Coffee Culture with Jeff Newton

Please proceed to this post with your favorite brew, a nice warm fancy mug, and your undivided attention to a special guest here on Coffee Drinker’s Blog, Jeff Newton of Americano Monday’s! Jeff is a devoted coffee culturalist (in my most humble of opinions) and has a keen eye for telling stories through the lens of his camera (see the photos below). It’s what makes Jeff’s Americano Monday’s so special.

I recently reached out to Jeff after seeing one of his posts on Deus Ex Machina USA’s Facebook Page. I thought that what Jeff was doing was beyond cool, not to mention what an awesome name, Americano Monday’s. So I contacted Jeff, asked him a bit of questions, and, well, here are his answers!

What is your favorite song to listen to while drinking an Americano and why? 
I wouldn’t say that I have a favorite song, it’s more about adjusting my music selection to my mood and time of day. In the morning I’ll  make an Americano or French Press and listen to music along the lines of Sufjan Stevens, Local Natives or the Civil Wars. But later in the afternoon when I’m ready for my 2nd Americano and need to push through the day I’ll rock some Common Market, Jack White or The Black Keys. Very freakin’ loud. For me, it’s more about setting the tone for that particular moment of my day.
Jeff Newton: American Mondays

Jeff Newton: American Mondays

What grabs your attention when you first walk into a coffee shop? 
The music that the shop is playing. I’ve noticed that some cafe’s have forgotten that they are coffee shops and blast the music like a bar. That’s an automatic turn off. Especially when I’ve left my laptop at home and am just wanting to journal. Let’s just say there’s a problem when you can’t even hear your own thoughts.
On a happier note, I love it when I walk into an upscale coffee shop and the baristas – owners are all nice. That goes a long way in my decision to return.
Do you have a rating system of your own when judging coffee and the local shop your at?
I don’t have a rating system but I do choose certain coffee shops for specific reasons.
If I am hoping to put in some very focused work on my laptop then I will choose a coffee shop that has a good table selection and isn’t rockin’ the music too loud.
On the other hand, there are cafe’s that I love but they just don’t have the right ‘mobile office’ enviornment. And i’m glad those coffee shops still exists because it forces us to pull ourselves away from our too often, closed off world. There’s one very close to our home that I ride my bike to on a regular basis. I bring a book and a journal and chill…it’s a good feeling.
Jeff Newton: American Mondays

Jeff Newton: American Mondays

What’s the best conversation you’ve had most recently in a coffee shop? 
My wife and I discussing our future together.
Coffee Ice cream?
Yes and yes.
Why is coffee so special to you? 
Coffee culture became an important part of my life in my teenage years. I would stay up all night drinking coffee and writing in my journal. Then, as I got older I felt a connection with the community of people I would meet at coffee shops. Coffee to me is more about what’s in my cup – but it better taste good – and more about the experiences and life lessons I have gained through conversations held over a cup of coffee.
AND
What are you currently brewing at home?
I am currently brewing Intelligentsia Black Cat espresso beans in our espresso machine. And a friend of mine recently gave me a pound of Stumptown Hair Bender beans that I use for French Press. 
Peace & Love,
TheCoffeeMan™

Stumptown Coffee Roasters

Stumptown Coffee Roasters

Cold Brew

This was my first experimentation into the cold brew world and, it was awesome. It’s not for everyone, but this coffee packs a punch full of smooth balanced flavors from beginning to end. This past weekend Shelby and I traveled to our beloved Whole Foods to grab a quick bite to eat. I was rummaging through trying to find something to drink (finally picked a Joe’s Half & Half which is refreshing as well), but it wasn’t until I was on my way towards the register that I noticed Stumptown’s Cold Brew. I hesitated, I wasn’t sure if I should try it, but being a coffee lover I decided I would.

Cold Brew

Cold Brew

I wasn’t expecting what I got. I first thought it was going to be more like those double-shot-espresso-mass-produced-cans that Starbuck’s puts on local grocery shelves everywhere. BUT! It was so much more complex, tasty, so satisfying, and my GOD it had the perfect aroma of chocolate. My mouth is salivating just talking about it again. The uniquely, or I should say very similar appearance to a Red Stripe bottle made for some interesting conversations. Shelby and I had gone to the local mall and I was asked a few times what I was drinking, only to answer with, “Why this is Stumptown’s awesome Cold Brew coffee!” I just wanted people to stop what they were doing so they could try, I was almost even willing to share…but not really.

Overall, it’s worth a try. It’s not for everyone, but it is enjoyable from beginning to end if you are willing to give it a go. Trust me. But, if you need a little persuasion just think of this;

Slowly open the top and put your nose up to it, and take a deep breath in. You’ll smell your mom’s famous chocolate chip cookies baking in extra chocolate chips with a fresh pot of coffee brewing right beside it.

Peace & Love,

TheCoffeeMan™

Jack’s Stir Brew Coffee

Jack’s Stir Brew Coffee
10 Downing Street
New York, NY 10014

 

Jack's Stir Brew

Jack’s Stir Brew

“Organic Fairtrade Shadegrown Coffee,” a perfect example of exactly how coffee should be. Jack’s Stir Brew is in one word (which is completely made up but…) BREWTASTIC! The espresso was undeniably creamy and balanced perfectly with local Hudson Valley Fresh Milk! There’s something so refreshing and exciting when all the ingredients being used in your meals and drinks are all right from your own backyard. Because guess what? It tastes 100% better than all those genetically enhanced ingredients you’d get at let’s say, your local Starbucks.

OH YES, yes I did just go out on a limb and state that Jack’s Stir Brew is in fact better than Starbucks. Now, for the most part many mom and pop enthusiasts who support the  local route will say, “Duh of course it’s better.” But, you have to understand Starbucks has  created what mom and pop cafe’s could only dream of; mass production with emphasis on customer loyalty. Unfortunately, what most mom and pop cafes lack is the number one golden rule, The Customer is ALWAYS Right. This rule is so often overlooked that the customer loyalty is not sustained.

Walking Towards Jack's!

Walking Towards Jack’s!

Jack’s is a true gem and right out it scores a  rating from TheCoffeeMan™ Pure euphoria when the espresso hits your lips. Have you ever been so caffeinated your brain just can’t handle it but it feels fantastic? That’s exactly how it is when drinking Jack’s A+++ grade espresso. My walk over after work this past Friday was nothing short of a perfect summer evening in New York City. The temperature was just right and you could smell the climax of summer as we slowly descend into my favorite time of the year, Fall. I approached the 10 Downing Street location (there’s 5 Jack’s across the city) and I was welcomed generously into the shop.

Local Favorites Menu

Local Favorites Menu

Immediately upon entering I smiled as big as ever. The atmosphere was warm and inviting, the baristas were genuinely excited to serve, and although there was small amounts of seating Jack’s felt huge. I ordered a local favorite, the Teddy Boy. The espresso was pulled just right, the amount of ice was enough to add a refreshing chill to the drink, and it was balanced well with the perfect amount of cream. I can see why it was such a local favorite. I most certainly will be back to continue to pick apart the local favorites menu, but to also enjoy some of the award winning coffee! It was a pleasure enjoying Jack’s Stir Brew Coffee. Overall ! It’s a fantastic spot to enjoy a local vibe, great coffee & espresso, and to have a good conversation. Remember to tell em’ the Coffee Drinker’s Blog sent ya!

Peace & Love,

TheCoffeeMan™

Kaffe 1668

Kaffe 1668

401 Greenwich St
New York, NY 10013

People need to know good things, and this is a good thing. It’s perfect really.  I always boast about Barnie’s Coffee Kitchen in Winter Park (it’ll always be one of my favorites) but this little gem is like a match made in heaven. The coffee gods called upon the creator and birthed Kaffe 1668.

Behind the Bar

Behind the Bar

I’ve walked in before to grab lunch (which is really tasty, and they also give you a free complimentary iced tea with every meal you order). I decided to go back the other day and order myself a latte, and I was not expecting their coffee to be anywhere near as good as what their sign said outside “we serve good coffee.” I mean I understand the marketing principal behind it, but you have to be a little skeptical right?

Tea Lights, Real Burning Ones!

Tea Lights, Real Burning Ones!

You walk in and the place is dimly lite, and there are actual burning tea candles on every table. As you walk towards the back you’re greeted by a lovely barista (picture you’re most stereotypical barista but not an asshole) and that’s who’ve got at Kaffe 1668. They use Square by the way, which is totally perfect for small coffee shops and businesses. I was so pleased about the atmosphere of Kaffe 1668. Its roaring in noise of coffee being dripped, people talking and laughing, espresso being pulled, and the smiles of people feeling satisfied.

Mocha Latte

Mocha Latte

I ordered a mocha latte which was so decadent in rich frothy foam, smooth espresso, and that dark chocolaty finish that’s supposed to be there after every sip of a mocha drink. It was perfect in every sip I took. I also ordered a regular latte to compare between the two. They were both a match made in heaven.

Overall I am giving Kaffe 1668 a , your only complaint (that I am sure most of you would agree upon) is its a little pricey. But then again this is coming from a guy who drinks Starbucks 24/7 so a little pricey really does mean it’s a little pricey. Enjoy it and make sure you tell them that TheCoffeeMan™ of CoffeeDrinkersBlog sent ya.

 

 

Crave Espresso Bar

Crave Espresso Bar

Crave Espresso Bar

Crave Espresso Bar

386 Canal St
(between Broadway & Thompson St)
New York, NY 10013
Neighborhood: TriBeCa

By far the best latte I have had so far while being in and out of New York for the last few weeks. The greatest thing about this place, not only it being a great spot to enjoy a latte, but it’s right near my office. I walked in around 11AM and it was dead, so by first glance I wasn’t hopeful. But Crave has charm, it has soul, and it has that feel of walking into an espresso bar. (I am still on the lookout for an actual espresso bar, you know standing room ONLY!) <—-So if someone could point me in that direction that would be awesome. The staff was eh…my barista could have smiled a bit more, or could have at least had a decent conversation with me.

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Vanilla Latte

I ordered my classic vanilla latte and I got a blueberry muffin toasted (which seemed to have taken a lot longer now that I think about it). I don’t know if it was the toaster that wasn’t toasting, or if their fridge where they kept the muffin on display was 30 below. Nonetheless my muffin was enjoyable, it just had an awful cold center. Not too many people came in and out of this place, that could have been due to the fact that it was 11AM and everyone had gotten their morning cup of joe. I just thought there would have been a bit more activity. With further research this place is actually really new.

photo copy

Upstairs Seating

The espresso was pulled just right. It was creamy, strong, and it balanced well with the thickness of the foam. I could have liked a better design, or a design for that matter on my latte. I’d say skip the food and try as many drinks as you can. The lady sitting behind me ordered an iced tea and she was raving about it, that, and the how cute the place was. It’s a fun place to sit quickly have your cup of coffee, take a couple of Instagram photos, and be on your way. I will be back to take a latte on the go, as for siting down and enjoying another latte, highly unlikely.

CFCF Roastery & Cafe

CFCF Roastery & Cafe:

 

There are only two words that can describe this place accurately, coffee depression. What is coffee depression you may ask? Well, let’s say you’re on your fifth cup of Maxwell House (I’m sorry if you drink that you’re really missing out), and you’re just not getting that high; that caffeine high that drives you through the rest of the day. It’s like your whole day you spend crashing and burning into a fiery pit of anger, sadness, and a suicidal outlook on life. Yes, that is a little dramatic, but come on you can’t say you don’t want to kill people if you don’t get your well-balanced cup of coffee in the morning.

Instagram: benjamingreger

Instagram: benjamingreger

Besides the obvious, which is the nice coffee decor, brick accent walls, iPads (that don’t use square…stupid), fun uptight-put-together pastries, nice comfy seating, okay light fixtures, nice smell of freshly brewed joe, cute display; this place is just looming of the case of Monday’s, hardcore. 

My latte tasted of burnt caramel, and overly frothed milk. I thought the barista was pretty nice, but the two who are behind the counter sure are…well, boring. However at least he seems somewhat excited about what he does on a daily basis. Meaning he’s willing to explain to the average joe like myself how they brew their coffee.

First impressions are keen in my eye, and when it comes to a small coffee shop like this there are a few things I am expecting. 1) Latte art. 2) A feel good staff. Meaning they love what they do and love how they do it. 3) WiFi. I mean this seems like a no-brainer for a coffee shop, but believe it or not there was no WiFi at CFCF.  4) Priced competitively, not geographically. This is important, hugely important. I understand that this is Greenwich CT, there’s millionaires down every street, however; great coffee doesn’t need to be priced high for the area in which your in, Barnies Coffee Kitchen in Winter Park is a great example of this.  This place is overly priced both inside and out. You have to pay for parking (which only takes quarters), and then the $4.85 latte I got in what looks to be like a medium cup rather than a large, it’s a bit frustrating. I don’t mind paying slightly higher, but make it worth it.

Overall, after it’s all said and done, I’d come back for another cup of coffee. I’d give it a second chance for CFCF to take a Zoloft and be happier! : fun atmosphere (decor wise), bitter burnt espresso, overly frothed milk, boring staff, no WiFi, but nice seating.

For The Love of Coffee

HELLO!

I first would like to extend a huge apology for taking a several month hiatus from this wonderful blog. I can’t lie I have been hesitant to regain my interest into this wonderful world of coffee, for a minute I was afraid I lost my true interest in it. It’s not easy maintaining a blog, then again I am sure many of you who write and operate their own blog can understand how hard it can be to maintain.

But I’m back. I’m back because I can’t hide the love that I have for coffee, and for what it does to people. I’d like to share a small story with many of you that honestly will always put a smile on my face. For those who are returning you know that I have a huge love for Starbucks, and the experiences that Starbucks offers. I usually am always relating my other coffee experiences to the Starbucks experience. For those who didn’t know…well know you know, I love Starbucks.

So, I’m not a fan of Dunkin Donuts. You see there’s two types of people I believe in this world. Starbucks, and Dunkin Donuts people. Before someone jumps down my throat, there isn’t anything wrong with this at all; there’s just two types of people in this world when it comes to coffee. Think about it, you have your experience goers (like myself) who find the comfort in enjoying the atmosphere of how coffee brings people together. Then you have your “I just need my morning cup of joe!” See two different people.

Shelby Makin Funny Faces

So my absolute beautiful favorite girl came down to visit me…(for everyone reading TheCoffeeMan™ is in love, and not with just his coffee). Shelby visited for a wonderful and amazing time and the first place I brought her when she arrived was Barnie’s Coffee Kitchen. I mean how could I not! It’s one of those places that just always feels so warm and inviting, like I said they really do give Starbucks a run for their money. However she enjoys tea rather than a cup of coffee. I have always wanted to begin venturing into teas…just haven’t had the time. I did take her to Infusion Tea where we had enjoyed some very yummy tea.

Enough of my tea rant, you see Shelby hadn’t really experienced what Starbucks had to offer, and although she still loves her Dunkin Donuts drinks I think I have done something amazing! I have introduced her to the sometimes scary menu of Starbucks and showed her that there’s so much Starbucks has to offer for drinks. Sticking with teas I had a feeling she’d really enjoy a passion tea lemonade with a shot of raspberry (you all should really try it, it’s amazing). She loved it! Then we met with a friend of mine who told us about the green tea frappuccino with a vanilla replacement. What’s a vanilla replacement you ask? Well instead of the classic syrup that Starbucks uses, you replace it with the vanilla syrup. Shelby loved it!

For the love of coffee I’m back. I’m back to give you the love I have for coffee and for what the love of coffee does for everyone. It puts a smile on the faces of millions! It makes me so happy to be able to share my experiences of what coffee has done for me with Shelby, and other people around me.

Peace & Love,

Benjamin

TheCoffeeMan™

Quokka Coffee

Quokka Coffee

Hello my fellow coffee lovers! I’m coming out on this one swinging. First no coffee shop should ever charge you extra for whipped cream. That should be a given. Now I understand from what I can see while I’m here that this is a fairly new establishment (not worth my 45 minute drive out here). However I can see where people can become attached to this charming spot, Quokka Coffee. It is indeed charming everything is pretty much brand new.

3 flat screen Samsung TV’s, a future beer and wine list, surf board tables for the window seating, and a comfy leather couch. What brought me all the way out here? The Flat-White. It’s the Aussie favorite and I had to give it a go especially after a recent article that I wrote for The Daily City. What I have a hard time dealing with is on Quokka Coffee’s website are misrepresented photos of what their coffee actually looks like. You can see my Flat-White photo, there’s no latte art. I get it maybe it’s me being a bit of a *insert curse word here* but come on. Every Flat-White photo on the internet has some sort of latte art on it.

Flat-White

Let me get into the meat of it, the coffee was enjoyable regardless of the un-velvetiness of the foam, the atmosphere is loud due to the street being right on top of you as you enjoy your coffee. However the people seem some what friendly…to the locals who come in here. If I compare this to B3’s atmosphere (them being a bike specific coffee shop) Side note: Floridians and their bikes can be…eh…well you know snotty.

Anyways B3’s atmosphere is so welcoming and inviting, they don’t care if you ride a bike or not, they simply love you! I am pretty disappointed in this place, so I’m not going to really recommend it to anyone. I think what I can’t get over is the payment for extras that I think should just be a given in my opinion…whipped cream…really?

 

 stars in my book, not worth the 45 minute drive, coffee was good, but it could have been better, still too new of a place for me.

 

Peace & Love,

Benjamin

Starbucks Sleeve Art Project Update, 2/13/12

Hello my fellow coffee lovers. This past week seemed to be the week of aliens, (that link was just for SEO purposes only) and I have now received the very first sleeve art that came from outside Starbucks. That’s right if you have a favorite coffee joint other than Starbucks please don’t be afraid to send me work on another sleeve. If I begin to start getting a lot of other drawings on different sleeves I’d properly change the name of this project. Speaking of Starbucks I just got another 15 stars for my free drink and I am patiently….very patiently waiting for that post card in the mail. Well without further ado I present to you last week’s sleeve art designs enjoy! If you’d like to be apart of this project please submit your drawings to ben@benjamingreger.com which then will be featured here and through my Instagram.

 

Drawn by Katie (my sister)

Drawn by Blake

Drawn by Robert

Drawn by Robert

 

Downtown Credo

Caramel Latte

Hello everyone. If you have been following my Instagram closely lately, or FB, or even just my regular twitter (speaking on that I am probably going to delete the @AndCoffeeBlog account so make sure to follow my @BenjaminGreger one). Many of you should all notice the wonderful creations Downtown Credo has been making me every morning as I work on writing for another blog, TheDailyCity. It’s perfect to the touch, not to hot, not cold at all, and perfectly enjoyable on any given day. The last few days here in the Sunshine state have been gloomy, which is reminding me a lot of the New England weather which I enjoy. Let’s talk atmosphere.

I have been arriving for the last week at Downtown Credo at around 9AM, and at first it’s slow there aren’t a lot of people walking in and out, but about 45minutes to and hour later the place is usually jumping. The environment is friendly and open, there’s awesome seating throughout, and the barista’s give you a warm inviting feeling. Now usually I am big on watching my coffee being made, it’s part of the experience I sort have come to love, however here at Downtown Credo I order and walk to my seat.

Caramel Mocha Macchiato

This is a bit unusual for me, but I find that every time my drink comes to me, it’s perfect, every time. I have yet to order something that I just don’t find enjoyable. I think the best part about Downtown Credo is their payment method. Being a student it’s a bit hard trying to continuously go out and try all of these different coffee shops, let alone keep up with my Starbucks addiction; Downtown Credo allows you to pay what you can. How cool is that? Supposedly more and more smaller “mom and pop” coffee shops are beginning to do this which I think is a great alternative.

Yes there are suggested prices but being a student, or someone who just doesn’t have a lot of money, or is just one of those starving artists, Downtown Credo is the place to go. Trust me the coffee, the lattes, the small treats, the environment, the staff, and everyone at Downtown Credo will welcome you with a great big smile. I give Downtown Credo a  stars, it’s the perfect getaway and alternative to your normal coffee shop you go to. So let Downtown Credo know the CoffeeDrinkersBlog sent ya!

 

Peace & Love,

Benjamin