I can’t think of a city that doesn’t have hundreds of coffee shops, many of them charming and tempting and whose patrons will testify that the coffee served therein is ‘the best’. I doubt it. How great can a cappuccino be, anyway?
My friends and I try to dig deeper, to support actual independent operators who might have only one or two shops. The problem is, operators dream of having dozens of shops, and do so.
In my neighbourhood, much was made of the announcement that Blue Bottle, a coffee shop begun in Portland, is opening a shop only two doors from another, Joe, which has become a NYC darling but which appears poised to make a bigger splash, as it turns out that Joe’s now has more than 17 locations in New York, and in no way qualifies as a ‘hidden treasure’, only as another Starbucks.
Further, it turns out Blue Bottle is owned by Nestlé. Yes, the company that owns more than 2,000 brands including KitKat, Carnation, Purina, Pellegrino, Maggi, Nescafé, Shredded Wheat, and even sells water. I am neither surprised nor amused.
So, I go to my neighbourhood local, Gourmet Food — the owner has only one location — buy either a hot coffee or an iced coffee for around $1.85, put on a wide brimmed hat and sit at one of his outdoor tables to observe the world. The coffee is fine, the price is right and actually, there is not a better outdoor location on Columbus Avenue, in my opinion.