Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Good Cup of Coffee for 50 Cents!

Yesterday, I was scheduled to observe a student teacher in dance education at a high school in East Harlem. I arrived early (I always do, especially if I'm going somewhere for the first time!) and asked if there was a place to get a cup of coffee. I was directed by the school's security staff to a deli just around the corner at St. Nicholas Avenue and 135th St.

I took the fact that the shop was filled with students getting made-to-order breakfast sandwiches as a good sign, but I have been to too many places where the coffee just doesn't match up to the rest of the menu! I am particular about my coffee. I like it brewed strong. I take it light with no sugar. By the way, when I spent a few weeks in Toronto years ago, it took me a while to learn that in that lovely city, they do not serve light coffee! When I asked for it, I was told by very pleasant but obviosuly confused counterpeople, that none of their coffees was dietetic! In Toronto, they let you add the whole, 1%, 2%, skim, soy milk or half-and half yourself.

Anyway, to get back on track...I am, I think, a connoisseur of coffee. I buy whole beans from a wonderful store called the Porto Rico Importing Company (in NYC and online), grind them myself and then brew my coffee in a french press. When I'm out and about, I like Starbuck's coffee because it is strong (and since I add must start out strong!) and flavorful. I usually drink one grande latte a day, costing me $4.06 with tax. So after I ordered my large, light coffee at the deli on St. Nicholas Avenue, I started taking out some singles from my wallet. Imagine my surprise when the guy behind the counter asked me for 50 cents! Now I had to decide whether to even risk a taste. How good could it be? And bad coffee is worse than no coffee. So I popped open the tab on the plastic no-spill top and a rich, distinctive aroma wafted out (sorry, but it was poetry!). It ended up being one of the best cups of coffee I've had in a long time...and you can't beat the price!

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