My mom is a coffee fiend. She needs at least one cup of decent coffee a day and her habits have definitely passed onto me. When I was younger, around the age of five or so, my grandparents would pour me a little cup of coffee to drink with them at tea time. Around the age of eight to eleven, my mom would always save the last drop of coffee in her cup for me. By the age of 18, I was working full time and going to school – I was officially experiencing the headaches and cravings in the morning…symptoms of coffee withdrawal.
You think that I would be super short? Well, naysayers, at the age of 18, I was standing at 5 ft 8, and now I’m roughly 5 ft 8.5….so coffee didn’t stunt my growth.
Just like I was determine to experience good food in NY, my mom was determined to find good coffee. Needless to say, she didn’t have to look very hard. Near the end of our trip, we wandered around into a cafe called Keko Cafe. It had a really cute and charming interior. The walls were littered with books, tea pots and many random containers.
My go-to drink for any new cafe is a regular latte. Though a basic and standard drink, a latte is not easy to make; it’s my own little idiosyncratic way of determining whether or not the coffee and technique is good…it’s all about the milk-to-coffee ratio and the consistency and delivery of the foam. I’m not going to mention too much about the latte I had, this isn’t a review.
Keko Cafe – 121 Madison Ave, New York, NY
Right before leaving to watch our next Broadway play, I was crossing the street to the subway and saw a sign that caught my eye.
Without really thinking, I headed into the store, my interest peaked. The decor was minimalist, and the smell was a heavenly mix of chocolate, fresh coffee and pastries. With just a bit of time to kill, and the store still opened for another half hour, I ordered an espresso to share with a few chocolate truffles on the side for something sweet.
Fika, a Swedish verb translates to “take a coffee break,” usually accompanied by something sweet and delicious. Hmmmm I like that. I ordered two kinds of truffles, passion fruit and cardamon. Cardamon is such a strong aromatic, a little strong for my taste but my mom likes it because it reminds her of chai tea. I on the other hand, love passion fruit but when the truffles came to me, I couldn’t tell them apart and the barista forgot which was which. Hence, I had to smell both of them thoroughly before deciding which one to eat…my mom wasn’t impressed that I handed her a truffle that was 2mm from my nose.
And as much as I like coffee and as much as I have a certain way of enjoying my coffee, I am by no means an expert and I don’t want to claim to be. So it isn’t a surprise that I forgot how small espressos were, or specifically, how small an espresso bar in New York would make their espressos.
The cup we “shared” is roughly the length of my middle finger and the width of my pinkie. And when I say “shared” what I really mean is that I was absently drinking it forgetting about my mom until there was a couple of sips left. I guess the tables have turned.
Fika Espresso Bar – 407 Park Ave, New York, NY (there are multiple locations, see website)
All in all, my mom was really impressed with her coffee at every place we went. Though she won’t admit it, her alliance is to THE largest and most global coffee chain in the world, (her collection of cups from various places around the world proves this). Yet she never had a bad cup of coffee in NY. From a dinky breakfast diner to a modern espresso bar, she was pleased. New York, you gained my mom’s stamp of approval.