Coffeehouse Highlight: Legal Beans

For my first Coffeehouse Highlight, I venture out of mainstream Manhattan and into nearby Hoboken – a quick 10 minute PATH ride. Only about a 3 block walk from there, Legal Beans is close enough to the main drag to be convenient, but far enough to provide a quiet anonymity. Laid back and comfortable, this corner coffee shop is a popular brunch spot in Hoboken. Get there before 11 on Saturdays and Sundays if you don’t want to wait for a table, and in the Spring/Summer enjoy outdoor seating. The service is good and the food even better. As for the coffee – an array of choices, my favorite being the café con leche. And while you can get yours to go, I prefer to sit and enjoy mine in one of their large coffee mugs – a bonus since many coffee shops only serve in disposables. The interior decor – think hippie tapestries for curtains – lends to a mellow, laid back mood.  If you’re looking for a weekend brunch or just a good cup of joe with your morning paper, Legal Beans has the service and atmosphere you’re looking for.

Mocha Javalanche

Growing up in a deeply religious family, I was not allowed to drink coffee (shocking, I know).  Most kids leave home and go wild with partying – I left home and went wild on java.  All I had ever heard was that coffee was an acquired taste, so imagine my elation when the first coffee I ever tasted was a Java City Mocha Javalanche – pure bliss!  I was hooked after one sip, and can honestly say that I have yet to find a comparable blended mocha beverage – let me know if you disagree.  Unfortunately, I have yet to find a Java City location outside of California that is not associated with a college campus, so I may be sneaking onto the NYU campus for my afternoon mocha fix!

New Year Coffee

So I made 2 New Year’s Resolutions this month – 1) shave my legs more often (probably TMI, but don’t judge me – 6 AM is not a good time to be holding a razor….), and 2) go to one new local coffee shop each month.  Don’t get me wrong – I do love a Starbucks and since they are on practically every street corner in NYC, they are easy to hit on the run.  But when I just want to go enjoy a cup of coffee, nothing beats a hole-in-the-wall coffeehouse.  There is definitely a different feel, an ambiance in the local shops that makes it not just about a quick cup of coffee to get you going, but about a whole social experience – the sitting and relaxing, enjoying the taste and smell.  It’s the appreciation of the atmosphere that separates a coffee drinker and a coffee lover.  Stay tuned for my first Coffeehouse Highlight!

Coffee 101

I’m not gonna lie – I LOVE to tell people something they don’t know, and any opportunity to incorporate coffee I just can’t turn down.  My most recent student was a friend who is also an avid coffee drinker, but like many java-lovers was unaware of this often unknown fact:  darker roasts actually have LESS caffeine than lighter roasts.  The reason? – darker coffee is roasted longer, hence the stronger flavor but thereby destroying some of the caffeine from being exposed to high heat for longer periods of time.  This is why morning brews are typically lighter – more caffeine to wake you up.  Dessert, or ‘after dinner’, coffees are darker with more flavor and less caffeine.  I always feel super smart when explaining this to someone because most often people assume the opposite.  Coffee 101 complete!

Coffee Me Happy

Coffee makes me happy.  Coffee makes me so happy that whenever I’m on the verge of tears, my husband offers to buy me a Starbucks (no joke) – which may sound like no huge feat but if you ever heard him go off about the “corporate coffee scheme” then you would know what a big deal this is.  So what better way to start the morning then with a big, hot cup of happy.  There is a Starbucks in the building where I work and I can smell the lovely aroma as I walk in every morning.  So you can imagine my utter distaste with my company’s AWFUL coffee.  No – not just awful but truly appalling, and while I do love a Starbucks, it can do damage to the wallet.  So, I came back from the holidays with a new resolve – why should I be unhappy every morning because of bad coffee?  I shouldn’t – but I also shouldn’t go into financial doom from buying coffee every morning…and maybe some afternoons.  So I went to my local Target and purchased a spiffy little Black and Decker 5 cup stainless steel coffee maker for only $25 that is perfect for office use – talk about true happiness!