Coffee & Tea

Manhattan Starbucks

The best cheap, NON-Starbucks latte in lower Manhattan

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The best cheap, NON-Starbucks latte in lower Manhattan

Robyn | Jan 29, 2002 11:44 AM

If you work downtown, you simply must try this latte. Now normally I'm not a big coffee drinker, don't derive a boost to my self-esteem by parading a $4.65 white orange chocolate mocha venti with whipped cream (or whatever the hell) around.

It's just that sometimes, I simply want something a little heartier than coffee, perhaps as a mid afternoon snack.

Now for some time I've sadly realized that the only coffee sellers that can compete with Starbucks are those that have some other revenue generator -- like a bakery, or a supermarket, etc. Any straight-up coffee shop will usually fall behind monetarily to big, bad, aggregated-sourcing Starbucks because of its cheaper cost figures, period the end. A sad truth! And generally supermarkets and bakeries don't want to devote the resources to having a legit coffee station.

All this has changed with the opening of the gourmet grocery store Zeytuna, at John & William. To get your delicious $2 latte: go downstairs (they make one upstairs too, but it wasn't quite as mouth-droppingly delicious because it wasn't made by this one guy) during lunchtime, and make sure Mucahit is working (he's there until maybe 3pm). The "c" is like a "j," so it's really pronounced Mujahit. This is a Turkish-owned market, so if you throw him a merhaba (MER-habah --it means "hello") you'll get a smile! The Turks who work here mostly came to the US with nothing, and you simply have to root for these people.

Mucahit makes the best freaking latte around. It's also pleasantly cheap, and he'll custom (decaf, nonfat, whatever) it to your needs. [The rest of the salad bar down there is beautiful, too by the way.] Somehow the latte is hotter than most -- in this generating-internal-heat-for-a-half-hour way, too. It stays hot for a long, long time, but is always drinkable (he must steam the milk in some special way -- I have no idea, but I love it). And it gives me great joy to be able to step back outside, be 40 yards from a Starbucks across the street, and know I've paid half the price for a latte three times as good!!

ENJOY -- And tell him Robyn sent you!

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