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Black Gold

There’s a coffee shop on every corner. But who really pours the best cup o’ joe? We sent a dining critic with a mild coffee addiction to sample the regular daily brew from each of the city’s most prolific purveyors.

There’s a coffee shop on every corner. But who really pours the best cup o’ joe? We sent a dining critic with a mild coffee addiction to sample the regular daily brew from each of the city’s most prolific purveyors.



Intelligentsia
La Perla de Oaxaca, $1.50
Description: Aromas of melon and pear. Medium-bodied and complex with flavors of milk chocolate, nuts, and apples. Verdict: This enlightened and interesting brew offers pure pleasure to those who take coffee seriously.


Caribou Coffee Guatemala roast, $1.50
Description:
Hazelnut aroma. Light, with a flinty, mineral texture and a hint of orange. Flat finish. Verdict: The coffee is nothing special, but the lines are shorter than Starbucks’.


Julius Meinl Vienna house blend, $1.50
Description:
Caramel on the nose and a thin, slightly sweet milk chocolate flavor. Very little finish, but fills out with cream. Verdict: If it’s good coffee you seek, go with the espresso.
Starbucks Yukon roast, $1.50
Description:
Cinnamon aroma, maple and blackened salmon on the palate, moderate acidity. Verdict: Your cash would be better spent elsewhere, but try telling that to office drones who queue up for their daily fix.

Dunkin’ Donuts Original blend, $1.24
Description:
Weakly brewed. Mulled cider on the nose. Flavor of sugar and nutmeg with little acidity. A smooth finish. Verdict: Barely decent enough to wash down a freshly baked cruller.
Café Descartes Dark roast, $1.35
Description:
Scent of burnt sugar. Light and slightly sweet, with cinnamon and orange flavors. Low in acid. Verdict: Handily trumps the national chains’.

Metropolis Coffee Company Samba blend, $1.50
Description:
Nutty, with a hint of peppermint on the nose. Low in acid, lively flavor of rosewater and fresh herbs. Verdict: Complex enough to win over even the pickiest of customers.
Lavazza Granfiltro House Blend, $1.50
Description:
Full-bodied and strongly brewed. Aroma of dark chocolate and orange. Gingersnaps and toasted walnuts on the palate. Verdict: An international chain with top-tier coffee-who’d have thought it possible?
 

 

McDonald’s Premium Roast, $1.10
Description:
Hazelnut and floral on the nose. Very weakly brewed; tastes like watery soil. Verdict: Too much water and time spent lingering in the pot keep this cup from achieving its “premium” potential.

Photography: Grant Kessler

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