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Jun 1, 2011 10:55 AM

Good Decaf?

A few months ago the Times ran a story about how some coffee places and roasters are finally paying attention to decaf and not using their worst beans. After all the decaf drinkers are the only ones you can be sure are drinking it for the taste and not the drug. That said I'm still disappointed with lots of decaf I've had around the city. I drink Americanos (usually iced) or straight espresso, not usually drip. I've been particularly disappointed at Orens and at Housing Works (admittedly not a coffee destination). I've been happier with Roasting Plant. I guess I would use Starbucks as a baseline and hope for better places (I think both Orens and Housing Works are worse). Any other decaf coffee aficionados out there want to chime in?

Roasting Plant
81 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

Housing Works Used Book Cafe
126 Crosby St, New York, NY 10012

Oren's Daily Roast
985 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10021

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  1. Give Joe: The Art of Coffee a try.

    Joe the Art of Coffee
    141 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10014

    4 Replies
    1. re: americanafan

      Today I tried an iced decaf americano from Joe at 85/Columbus. It's definitely better than Orens, but I'm not sure it's up to Roasting Plant. I found it a little sour (I think coffee should be more bitter than sour) and lacked a certain complexity. It's a small place and the seats aren't very comfortable, also the tables are tiny (my laptop took up the entire width of the table, leaving no room for my coffee). The staff are nice and friendly but not chatty. There isn't really a pleasing strong coffee aroma to the place like at Roasting Plant (it's a bit more subtle) but you can mooch free wifi from Jackson Hole across the street.

      Actually, just now a guy knocked my (mostly finished) drink off the tiny table as he brushed by, shattering it on the floor. Did I mention the tiny tables?

      I just decided to try a macchiato to cut the sourness a bit. It was still there, but there was also a pleasing very strong dark chocolate overtone and the bitterness crept back in the aftertaste.

      Joe the Art of Coffee
      514 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024

      1. re: americanafan

        My experience with Joe TAOC and their decaf is that it tastes great but has a whole lotta caffiene. Beware.

        1. re: littlejoker

          I think someone might have slipped you a mickey. I am VERY sensitive to caffeine (weak tea makes me jittery and anxious), and I always double check when they hand me my drink. Since I had no trouble after two drinks at Joe (which will sometimes hit me), I think it's pretty standard on the dose.

          1. re: mrken

            No, no Mickey just caffiene in the decaf at the 23rd St Joe both times I got it there. Never again.

      2. The Columbian Decaf at Puerto Rico Coffee is really good. I both froth it with milk for caffe latte OR brew it iced in the fridge for hot summer days :)

        Porto Rico Importing Co.
        201 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012

        1 Reply
        1. re: unionsquareyes

          I will try it when I go by, although I'm actually looking more for places I can sit for a while and work.

        2. I just found the following very comprehensive list of good coffee in the Times last year:

          Any suggestions for particularly good decaf on their list (of course they don't mention it)?

          1. Going through the NYTimes list, I tried Caffe Mocias. I found the decaf macchiato subpar. Not too acidy or bitter, but also not much flavor at all. It also looked like they spooned it straight out of a container, meaning the beans were already ground. I guess they don't attend to their decaf customers.

            Caffe Mocias
            711 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025