Tag Archives: espresso NEAT

Insider’s Look at NEAT of Westport: Part Cafe, Part Cocktail Bar, 100% Awesome

7 Jul
Uppers and downers all in one spot!

Uppers and downers all in one spot!

Espresso NEAT has built a reputation in Fairfield County as being at the top of their game.  Year after year, they’ve been awarded best cafe and best coffee, and after you’ve gone there, you can see why.  Owner Rachel Haughey and her crew pick their coffee beans with care and perform routine coffee cuppings to ensure that only the best quality coffee will be served at their Darien hotspot.  And, that quality comes through big time.  Add in their other options like tea, espresso, coffee, salads, snacks, breakfast goodies, and sandwiches, and you’ve got the perfect spot to hang out or grab a quick bite.  

So, to Rachel, it was only natural to take Espresso NEAT into the next phase of evolution by opening up a brand new restaurant that was part cafe and part cocktail bar.  The new venture, NEAT, will open up in the National Hall Campus in Westport in early August.  Working with Rachel in this venture will be owner of Experience Hospitality, Bobby Werhane, and Managing Director Kevin Daniel Lalumiere. Both Bobby and Kevin are locals, too, with Bobby coming from Westport and Kevin from Fairfield.  Kevin and Bobby unite Rachel’s expertise and cafe experience with an amazing resume of bars, restaurants, and shops.  The team at Experience Hospitality helped to bring some amazing restaurants into NYC like Spasso, dell’animaL’artusi, and Johnny Utah’s, adding an even more rounded background to the structure of NEAT.  

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Latte Art Competition and Live Music @ espresso NEAT in Darien

14 Jun

It’s officially summer in Darien when espresso NEAT opens their beautiful outdoor patio.  So, what better way to kick it off than with some live music and a contest to prove your worth?  We’re talking about Doug Allen live outside of NEAT and a latte art competition.  They’ll begin the signup for competitors on 6/20 at 6 pm and the first pour will happen at 7 pm and go until 9 pm.  Check their FB page and their site because they might be offering an online sign-up for those who can’t make 6.  Each entry costs $5, but that money will be going directly to help the victims of the devastating Oklahoma tornado.

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espresso NEAT Pouring out Awesomeness @ New Spot in Greenwich, CT

12 Nov

People, caffeine addicts, and workers of Greenwich, your day has come.  Yes, you now have your very own espresso NEAT (see our cupping post).  The award winning coffee shop that has become a go-to coffee destination for people in Darien will be open this Wednesday (11/14) at the beautifully stunning 100 West Putnam.  They are located in the lobby and will be your new spot to pick up some drinks, breakfast, lunch, and even snacks.  If you stop by before 11/14, you just might see them there going through a soft opening.  Just maybe.  ;) Here are some things that you can look forward to:

  • Ready to go coffee and food
  • High quality, amazing coffee, espresso, and tea (once you’ve had a cup, you’ll be hooked)
  • Catering of coffee and pastries for office meetings (man, wish we worked nearby)
  • Cold-pressed juices, salads, wraps and more through Green & Tonic
  • Local and artisanal baked goodies and other treats

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Cupping: It Only Sounds Dirty Here! Coffee Quality Control w/ Coffeenistas. espresso NEAT–Darien, CT

9 Apr

Rachel pouring out some H2O and setting the brew time

We are straight up coffee/espresso/caffeine addicts so we’ve been dying to hit up espresso NEAT in Darien for quite a while.  So what finally drew us in?  Well, CT Bites plugged a coffee cupping going on Saturday, 4/2/11.  So we figured, hey, it’s coffee, it’s a tasting, it’s free, what other reasons did we need really?

Insert nose and sniff

To begin, we were greeted by Rachel and Kyle’s (true coffeenistas) smiling faces. Rachel then went on to tell us what a cupping is: essentially a process meant to spot defects in coffee.  This immediately brought espresso NEAT up to a higher level of coffee consciousness because you don’t meet baristas too skilled in the art of cupping and with extensive coffee knowledge.  She then went through the order of the cupping:

1)  There were four stations with “shots” of ground coffee inside.  First you take the deepest kind of sniff, almost obnoxiously.  There was a chart on the wall to help us to pick up the “dry aromas” in the coffee as we wrote them down.

2)  Kyle then poured water in the grinds and let it steep for a few minutes.  They didn’t let it steep too long, though, because that would have brought out more acidity in the beans.

3)  We “broke the skin” of the coffee by pushing the grounds down a bit and taking in some huge whiffs.  What kind of “wet aromas” were there?  We jotted more notes.

Broken skin, ready for some sippin' and slurpin'

4)  Last of all, we took a spoon and slurped the hell out of the coffee, one station at a time.  To really get the flavor going, you needed to slosh it around in your mouth.  Not pretty, but you get more of a clear indicator of what the tastes are.  Even prettier?  We spit out the coffee into a cup when we were done so as to not spoil our taste buds.  Well, I did, but Kristien just drank it being the coffee addict she is. We looked for and wrote about the body, acidity, and tasting notes.

Here are the four coffees that were cupped:

Station 1:  Bolivia.  Caramel dry fragrance, with a flowery and caramel wet aroma.  Light body, low acidity, and caramel flavor.  Verdict:  too light for us. :)  This, though, is a great cup for people who aren’t really coffee people, per se.  It’s light, it’s flavorful, but it’s not overpowering at all.

Station 2:  Rwanda.  Susceptible to a “potato” defect that spoils the bean with a pungent potato smell.  Cupping is definitely needed here and sometimes they get rid of beans because they want to serve the best kind of quality coffee.  The dry fragrance had a smoky smell, while the wet aroma was a bit nutty and chocolatey.  This coffee had a light-medium body with low acidity.  There was a smoky taste behind the Rwanda and it had a medium aftertaste.  This was good, but still a bit too light for us.

Station 3:  Peru.  There were dry aromas of nutty and chocolatey flavors, while the wet aromas were herbal and syrupy.  This bad boy had a medium body to it with low-medium acidity.  Hints of a caramel hit our tongues as we tasted this and we enjoyed the strong aftertaste.  This was our favorite coffee bean of the day.  ;)

Station 4: Tanzania.  There was a hazlenutty, nutty, and spicy dry aroma all around while sniffing the Tanzania.  When the water was poured in, we smelt earthy, herbal, and chocolatey scents.  This was the most acidic of all the coffees with just around the same body as the Peru.  Although the aftertaste was light, big flavors of ash and chocolate swept throughout the coffee.

Afterwards we had a killer quinoa salad that made our day so bright and shiny.  So, you not only have great drinks, but also great sandwiches, snacks, bakery items, and chocolate.  Even greater?  Their food supplies come from local places, too.    Also, Kristien had a flavorful iced tea that she adored and I had a great iced coffee, full of lots of depth.  espresso NEAT is the kind of place you should go to, hang out in, and bask in its glory.  If you’re willing, there’s lots to learn about the coffee they serve there if you just ask.  Coffee shop doesn’t seem to do this place justice…coffee emporium, coffee circus, coffee bonanza?  Something like that.

espresso NEAT
Phone: (203) 202-7215
Address: 20 Grove Street
Darien, CT 06820
Hours: Monday-Saturday:  7AM to 6PM
Sunday:  8AM to 4PM
Site: http://espressoneat.com

espresso NEAT on Urbanspoon

After the leftovers expire, check out Darien Restaurant Week

16 Nov
Leftovers

So, you’ll spend next Thursday prepping the turkey, mashing the potatoes, and serving your family…you’ll be exhausted.  And somehow you’ll manage to brave the crowds at the stores on Black Friday.  You’ll deserve a break and some enjoyment.  Well, why not head to one of the many restaurants that are taking part in the 2nd Annual Darien Restaurant Week?  The post-holiday yumminess takes place from November 28th to December 3rd.  Depending on the restaurant that you check out below, you’re looking at $10.10 for lunch/$15.10 for dinner or $20.10 for lunch/$30.10 for dinner.  Small potatoes when you’d normally pay two to three times more.

This is a very good experience to try new restaurants and maybe branch out and be a bit more adventurous.  Kristien and I have been to many Stamford Restaurant Weeks and we still dream of the squid ink pasta from Columbus Park Trattoria.  Darien Restaurant Week is really such an amazing deal, you’d be insane to miss out.  I’m sure we’re going to hit a few, so stay tune for the reviews. Plus, we’re giving you a valid and economical reason to eat out and to have fun.  Don’t you deserve that during the holidays?

Prix Fixe Menus

Backstreet Restaurant (Lunch $10.10/Dinner $20.10)

Bertucci’s (Dinner $20.10, Including a Glass of Wine)

The Goose American Bistro & Bar (Lunch $15.10/Dinner $30.10)

Chuck’s Steakhouse (Dinner $20.10)

Coromandel (Lunch $10.10-15.10/Dinner $20.10)

Fuji of Japan (Lunch $10.10/Dinner $30.10.  Prix Fixe Menu on Sunday or Monday.  Lunch comes with sushi/sashimi, salad, and entree.  Also, choice of chicken teriyaki or meal from the hibachi.  Comes with soup and salad, fried rice or noodles.  Dinner has more choices of meals to be prepared on the hibachi.  Also, comes with a glass of wine and dessert!  Hostess was quite nice and inviting.  Not sure if sake bombs are extra ;)  )

Harpers (Information Available After Monday)

Little Thai Kitchen (Hostess Was Not Sure of Prices)

Matsuri (Lunch $15.10/Dinner $30.10)

The Melting Pot (Dinner $30.10)

Olé Molé (Lunch $10.10 or $15.10/Dinner $20.10 or $30.10)

Rory’s Restaurant (Lunch $10.10/Dinner $20.10)

Scena Wine Bar & Restaurant (Called, Not Available Yet)

Tengda Asian Bistro (Lunch $10.10 or $15.10/Dinner $20.10 or $30.10)

The Waters Edge at Giovanni’s (Dinner $30.10 or 25% off Wine List)

Other Darien Restaurant Specials

Darien Doughnut, espresso NEAT, Heights Pizza, Robeks Juice, Upper Crust Bagel Co. Bakery & Café

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