koffie / kaffe / kaffi / kahve

Damn That's Rye has been kitchen-less all summer. I mean, if we're going to take complete advantage of the resources at our disposal while traveling, I did have a kitchen for the two weeks I was cat-sitting in Paris, and my host's kitchen in Copenhagen was very Kinfolk, but I found myself out, wandering, tasting, the sweet and bittersweet of errancy and solitude. In fact, that's more or less my status still though I'm back in Brooklyn, but the dust is settling from my trek and I can now look back at what I tasted.

I tasted a lot of coffee.

Not so much in Paris. (A moment please: Paris. You do wine and chocolate so well. How is it possible that the coffee was always so sad? So bitter? But a suspension of dark silt in a tiny cup?) Granted, there have been some coffee places in Paris that have been getting press and accolades from third-wave, but the vast majority of what's close and available on any given rue is middling. (I would later write a long letter to my sister in which I said that prior to my visit I had been contemplating looking for work as a translator in Paris, but have since reconsidered. It turns out coffee is more important to me that even I was willing to admit.)

Café Zouk - Amsterdam

I was going to try Screaming Beans, but I took a wrong turn (in the preliminaries, you know, making sure that the location I'd choose was actually open... it was not) and so I settled at a sunny table at a place two steps away. This iced latte was sweetened with a very floral simple syrup, and the milk float was so grassy-fresh, it was perhaps the most euphoric iced latte I've ever had. And let's be clear: this was a simple spot, but it easily made up for what Paris had imposed upon my palate for two months. (I'm sorry Paris. But seriously.)

The Coffee Collective - Copenhagen

Overall, Copenhagen was too good to be true. I've made a solemn vow to return for noma, my budget at this point meant my meals were more food-truck variety (which, in Copenhagen, means braised pork shoulder and fresh crab cakes...) but I found myself here, at the Coffee Collective, several times, at their location in Torvehallarne. Look at that foam! It's like a heavy cloud over a sea refracting a golden sunset! And I can't get too technical because the shop was very busy, and I was but one in a line of twenty, but I do know that their philosophy is one that I can get behind, "Ultimately, our dream is for a coffee farmer in Kenya to obtain the same status and living conditions as a wine grower in France."


How dare I follow a latte from The Coffee Collective with airplane coffee?

(Maybe I just photographed willy nilly. Maybe I didn't actually have a chance to taste the coffee in Reykjavik. Maybe, when I asked the stewardess for coffee, I didn't expect it to be so tasty. Nor did I expect the creamer to really be cream. Maybe this just owned every other coffee I've had on an airplane ever.)

The cup included a little lesson in Icelandic. And the twisted donut tasted like a less-sweet, less crumbly, Little Debbie. I may or may not try to recreate this twisted donut when I have my own kitchen again.

Little Rascal - New York City

Pictured here is my future, and I'll let those who have a knack for reading cups to have their hand at it. What Idil told me will remain my secret. 

Turkish coffee is so bitter that it feels more like dragging on a homemade cigarette. The sediment at the bottom had me remembering Paris, except Turkish coffee is much more aromatic. The grind, as anyone whose purchased Turkish coffee can attest, is about as fine as they come. I added sugar. I wonder if that affected my reading. 

I like my coffee:

Darker. I like the roast to be a slow revolution towards toast. When I worked as a barista, I'd dress my espresso with a lemon rind. To fill it out, if it's standing in for breakfast, which yes, happens often, I'll cut it with goat's milk. If I have time to press it with other flavors: cardamon, orange rind, and cinnamon are the first things I reach for.

Stick close: I'll have a coffee log for Bushwick soon. But first, a song for Copenhagen.


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