Let’s talk coffee – obviously a very hot button issue among you achievers out there. I like coffee, but I am not sure I share the passion for it the way my friends do. Still, I do enjoy a good cup of joe every now and then.
My mother was one of the original coffee elites in the tiny town of Orange Park, Fla. We had a Char Grill Drive-In burger joint, a Holiday Inn and for some exotic fare, a Chinese restaurant, House Of Loo.
My mom was, and still is, quite the hip chick. She had a Vidal Sassoon A-line haircut that this tiny town had never seen anything like. She was always at the top of fashion. She also drank Medaglia d’Oro coffee, not the Maxell House or Folgers that could be found in most households at that time.
Medaglia d’Oro is Italian espresso that comes in a white can with green and red writing (it was very exotic). To this day if I ever see a can, I always buy it, though it’s been harder and harder to find. Mom still drinks this brand to this day but mixes in a can of Café Du Monde from New Orleans every now and then. See, she’s totally cool.
I, on the other hand, like old school NYC diner or even bodega (deli) coffee. They all tend to use the same brand, and trust me, it’s delicious. It also brings back memories of early morning breakfast hangovers at the Odessa on Avenue A. Pierogies, grits, scrambled eggs and a hot cup of coffee with all the refills required to get you feeling normal again.
When Hurricane Sandy hit NYC, we were without power for a week. Living on the 9th floor, days were planned around the dog and figuring out how to get her proper walks with the least amount of trips up and down those flights of stairs.
Now a quick geographical break down. When Sandy hit, only below 33rd Street was affected on the Island; outer areas – Long Island, New Jersey – were completely devastated. We were lucky to only lose our power, unlike others.
Anyways, after day three of listening to NPR and hanging out with my dog, it was time to go find some electricity and charge up the cell phone, laptop, etc. – even though I had no internet nor cell connection. My husband worked above 33rd Street, so the plan was to meet him for lunch – not just a peanut butter sandwich but an actual hot lunch.
I jumped on the bus up 1st Avenue. It was magic as we drove past 33rd Street, and my phone began to buzz and ding with voicemails and text messages. Civilization – yippee! My first action: get a hot cup of coffee from a bodega. It might be, to this day, the greatest cup of joe I have ever tasted.
Now, Milwaukee has a plethora of coffee choices: Anodyne, Stone Creek Coffee, Fiddleheads, Valentine and I am sure many more I have yet to experience.
Anodyne makes for a great coffee experience, mostly due to owner Matt McClutchy. He gives tours, talks about his passion for the perfect bean and the roasting process that goes into each batch. All in all, a good cup of coffee.
Stone Creek gets kudos for their presentation. They also make a great coffee, but when you drink it onsite, it comes in an individual carafe that allows you a little more than a cup, making you feel like you are getting more than your money's worth.
My new love, however, is Velo by Colectivo. That French roast flavor bursts into your senses as you raise the cup to your lips, savoring every scent it delivers.
All of these shops are very community involved, and I would not put one above the others, as I haven’t had the time to explore all the flavors they have to offer and I am no connoisseur – as I will always migrate to Medaglia d’Oro and diner coffee when it’s available. But the rest of you Milwaukeeans, keep drinking some of the country's best coffee.
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