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30 Days, 30 Coffee Shops: 71 Irving

October 22, 2009

Day 9

I’m visiting one new coffee shop every day for a month. Mainly because I broke my coffee pot. Check out the other reasons and guidelines here. And if you have any recommendations, please let me know!

What a beautiful, useless day. It’s like spring here in NYC, so I went to work in Union Square, but they’re seeding the field. And then I found this. No one can resist a drum line with MJ wanna-bes:

By 2 pm, I’d spent the whole day looking for (not making…looking for) business cards, so I headed to 71 Irving, a staple coffee shop close to home, to do some work.

IMG_2717Trying to get a seat at 71 Irving is like throwing yourself into the middle of a cock fight. You can’t sit down on the weekends or for an hour before or after any major meal time. Which is basically all day long. I found one lone table by the door, but it was too loud to focus, and when I sprang to claim the seat of someone leaving, a man who needed to charge his phone stepped in front of me and said “Sorry, I need the outlet.” Suits don’t equal manners, for the record.

The crowds come for a reason. This is a great coffee shop. I love the bead board.  I love the low-light sconces and the delicious pastries and the Balthazar croissants and the tiny little outside tables. I even love its street, Irving Place, which is packed with ivy-clad, well-decorated townhouses. Not that I’ve spent summer evenings wandering down the block, looking for houses that have left their curtains open…awkward…

Anyway, down to business. The coffee. The owners of 71 Irving opened shop, decided no coffee was good enough, and then opened their own roasting company called Irving Farm. Which is located on a farm in Millerton, NY. Because they wanted it to taste “farm fresh.” A lot of logic has gone into those beans.

Anyone else want to know where this goes?

Anyone else want to know where this goes?

They roast on the belief that each bean has its own unique characteristics, thus deserving a customized roasting process that produces coffee that tastes, according to my friend Liz, like “heaven.” Anything other than drip costs a pretty penny, but it’s because the coffee is worth it. Plus, they serve Balthazar croissants, which ups the ante at least $.50.

Oh, and the Internet? Like most purist shops, they technically don’t have wi-fi, but you can steal from DLink. Thank you, whoever you are.

Grade: B

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