Birch Coffee Loves You
I love coffee for many reasons.
Variety, for starters. There’s nothing quite like inhaling a deep whiff of freshly brewed coffee, with all the smoky, nutty, chocolate-y smells slamming your sensory receptors. Perhaps a hint of toffee or caramel is up your alley? Or fancy a sweet floral or round blueberry note? There’s a coffee bean with that, too!
Taste is another aspect. I often hear from non-coffee drinkers that they find coffee “too bitter.” Perhaps it’s true that some folks are genetically more predisposed to enjoy bitter, acidic and roasted concoctions (myself included). I’ve come to appreciate a bold, full-bodied dark roast. I can drink it black or with a bit of milk. It helps me kick off my day right.
Then there’s the hands-on part. I have a daily ritual of making coffee in the morning using my trusty AeroPress (I’ve also tried a French Press, though I find it more difficult to clean). I prefer to grind my own beans because it’s fresher and more satisfying to drink that way.
For those of us who are not morning people: Let’s not forget how coffee provides a momentary injection of pep into your system that makes you presentable enough to face the world. The glazed-over zombie stare should stay on screen – not a look to rock for everyday life. I use the word “momentary” because sometimes caffeine can backfire, leaving you to crash and burn an hour after ingestion.
In college, I would unintentionally give myself all-nighters by drinking a strong cup of Vietnamese Iced Coffee in the evening. So tasty, but bad idea…I’d be bouncing off the walls until 6am the next morning. What was I doing during my jittery attempts to sleep? Jotting down story ideas, poetry/rap/lyrics, introspective thoughts, “Things to Do” (why does this list never get shorter?), and other randomness.
But enough ruminating on: The Origins of My Love for Coffee. (I should just write an “Ode to Coffee,” huh?)
Next coffee shop to tackle in NYC: Birch Coffee.
I had the perfect opportunity when a friend suggested we meet up at the Upper West Side location over the weekend.
The flat white was smooth, without any hint of bitterness. It had a balanced ratio of espresso and microfoam. Ah, that smooth, textured layer of steamed milk. So difficult to get right, but it’s latte art, after all. I picked a cheddar scallion scone to tag along as my breakfast. Best of all, the counter attendant even SMILED at me. And I mean a genuine, ear-to-ear smile – not some half-hearted, lopsided grin. His winsome demeanor automatically put me in a good mood.
Besides the usual coffee menu (i.e. espresso, latte, cappuccino, macchiato, etc.), Birch also serves up beer and wine. For eats, choose from an assortment of pastries, salads, soups and sandwiches.
This location’s demographic is comprised of young and not-so-young professionals, mostly on laptops. Also present: families with young children.
I loved how the back left of the coffee shop is flanked by a wall-to-wall bookshelf chock full of literature. I didn’t get a close look at the titles, but they seemed inviting.
Seating is a mix of tabletops and bar stools, along with small tables, chairs and booths. We snagged a booth.
“Birch Coffee Loves You.” I think it’s safe to say the feeling is mutual. 🙂
750 Columbus Ave (between 97th & 96th Streets)
New York, NY 10025
Neighborhood: Manhattan Valley