Blog, New York City
•on April 5th, 2011
I’ve been a freelancer in some capacity for years, and in that time, I’ve realized a few things. First, it’s impossible to be productive at home, especially since I live in New York. Between a tiny apartment and a ridiculously needy cat, I have to leave the apartment if I want to do any work at all. Second, editing — especially if it’s of the foreign-policy or science-intensive variety — can be tiring, so caffeine is a must. Both situations led me to become somewhat of an expert on Manhattan’s freelance-friendly coffee shops.
I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorites, along with their locations, for anyone else looking for a caffeine fix while they work. Let me know if you think of anything I missed; I’m always looking for a new place to chill and work. read more
•on January 12th, 2011
My friend Helen works at Starbucks, which means that I’m often the lucky recipient of free bags of coffee and off-season merchandise. On Sunday, I went to meet her as her work shift ended so we could spend the day shopping and eating at the world’s best vegetarian restaurant. Before I arrived, she sent me the following message:
Come a few minutes early if you can and try the Clover machine. I will make you the most expensive coffee we have, and it didn’t come out of a monkey’s butt.
(Yes, the world’s reportedly best coffee did, in fact, come from monkey poo.)
As soon as I arrived at Starbucks, Helen whipped me up some of this fancy-pants coffee, which is brewed to order by the cup. According to the Starbucks website, this amazing beverage is made using the Clover system, which vacuum-presses the coffee, brews it in a temperature-controlled chamber, and then filters it. A fun little cake of the grounds is pushed out of the top, and the coffee is ready to drink.
I’m not usually a coffee snob. I love coffee, but I will drink a fair-trade organic dark roast alongside your standard Dunkin’ Donuts brew. As long as it has caffeine, I’m pretty much happy.
This, however, was damn good coffee. It was strong without being bitter and flavorful without being too much. I would have to say that it really might be the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had. And for about $5 a cup, it better be.
•on January 4th, 2011
Once upon a time, I was a smoker. I loved smoking — I loved taking smoke breaks, I loved the taste of it, and I loved the smell of it. I also hated smoking — it was expensive, it made my hair and clothes stink, and it wasn’t healthy. Finally, I quit.
I took up crocheting to deal with my fidgety fingers and took crochet breaks instead of smoke breaks. I sucked on lollipops and chewed gum. I was OK. I missed smoking and craved nicotine, but it didn’t really get in the way of my life. Oh, but the headaches. The quitting-smoking headache is the kind that always lingers in the background, one that gets in the way of reading and doesn’t go away with aspirin. One that makes you a total hosebeast.
Then I discovered that caffeine helped with that. I hated coffee, so I started consuming crazy amounts of diet soda to help. I consumed so much aspartame, I would be surprised if my firstborn child didn’t come out with some form of birth defect. At one point, I was up to six cans of Diet Coke/Diet Dr Pepper a day.
This summer, I decided to give up diet soda. The idea of consuming that much artificial sweetener a day started to freak me out, and I knew it couldn’t be healthy. I replaced my Diet Cokes with coffee — either iced or hot, depending on the weather — which I’d trained myself to like, and even love, throughout the years.
And now I’m hooked. I get a headache if I don’t have a cup of coffee within two hours of waking up. I love the smell of coffee and can distinguish different blends by their taste. I have strong opinions on who makes the best lattes and who has the best drip, and I paid $60 recently to have several bags of my favorite coffee (from Alpena’s Hubbard Lake Coffee Roasters) shipped to my house.
It’s a problem. But if I look back to the source — cigarettes — I have to say it’s a much better addiction, and one I’m certainly not ready to give up.