Tucked away in Stroudsburg, Pa, is a coffee shop that makes their pastries in the back, plays vinyl through speakers inside and outside, and makes great coffee in a comfortable atmosphere. So many of you know I love coffee, I also love Starbucks but it’s because I have been drinking coffee since I was like 12 and my parents like their coffee roasts a bit darker so I like my coffee roasts a bit darker which is why I like Starbucks. I love Starbucks because darker roasted coffee is like crack and for those of you who either only drink Starbucks or smoke the occasional rock, you know it’s fucking addictive. Did I just make a joke about crack addiction and coffee addiction? Yes, I did.
Moving on, my best friend, Nalin, lives up Mt. Pocono and because of our crazy schedules of school and work we don’t really get time to visit each other unless he comes back to Atlantic City (where I’m from, yes the casino place) to visit for a few days. Last weekend I had the chance to finally go visit him. After a night of a few drinks at the bar, he took me to this place out in Stroudsburg, a few minutes from where he goes to school. After reading on of my earlier posts about
Moving on, my best friend, Nalin, lives up Mt. Pocono and because of our crazy schedules of school and work we don’t really get time to visit each other unless he comes back to Atlantic City (where I’m from, yes the casino place) to visit for a few days. Last weekend I had the chance to finally go visit him. After a night of a few drinks at the bar, he took me to this place out in Stroudsburg, a few minutes from where he goes to school. After reading on of my earlier posts about Passenger’s Cold Brew he suggested we take a drive and grab an espresso there. I agree and tried my best to stay within the speed limit to follow him there.
After what I know realize is the long way to get there, we arrived in Stroudsburg. the town itself is very quaint. As a resident of Lancaster, Pa, (for school) I feel welcomed by the small town whose main avenues are lined with college bars and restaurants. Signs advertising their draft beers are still warm from the night before as we park outside Cafe Duet at 11am. Nalin explains to me that this place is very good and their espresso is to die for. When Nalin tells me something is good, I almost always believe him because he and I have a very similar palate and are foodies. Granted we come from very different backgrounds in food, me being Jewish and him being Indian, we have experienced many flavors that span many different profiles. But generally speaking, we both know good coffee. As we park our cars and walk into Cafe Duet, it feels cramped, but only because there is a small entrance area and remarkably still a line. We wait until we are able to reach the counter but from afar we begin drooling over the pastries we see being protected by glass domes. Everything looks homemade, but as someone whose home often smells of baked goods, I can tell you that when it’s too good to be true, it often isn’t true. Coffee shops with impeccable baked goods are never done by hand, they are machine-made. These pastries were homemade. I can tell because there is a randomness to the pastries that is only clear from someone who looks for patterns in their food. When you look at food, especially baked goods, it is easy to spot patterns. If something is too perfect it’s because it’s creation is automated in some way. But if something is random, there is an unspoken chaos to it that says this was created by hands, incapable of perfection, that to me is a good pastry.
By the time I reached the counter I knew I wanted the shortbread tart with apricot preserves and almonds. It was beautiful and random. Each piece had a slightly different number of almonds. The cut of each piece had different areas that crumbled and the thickness of the preserves varied depending on where you looked. It was beautiful. I ordered a double espresso. Note: it’s pronounced “es-spresso” not “ex-presso”, Nalin doesn’t know this no matter how many times I tease him about it. Instead of dripping the espresso directly into the cup, they drip into two separate shot glasses and pour each into the small espresso cup simultaneously. After that the barista lightly taps the cup on the counter. This is done to “settle” the espresso which will release the bubbles from sticking to the sides of the cup and to increase the quality of the crema. We each took our coffee and pastry outside and sat at a small metal table. The pasrty was excellent. It wasn’t too sweet and even though I’m not a fan of shortbread, it was very good and not to chalky or crumbly, it really hit the spot. The espresso in the other hand was excellent. It really was very good. No sugar, mo milk, no lemon required. This espresso was not bitter and not watery. It possessed an excellent balance of bite and rich creamy quality that great coffee should have.
I was very impressed and even though I regularly break away from Starbucks to have other brands of coffee, Starbucks is lucky that Cafe Duet is not a franchise. Coffee and sweets like this are liable to bring down an empire like Starbucks. I think it would be best for Starbucks to adopt tactics like this place, that is, to have your pastries made in-house, and make the coffee something special. Maybe not every store should be like this, but modern business need to adapt and with small coffee shops like this becoming more and more popular, who knows what coffee will look like in 10 years. Remember, it’s not rocket science, its food porn, bruh.
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