Lileks speculates of Starbucks and Caribou coffee that “the reason people adulterate the stuff with flavors and whipped cream and milk is simply to hide the brackish taste of the original product.” But surely it’s the other way around – they make it ultra-strong and bitter because people are not drinking it straight, but rather using it as an ingredient in their Caramel Macchiatos and Mocha Lattes and Frappucinos. I’m as much a coffee snob as the next guy, but I need coffee that tastes good by itself. Your best bet: D’Amico’s, on Court Street in Brooklyn. (I mention it because you can now order on line, so it doesn’t matter if you don’t live near Court Street). Decades before it was trendy, this place was importing raw beans, and roasting them on the premises. This is a couple blocks from where I grew up, so I have memories from childhood of the wonderful aroma of that great copper roasting machine. You can’t smell anything on a web site, but the coffee is still the best. (They also have terrific Italian meats and cheeses, BTW.)
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Kirsten Tynan - 3/10/2005
You can buy small (or large) quantities of many varieties of green coffee beans and roasters from many vendors on the web. Green coffee beans are much cheaper than their equivalent varieties roasted so some of the fancier varieties become much more reasonable to indulge in.
I purchased a simple electric air roaster and a sampler package of several varieties of beans for not much more than $100 including shipping, and I've been extremely happy. It takes me about 10 minutes to roast a batch of beans and do some simple cleanup of the chaff. The model I purchased does a great job of filtering smoke, so I don't have to deal with a lingering unpleasant odor. And I always get my coffee roasted the way I like at its freshest and most wonderfully flavored stage.
Gus diZerega - 3/8/2005
If you are ever in Sonoma County, California, take Gravenstein Hwy exit off 101 to Sebastopol, and at the first light when you get to Sebastopol, check out Hardcore Espresso. Best coffee this old Berkleyite and Seattle resident ever had.
Aeon J. Skoble - 3/8/2005
Yes, but do you have fond childhood memories of this place? Bleeker Street is light-years away from Mosholu. ;-)
Dan Schmutter - 3/8/2005
Not being from Brooklyn, I can't comment on D'Amico's, but for my money the best place to get coffee beans is Porto Rico on Bleeker Street in the Village (that's Greenwich Village for the non-New Yorkers). They also do mail order, and they also were roasting their own beans long before it was trendy.