Culture Espresso Bar

What makes a coffee shop standout? What makes it become your local? I’d compare my favorite coffee shops to a close friend, you feel relaxed in their company, you can happily sit in silence and, if you haven’t dropped by in a while, there are no hard feelings, you simply pick up where you left of.

For me, there are few coffee shops in New York that truly embody all the elements.

Great coffee shops start with great coffee, the first factor to go by the wayside in New York. Second comes atmosphere, the feeling of friendliness and the comfort – you could happily sit in the corner and read your book, without disruption, for as long as you so please. Then finally, they need to offer addictive nibblies – the variety that when you walk in and see them, you just want to eat them. For example, the Sugarless Berry Scone that’s often, when they’re not sold out, on the counter-top at Joe The Art Of Coffee.

These factors are embodied in a place called Culture Espresso Bar. It’s a great coffee shop.

Culture is cosily located just off 6th Avenue on 38th st. It brings good coffee to an area that, overall, is severely lacking – Midtown. However, this coffee shop is particularly unique because they serve up what is known as a “flat white”. For non-Australians, this is most probably a foreign name. It is essentially a smooth milky drink, not dissimilar to a cappuccino, but with only a slither of micro-foam covering the surface. For me, this sip of home adds to the charm and comfort of Culture.

The Australian Flat White

The Cortado, a relatively new invention (at least to me), is another coffee they serve. The name “cortado” comes from the Spanish word “cortar”, meaning ‘cut’.  This refers to the method in which the espresso is ‘cut’ with a small amount of steamed milk to reduce the acidity. The ratio of milk to coffee is usually 1:1, however the westernized version generally tends to be a much higher ratio, thus making the drink much closer to a small latte. Often a cortado will have a small layer of micro foam over the surface in which the barista is able to create latte art.

Satisfying the third prerequisite of a great coffee shop, Culture has some yummy nibblies to mung on. I’m quite partial to the sugarless berry scones, but as they’re only available on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the bran muffins are also quite delectable!

A mango, berry bran muffin

The muffin, half-attacked

So tell me, Dear Reader, what factors make your favorite coffee shop that little bit better than all the rest?

*Disclaimer: Special thanks to the all-time Bogan, Mr. P Young, for introducing me to this coffee shop… his snooping out skills are uncanny 😉

3 Responses to “Culture Espresso Bar”
  1. Paull Young says:

    I love that you used the expression ‘mung on’

    Where’s my props for finding this joint???? 😉

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