Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Coffee Project New York

I had planned on a continuous stream of posting about my trip to Portland but a recent discovery has forced me to alter my best laid plans. I will return to Portland, but keeping with the theme of great coffee I felt compelled to share.

The weather has finally broken here in New York and so my rambles have become more frequent and longer. On a recent stroll through the streets of NYC I stumbled upon a small storefront with the words COFFEE PROJECT NY across the top. It triggered a vague recollection of possibly reading about it. Regardless, I investigated. I quickly realized I had read about the shop because of its signature offering, Project #1, the de-constructed Latte. More on that in a minute.

Coffee Project New York is the labor of love of Chi Sum Ngai and her partner Kaleena Teoh. Chi Sum trained as a barista in Portland (aha!) and moved to New York. Coffee Project NY is in the mold of the great coffee shops I found in Portland, run by passionate people with a deep appreciation for great coffee looking to serve a neighborhood and community. Chi Sum and Kaleena welcome you with a hello and a smile the second you enter the shop, doing everything possible to make you feel welcome. 

A small shop with a big heart

Coffee Project NY's beans are roasted for them in Red Hook and their milk comes from Salem, NY. They offer drip, all the expected espresso beverages, cold brew, chai & hot chocolate. They step it up from there. They offer nitro-coffee; cold brew run through a keg infused with nitrogen. I have had nitro-coffee at other places but none has come close to the one at Coffee Project NY. They have their beans for the nitro-coffee specifically roasted to enhance their sweetness. This works well with the nitrogen process which gives the brew a creamy texture without adding any dairy. I am light & sweet coffee guy so it means something when I tell you I did not add a drop of milk or single crystal of sugar to my nitro-coffee. The coffee is bright, with a light sweetness and thick, smooth texture. The closest comparison I can give you is a pint of Guinness poured in Dublin by a pro.

The special of the house is Project # 1, the de-constructed  Latte. Inspired by Slate Coffee Roaster's version in Seattle it is the impetus behind the shop. The de-constructed Latte is, in order, a shot of espresso, a shot of milk and a Latte. It is served on a board with a small glass of sparkling water and a sweet biscuit.

It tastes as good as it looks.

The milk is specially pasteurized at a lower temperature for a longer period to retain a taste similar to raw milk. It is consumed in the order listed to highlight and enhance the flavors and experience of the Latte. The theory is that by tasting the espresso on its own as well as the milk you are better are able to focus in on all of the distinct flavors when they are combined in the Latte. It works, and it is a delightful experience. The de-constructed Latte is only served in house which makes it the perfect excuse to stop for a moment in this hectic city, focus on something pleasant and truly enjoy the experience. I cannot recommend it enough.

All this would be reason enough to visit Coffee Project NY but they do not stop there. They also offer both and affogato (espresso with vanilla ice cream, one of my favorite things in the world) and a coffee-float (nitro-coffee & vanilla ice cream) Throw in some daily pastries and Coffee Project NY has all the bases covered.

Coffee Project NY is a solid twenty block walk from my home, making it a two mile round trip. It is not only worth every step but an inspiration to lace up and hit the pavement. Get ready to stretch your legs. The payoff is worth it.

Coffee Project New York - 239 East 5th Street, between 2nd & 3rd Avenue -