by Bryan

As I sit at my office, foot jittering up and down on my knee, I got to wondering: how much coffee does one city block’s worth of workers and residents drink in a single morning? It’s got to be a lot, especially around here. We do not suffer from a lack of choices. In fact, we have the coffee chain. I discussed this with a friend the other night, and now I bring it to the world.

The first link on the coffee chain is the coffee within the office. We always have a warm pot going, just in case there’s some visitor who might desire a cup or an employee who doesn’t feel like leaving the building/spending money for their caffeine fix. The abject horrendousness of this daily brew is mitigated by the hazelnut and french vanilla creamers we stock by the hundreds; without these delightful little devils, the Folgers or whatever it is would only be fit for weed control, paint removal or lawnmower fuel. The most disturbing part of this brew is that at the bottom of every cup there’s a grainy residue: the grounds have bounced around in their foil packaging long enough that they are small enough to regularly sneak through the filter. You are quite literally drinking dirt at the end. So I try to stay away from this stuff. But it being free and all, I don’t always succeed.

If the work coffee doesn’t do it for you, there’s the deli across 30th street.

The deli is not one of these New York “delis” that are really glorified bodegas. This is an honest-to-God Midtown deli, with hot and cold food buffets, a sushi bar, make-your-own salad station and everything, and the coffee does the place justice. It’s $1 for a small cup a quarter more for a slightly bigger one, and there are all sorts of flavors, from regular (which sometimes I choose) to vanilla creme (often) to french roast (more often) to chocolate raspberry twirl (zero percent). This is the default option: it’s good enough and cheap enough to work in most situations, and paying with an even dollar is always a plus. I’m having the vanilla creme right now. It is delicious. The establishment — named Au Bon Goût — also has an iced coffee bar, whereupon you make your own takeaway cup of the beverage, an idea which puts mere iced coffee slingers to shame.

But suppose you want more! Across 31st Street is Dunkin’ Donuts. I think the best thing I can say about Dunkin’ Donuts coffee — to add to the long list of plaudits sang by pretty much everyone — is that it’s fucking awesome.

Which leads us, at long last… to the Starbucks. Located a daunting block and a half away, it is the third best tasting coffee available (beating only the office pot) and the most expensive. But Holy Shit, does it do the trick. All the other brands give me a coffee buzz. Starbucks gives me a life buzz. And I get the smallest one. There’s really no way to describe it, or no need to, as everyone reading has downed some whether they liked it or not. They could slap an age limit on that stuff and I wouldn’t even blink. It could probably use one.