Once, my friend Nancy—who is something of a seeker and had for years eschewed traditional medicine in favor of ever-more exotic holistic and Eastern options—got a headache. Somebody offered her a couple of aspirin, and because it was a rather bad headache, she took them. The headache went away. “And I was like, Wow,” she remembers, “Western medicine is awesome.” The story amuses me, but it also resonates: sometimes in life, the best option is the one that appears the most prosaic. And I know I’m about to embark on an imperfect analogy, but this is very much how I’m feeling lately about coffee. My new favorite stop on the morning walk is the Mudpark kiosk right off First Avenue in the East Village. You can choose from the usual array here—Cappuccinos, Cortados, Americanos, and so on—but I always order up a large cup of old-school house blend. It’s wicked strong, but in a mild way that doesn’t turn your stomach inside out.
Today, I bought some beans so I can make it myself. And—because I haven’t owned an actual coffee maker since the Nespresso machine revolutionized my life a while back, I made another old-school move and acquired a Chemex drip coffee maker, which is not only a fantastic deal, but a really nice little piece of design.