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December 2010

Colombia La Piramide Reserva

Direct Trade / Grand Cru

Our Reserva lot combines lots from four producers from Pedregal de Inza in the Cauca Valley: Walter Penna, Norbey Sancho, Manuel Jose Castillo and Fulgencio Volveras. These producers are members of the Asorcafe producer’s association and have withstood the propaganda to plant the inferior quality Castillo/Colombia varietals. After manual depulping these coffee beans are fermented in tanks up to 18 hours before being washed and laid to sun dry on parabolic beds. Warm baking spice fragrances lure your senses to a honey laced basket of red fruits like strawberry, red currant and watermelon that finish with notes of brown sugar.

Kenya Gichatha-ini

Gichatha-ini, a cooperatively owned factory with 897 farmer members, paid farmers the highest rate in all of Kenya in 2006. Planting shade trees and avoiding intercropping is encouraged to promote individual farm productivity. Members are educated about preserving surrounding natural sites and wildlife. After harvest, farmers deliver their cherries to the washing station where they are sorted, weighed, graded, and de-pulped. The coffee is then slowly sun dried on raised metal beds in two stages. Raspberry is the principal flavor, cloaked with notes of kiwi, cocoa, pineapple and raw sugar in a cup redolent of dried flowers.

Today, a new coffee bar opened at the Whitney Museum of American Art. It’s in the garden level of Marcel Breuer’s brutalist masterpiece, a walnut-paneled coffee cart that’s acting a place-holder until a new museum cafe will be opened by Union Square Hospitality GroupStrada, the next-generation pressure profiling espresso machine from La Marzocco. in the spring. In the meantime, you can visit the coffee bar (without paying admission) and get a cappuccino made on a

The coffee bar is a collaboration between the Union Square group and Stumptown Coffee Roasters. The Strada belongs to Stumptown (fetishists take note: it has serial number 0001, the first production model to come off the line), as does the coffee cart, which is from Portland, Ore. The beans are Hair Bender Espresso. The baristas are from Union Square and the decision to work with Stumptown was made by Kevin Richer, who is currently the general manager of the soon to depart Tabla and will be the general manager of the Whitney cafe.

“I fell in love with Stumptown two years ago,” said Mr. Richer. “The espresso has a flavor that’s almost like a fermented, dry reisling. It gives the impression of being sweet but it’s not.”

An obsession with small-batch coffee has become one of the characteristics of the restaurants in the Union Square fleet. In September, Eleven Madison Park introduced tableside coffee service using single-origin beans from Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea. Now Gramercy Tavern uses Blue Bottle Coffee, Mailiano uses Four Barrel Coffee, the Modern has a special blend from la Colombe Torrefaction and Union Square Cafe uses Dallis Bros. Coffee.

Until the cafe at the Whitney opens, all coffee will be served in paper cups – right now, there’s no place to wash dirty dishes. It’s a shame to drink such carefully crafted coffee out of paper, although you can’t knock the experience of throwing back a shot of bright, lush espresso before heading to the art upstairs.

Coffee bar at the Whitney Museum of American Art, 945 Madison Avenue (East 75th Street), no telephone. Open Wednesday and Thursday 11am to 3pm, Friday 1pm to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am to 3pm.
Closed Monday and Tuesday.

Top Ten Food Trends

Third-Wave Coffee

Conservatives who mocked Obama during the presidential election as a venti-latte-sipping elitist were far behind the curve: the real elitists would never dream of polluting themselves with the overroasted and morally questionable beans from the likes of Starbucks. A new wave of coffee importers and roasters, who are to Starbucks as Starbucks was to Maxwell House, have hit America with a jolt and might soon be coming to a neighborhood near you. They are serving single-estate, fair-trade, highly regional coffees, tasting of a particular terroir. (Stumptown, of Portland, Ore., even lists the plantation’s elevation on the bag.) Blue Bottle, Intelligentsia, Counter Culture and — most of all — Stumptown are leading the way to a new generation of red-eyed American gourmands.

A Bikes To Rwanda supporter has pledged $60,000 to Bikes To Rwanda to purchase cargo bicycles, tools, spare parts, and building materials to support our program activities in Rwanda. There are two catches though; we need to be able to raise $60,000 to match their gift dollar-for-dollar and we have to do it by December 31st, 2010. This is a tremendous opportunity for BTR to acquire the resources it needs to reach previously unserved communities in Rwanda. Help us meet the challenge and donate today!

For information on how you can donate, refer to our contribute page, or donate through Give! Guide by clicking here .


On view December 1st, 2010 – January 3rd, 2011

Opening reception First Thursday December 2nd, 6/8 pm

In Soft Knots, Britt Howard intends to explore the inchoate nature of motherhood and the necessary deliberations that occur when one’s life has become the dependent of another. Knots secure and trap, bind and hold, they are defined through context, transcribed by circumstance. Couching them in feminine textiles implores the exploration of the pieces’ maternal premise. The various uses of texture further imply Howard’s contrasting, developing, and ever pliable relationships.

Britt Howard is an artist and designer from Portland, OR. She has a husband, two kids, and is the owner of Portland Garment Factory. All aspects of her life are regarded with reverence, though she tends to find herself exasperated daily. This is her first public show.