A Real Eye-Opener

A Real Eye-Opener

The Wayfarer Coffee Cart (©Steve Martinek)

Lately, I have taken a great interest in food trends, much the way I imagine Anna Wintour avidly follows hemlines for Vogue. Take kale, for example: Over the past couple of years, the bitter, former plate garnish has become so ubiquitous, I'm waiting to see kale shops show up the way Starbucks does, on every other street corner. More recently, I’ve been noticing a lot of avocado toast cropping up on city restaurant menus, which I find much more interesting (and tempting) as the new "hot" food. But this week, when I was invited to taste The Wayfarer restaurant’s new “nitro cold brew’” being showcased at its coffee cart stationed directly outside the restaurant on the northwest corner of 57th Street and Sixth Avenue, I have to admit, I was stumped. Nitro cold brew? As a coffee aficionado, I had been turned on to cold brew coffee about two years ago, a process of coffee-making that extracts the flavor out of coffee beans by soaking fresh, coarsely-ground  beans in either cold or room-temperature water for a prolonged period of time. The result is a brew that leaves behind much of the bitter oils and fatty acids that can make coffee taste too strong (and also do a roiling number on your stomach). Well, now the Wayfarer is pumping nitrogen gas into the cold brew the restaurant serves, which increases the richness of the coffee, adding another layer of creaminess.

Is nitrogen-pumped cold brew coffee going to take the coffee experience to the next level, or is it just more foodie hype? Naturally, I had to find out. The Wayfarer’s nitro cold brew, sold in cool, retro, 16-ounce glass bottles for $4, really was a taste experience. I always have trouble explaining to people that I like my coffee both smooth and strong, since the words in the field of coffee seem to be at odds with one another. With the nitro cold brew, that particular combination was achieved. The coffee had a kick-you-in-your pants robust flavor, but truly silky going down. Sided with the Wayfarer’s cart warm ham-and-cheese scone, I was pretty much in Monday morning heaven (not an easy feat to achieve being that Monday morning is—well, Monday morning).

I don't know if this nitrogen cold-brew thing will become the city’s next kale, but I personally hope that it does.

» The Wayfarer Restaurant Coffee Cart, 101 W. 57th St.,212.691.0030