it looks like something out of a Sci-fi movie. The minimalist, light wood and cream-colored decor makes the place feel airy and the small booths are comfortable without feeling cramped. Another plus is that there are bar stools near the window that offer a great view of street life in The Village and there are also bar stools around the counter if you want to watch all the coffee brewing action.
Clientele: A mix of young and old people, businessmen, and students.

Free WiFi: Yes

Barista: Young guy who was very helpful in explaining how the Javabot™ worked. Said that the owner took years to engineer the system. I was surprised to see only one person on a laptop when I was there. There were people studying, writing, and actually talking to one another!

Locations and Hours:

75 Greenwich Avenue

New York, NY 10014. (212) 775-7755

Hours: Mon - Wed: 6am - 10:30pm Thurs - Fri: 6am - 11:30pm Saturday: 6:30am - 11:30pm Sunday: 7:00am - 10:30pm

81 Orchard Street New York, NY 10002 (212) 775-7755

Hours: Mon - Fri: 7am - 7:30pm Sat - Sun: 8am - 7:30pm

November 02, 2008

Flying Saucer Cafe, 494 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY

Coffee: ****

Overall: *****

Coffee sampled: Soy Mocha

Offerings: Coffee, loose teas, wraps, paninis, pastries, soup, sandwiches.

Unique Drinks: Honeymade lemonade.

Interior: The space consists of warm orange and brown tones and the low lighting makes you

feel very relaxed. There are a couple of couches in near the entrance with tables on the side wall and near the back. There are three windows on the back wall with curtains that look like they were taken from Grandma's kitchen. This gives the place a very "homey" feel. The back door leads to a garden with additional seating.

Music: Eclectic indie rock.

Clientele: Young 20 and 30somethings.

Free WiFi: Yes

Credit Cards: Yes

Barista: Young guy with a 5 O'clock shadow who looks like he belongs in an indie rock band. Very friendly. All the baristas are dressed in their own clothes--halter top, tee-shirt, jersey--no uniforms.

Extras: Open mic night and other events.

Notes: There are a couple of bulletin boards near the door. This is a very community oriented coffee shop.

September 09, 2007

Manon Cafe, 74 Trinity Place, New York, NY


Overall: ****

Coffee sampled: Illy French Roast

Offerings: Coffee, pastries, juices, PLUS Leonidas Belgian Chocolates.

Unique Drinks: Hot Chocolate made with real Belgian Chocolate.

Interior: The blue and white walls remind me of a doll house. The shop is huge with a second level that is also available for private parties. There are ornate mirrors and pretty decorations all over the walls and even the "no smoking" signs are framed.

Music: Classical or contemporary music from a local radio station.

Clientele: Young Wall Street professionals and tourists.

Free WiFi: No.

Credit Cards: Yes

Barista: Friendly young people who always have smiles on their faces.

Extras: Leonidas Belgian chocolate is also sold at Manon cafe. For a larger selection of chocolates, you can visit the main chocolate store at 485 Madison Ave.

Notes: The chocolates come directly from Belgium and are also available online at http://www.leonidas-chocolate.com

Has-Beans Coffee and Tea Co. 620 5th Ave. Park Slope, Brooklyn



Coffee sampled: French Roast

Offerings: Coffee, tea, pastries, juices, whole bean coffee, loose teas, fresh fruit, slushys, and cool accessories.

Unique Drinks: Mexican Hot Chocolate

Interior: Laid back atmosphere. The wooden tables and chairs and the checkered floor tiles remind me of an old school diner. The warm brown and yellow tones make you feel very relaxed. The walls and shelves are filled with coffee memorabilia and you could spend a lot of time just looking around. A great place to go to study or relax without loud noise and huge crowds.

Clientele: Mixed age group.

Barista: A friendly young lady who greeted all the customers with a smile and asked how their day was.

Extras: Has Beans is also an internet cafe that offers internet access at $8.00 an hour. You can also purchase coffee and tea accessories such as French presses, coffee mugs, tea infusers, filters, and travel mugs.

Notes: Has Beans started as a local chain in San Francisco in 1976.

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