Tuesday, September 6, 2011

For the love of coffee.

La Columbe

My search for good coffee is like my quest for the perfect avocado. Picking them up one by one, turning them over in my hand, is it soft enough but not too soft, are there any worrisome squishy areas? The gamble we take on produce that we we can't actually try first always gives me pause. It makes me miss my favorite market back in San Francisco, BiRite, where they had samples out of everything. Today found me on my quest for great coffee which lead me to La Columbe. Located in Soho, it's just far enough away to get my brain working to figure out the logistics of how I can plan a days route to take me by it. In actuality it's only .9 miles away from my apartment. In New York walking a mile is like breathing. I walked by it today, it was raining and I had lots of reading to do for school. A match made in heaven.

The baristas looked like bike messengers, even the girls. Hats cocked to the side just so, headbands, tough attitudes and coffee lingo make me feel like a tourist. Of course I was wearing my workout gear. For some reason wearing my running shoes always made me feel a bit like a tourist. My coffee came up quick, I had to ask for a lid, which she gave me with that look, as she pinched it between two fingers. The look that said I don't quite belong. I get over the look and notice the cream is served in a tiny floral pitcher, so delicate against the hard concrete setting. It softened things up.

I took my coffee and sat down at their industrial tables. Natural wood and  metal tables fixed to the ground along with long matching wooden benches. Very nice. The ceilings were super tall and there were two ceiling fans which were, unfortunately for me, on and making it gusty and cool. Not ideal on a cool rainy day but I can see how sometimes it would be a good thing.

The coffee itself was perfection. Dark, smoky and rich, I could taste the layers of freshly roasted coffee beans. I loved this cup of coffee. As I settled in to read my book and slowly savor my coffee I couldn't help taking in the different people. Somehow this place felt neighborhoody. In an unlikely area of Soho, full of out of town shoppers, that was nice to see. People came in and slapped hands with the workers, tilted up their chin in hellos. Friends met to catch up. I liked it.

At times the noise level was too much for reading: cups and saucers banging against each other like wind-chimes in a storm. Coffee grinders zzz, zzz, zzzing, along with conversations and music, but it was still a place I could hang around in. And, as I looked outside, rain coming down in sheets, I settled in and turned the page.

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