I finally got down to Tribeca to Hugh Jackman’s place Laughing Man Coffee & Tea. If you saw his documentary “Dukale’s Dream”, this is the place that came out of the coffee journey he documented.
Located at 184 Duane St (there is now another location further West by the water as well), the place is tiny and had a healthy line on a Saturday at noon. One might expect this give the fame of the founder, but they make a very good cup of coffee! And, it seems there’s a good supply of “regulars” as the baristas acknowledged several folks as they walked in the door.
I had a flat white, a favorite in Australia, Hugh’s native land…how could I not (Hugh even has a note on the chalk board behind the bar suggesting it’s his favorite.)
The espresso, a blend of Ethiopia, Indonesia, and Costa Rica (according to the barrista) shines through nicely. The winey pop of the Dukale’s Ethiopian comes through the milk very well. It is honestly one of the better milk based drinks from a bar I’ve had in New York.
Even though the inside is tiny, just outside is a small city project called Street Seats. If the weather is nice, it’s a wonderful place to enjoy your coffee. It’s an easy walk from either the 1,2,3 or A,C Chambers Street stops. If you are in the area, give it a try.
Peru Cafe Succhia roasted two minutes past 1st Crack on the FreshRoast SR700. The best part about home roasting is I get exactly what I want when I want it!
Sumatra Iskandar won some awards this year. So I picked up a few pounds to home roast.
This batch was roasted 20 sec into a rolling second crack. It came out excellent. Brewed as a single origin espresso, it had all the body you would expect. It was thick and syrupy, with mild sweetness and a touch of acidic tang to wake up the mouth. I regularly use 25% Sumatra in my “go-to” espresso blend, and this bean again showed me why I do it.
As an Aeropress brew, this was also outstanding. The cup was exceptionally smooth and not bitter at all. The sweetness was perhaps more pronounced than in the espresso preparation and the aroma had chocolate notes to it. The thickness of the body noted in the espresso preparation was also very noticeable.
I’m now 2 weeks into my home roasting adventure, and I’m never buying pre-roasted beans again. Don’t get me wrong, there’s small batch roasters out there that are insanely good. But, for less than 1/2 the price, and still making mistakes, I’m producing product that I would happily stand up against some of the best cafes in town. The crema is thick and colorful. And, possibly most important, the shots taste almost exactly as they smell. The blend I’m working with is producing balanced caramel sweetness with bakers chocolate flavors, and it’s thick and luxurious.
The aroma of fresh roasted coffee is through the roof, the taste completely ridonculous (sic) – a religious experience. Home roasting coffee guarantees all this never is out of reach. Did I mention the cost savings? It costs me roughly 1/2 as much to be home roasting my own coffee. If you are a serious coffee drinker, you could probably pay for a vacation every year with the money you save.
If you saw the precious post, you saw that I’m using a FreshRoast SR700. The one consistent knock on the FreshRoast machines in reviews around the internet is batch size – too small. Yes, you can only roast 4oz at a time (final yield about 3.2oz per batch). But, the flip side is that each roast is about 10-14 minutes. So, you have almost a pound with an hour of home roasting. Let’s be honest here…is it really such a terrible thing to spend an hour home roasting coffee? You can geek out as much as you want on the science of it. Analyze each roast. Tweak recipes. Oh, and did I mention the cost savings (again)? Buy some exotic beans. Try some new coffees!