Sitting there, I couldn’t help but wonder how long this cafe could manage to keep selling coffee at $1 a cup. Granted, you’re not going to spend $2 to schlep across the greater Metropolitan area just to save a dollar off the going rate of coffee (well, I guess I just did), but a gem of a bargain like this deserves some recognition. Besides, if I new I could get $1 cups of (good) coffee in my neighborhood, I’d be all over that place like white on rice.
Of course, I should clarify that denizen of bargain food that I am, I’m not immune to the diminishing marginal quality of food the is often inversely correlated with price. The good news is that this coffee is good. Oh, did I mention that Sit and Wonder is a client of newly-New-York-roasting Stumptown?
The coffee during my visit was an Ethiopian Tula and Tega, French Pressed, and which I poured into my ceramic mug from an airpot. The coffee was a heartier, fuller-bodied cup, tending towards roasty, but still quite complicated and interesting. This coffee tasted like a watermelon creme brulee with a dash of lime; it was bright and fruity with a caramelized sugar overlay.
As I enjoyed my inexpensive cup of coffee, I sat back to take in the sights. Sit and Wonder tries a bit too hard to add ironic, hipster edges like the used book collection that decorates the front window or the Belle and Sebastian playing overhead (OK, I like Belle and Sebastian but it can trend towards the precious), which stood in stark contrast to the classic blues music I had just taken in down the street at Ortine. Overall, though, this cafe does a nice job with some dramatic touches like their enormous chalkboard displaying a minimalist coffee menu or the copious amount of dark wood and dark paint that give the place a soothing quality. Sit and Wonder has ample places to sit, especially for a New York Cafe. There’s also free wifi (ask for the code) and sell several bags of Stumptown beans for sale that were no more than a few days to a week old.
On the bar sits a little 2 group, dark red, La Marzocco from which staff pull shots of Stumptown’s Hairbender blend (unfortunately, my memory and notes don’t clarify whether it was an FB/70 or FB/80 – anyone know?). My espresso arrived in a light blue demitasse posing as one that might feel more comfortable at a cafe serving 49th Parallel. The shot was a touch thin, but was otherwise one of the better shots of hairbender I’ve had: surprisingly fruity and bright with lemon-lime burst of acidity that was potent, but nicely balanced with notes of chocolate and lemongrass. This syrupy shot was topped with a rich and creamy, if slightly bubbly, crema.
All in all, Sit and Wonder does its coffee quite well and can do so for a price that should make you happy.