It’s not just a city, it’s an attitude

The Great New York Coffee Conundrum 27 September 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Adam @ 6:39 pm


Coffee. Oh Coffee!

That delicious bean had me at hello.

I may be in a rare category of people who actually remember their very first cup of coffee. I must have been no older than 14 or 15….geez, maybe even younger. I was at home with my sister Belinda, we had just rented the video cassette (remember those?) of “Aliens”. (Yes, most of my life memories are linked to movies).

Belinda needed a toilet break, so we had to press pause (and I mean that literally…we didn’t even have a remote back then. We physically had to walk up to the big, clunky VCR and press down this huge lever that paused the tape. Oh boy, we had it hard back then!) I decided to use the time wisely and make myself a cup of tea. I was a tea man from an early age.

I checked the pantry and discovered we were all out of Bushells tea bags! All we had in the cupboard was a year-old box of cocoa, a no frills satchel of chicken noodle soup and half a tin of something strange called Nescafe Blend 43? I must have been feeling pretty wild so I gave the Nescafe a go.

I had no idea how to make coffee so after putting in 3 heaped spoonfuls, half a cup of milk and two or three sugars I was set.


Watching “Aliens” strung out on coffee was amazing! As the caffeine seeped through my veins, my young pubescent body didn’t know what hit it. All it knew was that it was party time and every organ, blood cell and nerve was invited!

I was instantly hooked. And so my long love affair with the coffee bean began.
From that day until the day I left for New York a mere 2 months ago, our relationship has been strong. We do everything together me and coffee. When I was working all hours to finish assignments for university, it was coffee who kept my spirits up. When I would struggle to get up for all the crappy jobs I’ve had to endure in my life, coffee was there each morning lending a helping hand and offering encouragement. When I would party a little too hard and wake up naked in an empty field with no knowledge of who I was or what I had done the night before and without any sense of feeling except for the sting from the freshly drawn tattoo’s on my body and the throbbing beating from inside my dehydrated, alcohol soaked head… was my old pal coffee that helped me remember my name and what took place the night before.

Sure, we’ve had our ups and downs…like the time I tried to quit caffeine….we decided to have a break and see what happened. You know? Just not see each other for a while and take it from there? That lasted all of 3 days. Who was I kidding? I needed it back. Thankfully coffee forgave me. We’ve been inseparable ever since.

So I land at JFK airport in New York City. When I get to the apartment there’s nothing I want more than to indulge in a nice cup of hot coffee. Here’s where the problem begins:

Our apartment has a coffee percolator (or a “coffee drip”-which is what they call it). It makes a kind of dark, slimy liquid that resembles coffee….but it certainly aint coffee! Thankfully, like any big city these days, there is a Starbucks on almost every corner in New York, so in a mild panic, I ran into the one across the road and asked for a “flat-white” coffee. The girl behind the counter looked at me as if I just loudly broke wind in front of her and says, “a what?”.

Americans have no idea what a “flat-white” is. It’s like asking them to “slap some bangers on the Barbi and open a nice cold one to sink out the back with your mates.”- They just don’t get it? So I was instead given a weak “caffe latte” and sent on my way. Well, that just didn’t cut it I’m afraid. I like my coffee strong with a nice smooth, but full taste.

My next stop: Little Italy in downtown New York. Surely the Italians will sort me out. They practically invented coffee! I looked for the most Italian looking cafe I could find and made sure they had an espresso machine. I was given a foul tasting liquid that not only make me sick, but burnt my tongue as well.

I have since looked everywhere! New York has no good coffee! It’s official!

My relationship with coffee was on the rocks. We hadn’t seen each other for so long I thought we’d never patch things up and get back together. I was trying to reach it everywhere but it simply wasn’t returning my calls. What’s worse, I was actually putting up with the Starbucks Latte’s and the horrible home-made percolator. I felt dirty and ashamed, like I was cheating on my beloved coffee with its cheap and flirtatious cousin.

Repairing any relationship takes commitment and work. I was determined to get my coffee back but I didn’t know how. At night I would think of my espresso machine back home and wonder what it was doing right now.

My savior came in the form of my sister Debbie, who visited us in New York and brought along her stove-top espresso coffee maker for me to borrow. Bless her! I can tell you that my first real coffee with that, took me back to that night watching “Aliens”. Quite a buzz.

My sweet coffee was back!

To any entrepreneurs reading this, I suggest you invest all your money and start a coffee shop chain that sells REAL coffee in New York. Import it from Australia if you have to. It’s a million dollar idea just waiting to happen. It amazes me that there is no good coffee in this city. I’m told it’s the same around the country too. Maybe it explains why Americans are so darn annoying and agitated. They’ve never tasted good coffee. If they could maybe just sit and enjoy a good cuppa, maybe the world would be a more peaceful place?

Something must be done!

…but for now, I’m just happy my relationship is back on track. The future looks bright again with my sweetheart sitting in a mug by my side. Promise you’ll never leave me again?


-Posted By Adam


11 Responses to “The Great New York Coffee Conundrum”

  1. Deb Says:

    Amen brother! Praise the almighty bean! For instant human, just add coffee!

  2. belinda Says:

    how did I know you’d be the first to comment Deb!! Hail Coffee!!

  3. Deb Says:

    Just the hanger-oners left now sis!

  4. Livie Says:

    Mummmmmmm can i try some all mighty coffee??????

  5. Wil Says:

    Dude, you’re spot on…I did not have one decent cup of coffee in NYC. Every cup tasted like feet juice (ask Raf about this). Why in the world would coffee taste sour? Probably the only drawback of NYC. I would rather get mugged in the Bronx than have another cuppa from NYC.

  6. Mona Says:

    Wil, the only decent coffee I had was at Trinh & Adam’s!

    Guys, any chance you’ll be bringing along your coffee maker and ground coffee from Zabar’s to London???

  7. faystar Says:

    Wil, I decided to put your theory to the test and just squeezed all the juice from my sweaty socks into a coffee mug. I added a bit of milk and sugar and drank it up.

    …Yep. You are spot on. American coffee tastes exactly like feet juice.

  8. masonhellcat Says:

    I agree with all comments here. Yanks do not know how to make coffee. Even their “iced coffee” is bad! Seriously! Check it out! It’s no Farmers Union Iced Coffee that’s for sure.

  9. faystar Says:

    Yeah, I learnt that the hard way. I ordered an iced coffee and got just that. A black coffee with ice cubes.


  10. masonhellcat Says:

    that is just wrong!

  11. kopidunia Says:

    Nice story..thanks for sharing 🙂

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