Almack's Coffee downgrades the coffee of its predecessor

The coffee shop near the corner of Charles and Biddle had its grand opening event as Almack's Coffee back in May, although it had been "transitioning" to the new branding from its old identity of Tribeca Coffee Roasters since the end of last summer. When City Paper spoke to the new owner, John Kernan, last August, he assured us that nothing would change about the current coffee program, and that the changes would be mostly cosmetic, but with more food options. Well, turns out that the coffee offerings did change—Tribeca roasted its coffee in house, but that doesn't appear to be the case anymore. Almack's now boasts on its website, "We proudly partner with Passenger Coffees out of Lancaster, PA. Their roasting technique, while challenging to brew correctly, brings out all the intricacies of coffee." While we're glad that the beans are at least roasted semi-locally from a small business, we have to say, Almack's might not be living up to the challenge of Passenger Coffees' roasts, because the coffee is just . . . disappointing. We ordered a cold-brewed iced coffee ($3.50) and found it horribly bitter—we're usually black-coffee devotees, but this needed milk to make it palatable. We went back a few weeks later to give it another try, just to be told that the cold-brew coffee "needed another half an hour" before it would be ready. This was at 11:15 a.m. on a Saturday, and the shop had opened at 8 a.m. What the fuck? The barista told us in a blasé, unapologetic way that he could make us an iced Americano instead, which at least tasted better than how we remembered the iced coffee. (We later overheard him telling a mom that he could make her child an "iced hot chocolate"—also known as chocolate milk, dude.)

At least the honey soy latte ($4.73) that we ordered on another visit was pretty good and not too sweet, and the few sandwiches that Almack's has added to the menu are pretty enjoyable, if a bit plain: The Éclat ($7) featured a bacon-jalapeno egg salad, greens, and tomato, but the egg salad didn't have as much spice as we would have hoped, while the Beau Brummell ($8), with goat cheese, cucumber, field greens, and honey, was sweet, but not overwhelmingly so. We might go back for a latte on occasion (or hey, maybe we'll try that iced hot chocolate) but if we need a plain coffee fix, we'll probably go elsewhere in the neighborhood. (Anna Walsh)

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