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Mar 22, 2002 09:34 PM

What's with the coffee at Cafe Gitane? Help me out.

  • j

Pardon my naïveté, but I just can't figure out what's with the coffee at Cafe Gitane. It's so delicious! I've only had their Americano, but it's not like any other I've had. An Americano, if I'm not mistaken, usually contains equal portions of espresso and water. Yet Gitane's Americano is vastly more textured and less voluminous than the norm. What's up? I'm familiar with Turkish coffe, French press, etc. but can't figure out how they make it. And I'd love to hear what if anything people know about their blend. And just how uncouth am I for dropping that cute little morsel of Belgian chocolate into my coffee for a makeshift mocha? :)


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  1. Unfortunately I don't have an answer to your question, but I am also curious to hear if anyone else knows what's the secret.

    It's always great to identify a place that serves great coffee. There are few places that do.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Maria

      I order Americano's a lot from takeout places and it's never equal parts espresso to water. Usually one shot of espresso to 6 ounces of water is more like it. It's great to hear about ANYPLACE in NY with good coffee so thanks so much for the tip!


      1. re: Iron frank
        Josh Glasstetter

        btw, Cafe Gitane is located at 242 Mott Street in Nolita.

        also, even if Gitane's Americano contains less water than I thought was normal, it still has a texture and richness atypical of all the espresso I've ever encountered (let alone a slightly watered-down version). could this be an Italian speciality?

        well, hopefully someone who's had the coffee will read this, but if you happen to drop by Gitane please get back to me :)


        1. re: Josh Glasstetter

          Is Gitane a place you can sit and just have a cup of coffee at night or is it a food place that has great coffee. I'd like to sit and have a cup around 9 tommorow night if they allow such small orders.


          1. re: iron frank

            I've long been a fan of Cafe Gitane's coffee drinks. There Cafe Au Lait is awesome. If you drank a Starbucks latte next to theirs in a taste test , you'd walk back to St*rbucks and ask for your money back. They have food there as well, at 9am your fine to get a coffee, I'm sure. You can also get it to go anytime. I'm a fan of their food as well. I was there last night and had the Roasted Chicken Sandwich. It served on some real crunchy French Bread ( I mean how many soft rolls can a new yorker eat? ) with a spicy mayonnaise,shaved Parmesan and tomatoes.

            1. re: iron frank
              anita cocktail

              only if you smoke numerous Galoise cigarettes one after the other.
              seriously, tho. there is a teeny bar that you can sit at and drink coffee without guilt.

      2. o
        Owen O'Neill

        I'm a self-confessed coffee freak and amazed at how much bad coffee is served in NYC - even at pricey restaurants and in places that supposedly specialize in coffee drinks (not even referring to Starbucks - let's not go there!). The answer is likely to be a combination of top quality fresh beans and a barista who really knows how to draw a good shot. It's an art form - factors including fineness of grind (which may need ot be varied at different times of day depending on batch of beans, ambient humidity etc.), freshness of beans, amount of tamping pressure (30 lbs), amounts of grounds used (14 grams for a double shot), amount of water (1 to 1/4 oz for regular shot and 3/4 oz for a ristretto) and brewing time (total elapsed of 25-26 seconds for a double shot). I have experimented with many brands and blends at home and out at cafes - the Illy brand is the best I've found that's available and widespread but few cafes choose to use it because it is pricey (e.g. 8.8 oz can of beans for home use is $11.00). The best cafes in North Beach San Franciso (where espresso is widfespread and highly regarded) use Illy and in Italy it is considered by many to be the "gold standard" of espresso. It's quite possible that Gitane uses these beans. If not then they may be using either the Perugia blend from Caffe Torrefazione in Seattle or beans from Cafe Vivace (also in Seattle). The latter two IMHO offer the best beans easily available by mail order in the US and better than anything I've tried from east coast vendors. Great beans are likely available on the east coast and if any of you have suggestions please advise... I'd love to try them out. If you really want to dive into this stuff headlong... check out