As the long summer afternoons drag on, we could all use a quick pick-me-up -- not those sugary, chemical-ridden energy drinks, but rather good old-fashioned coffee. Chances are your local coffee shop is like a second home -- special mugs, chatty baristas and free wifi; it's likely you've grown quite attached. But if you're searching for a new spot to get your caffeine fix or simply looking for a friendly shop with an outlet to plug in your laptop, Gut Check is here to offer up a few suggestions.
Sump Coffee (3700 South Jefferson Avenue; 917-412-5670)
Sump Coffee treats coffee like a sculptor handles a chunk of clay -- patient, calculated movements that result in a veritable work of art. So, yeah, this is not the place for a quick pit stop, or venti cappuccinos or lattes. Head barista Scott Carey carefully approaches each drink with the utmost care. For example, he'll brew El Salvadoran coffee roasted by Chicago's Intelligentsia using a Chemex (glass) brewer, while, on the other hand, he'll brew a Panamanian coffee from the same source in a ceramic Beehive coffee dripper. We didn't really follow that, either, but the end result is there for the tasting: rich flavor and a powerful rush of caffeine. See also: - Warning -- These Photos May Contain Caffeine! - Best Coffeehouse - 2012
Coffee Cartel (2 Maryland Plaza; 314-454-0000)
Show up at Coffee Cartel on a Tuesday night at 2 a.m., and you're likely to find college students cramming for finals, insomniacs drinking their fifth cup of coffee and late-night partygoers sobering up. The Cartel is blessedly open 24/7, and is therefore one of the CWE's premier people-watching sites. A major plus is that the Cartel is happy to spike your coffee to warm you up on a cold night, or to make your afternoon a bit more interesting.
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