I think I’ve found some of the very best chocolate chip cookies in New York! Sure, sure, I hear you saying…everyone thinks they know where to get the best choc-chip fix in the Big Apple. But wait! Before you poo-poo my presumptive proclamation, you HAVE, no MUST, try the cookies at Culture Espresso over on West 38th St. Oh and it goes without saying, that with a name like Culture Espresso, the coffee is a must do too.
Culture Espresso is an independently and locally owned café whose focus is on the coffee, and damn good coffee at that. While they often feature guest roasters, their current roast of choice is Heart Coffee Roasters based in Portland, Oregon.
The café’s space is warm, open, and relaxed, with a mix of elegance and industry in the décor. The communal tables make for great people watching, as the continuous flow of customers circulate throughout.
Stepping up to the counter and trying to decide whether to go big or go home, we decide to go big and get their famous meltingly delicious chocolate chip cookie and a Cortado. If you’ve never ordered a Cortado before, don’t worry, you’re not alone! For the uninitiated, a Cortado is espresso that is cut with a small amount of warm milk. For the Aussies out there, it’s most similar to our Piccolo Latte. Today’s blend was a 50/50 of Columbian and Ethiopian, known as the Stereo Blend. With a robust flavour profile, the aptly named Stereo Blend pulls notes of chocolate and black currant that is never lo-fi mono and plays out with no bitterness on the tongue.
So, the cookie…that’s how I hooked you into this review! Pausing from the bliss of the Cortado, it’s time to play tug-of-war with the freshly baked chocolate chip cookie. Unfortunately, Coco & Viner Sonia also wants some of my chocolate treasure and as much as I consider taking flight with MY cookie, I relent, and we begin to pull apart the oven soft sensation. This cookie literally came directly from the oven to our plate and if you think you’ve smelt the best cookie at home in your mother’s kitchen, you’re wrong! Despite being insanely good in general, this cookie has a unique, almost crispy shell that protects the slowly melting, huge chunks of chocolate in the moist centre. I’ll spare you the gory details of the drawn and quartering the poor cookie had to endure in its final moments as we fought over scraps, but suffice to say, do not share this with your S.O. (significant other, for those not hip to reddit shorthand ;-)) or they may not be that for long!
Culture Espresso does what every successful café has figured out; focus on really good coffee and a simple food offering that pairs perfectly. Don’t complicate things for your customers and they won’t complicate things for you. We’ll be back to Culture Espresso very soon and so should you.