Sunday, September 18, 2011

American Museum of Natural History

Trust a museum for dinosaurs, cool space stuff and science. Not coffee.

The American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th St
Cafe on Level 2
AREA: Upper West Side

Cappuccino (Petra) - minus 1
Caffe latte (Greg) - "how low minus can we go?"

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The American Museum of Natural History has a lot of amazing things in it. There's a full, genuine skeleton of a tyrannosaurus rex. There's a lifesize model of a blue whale that hangs over people's heads. There's a planetarium that takes you on a 3D trip through the universe narrated by Whoopi Goldberg (this is better than it sounds).

What isn't so amazing however, is its coffee. If you could call it that. If you were blindfolded and handed a cup of AMNH coffee and asked to describe what it was, the most generous person might name it as a sample of soil deposit from the "Agriculture through History" exhibit on level one.

Sadly I was so emotionally disturbed by the hideousness of this so-called coffee I forgot to take a photo of it, but you might be able to get a feeling for what it was like in this photo below, which Greg took as I "enjoyed" my cappucino:

"Is it midwestern clay, low ph?"

This coffee was, to put it mildly, the worst thing I have ever let past my lips since birth. And that includes the time I ate a caterpillar when I was three.

Our biggest mistake was ordering it in the first place. Had we been paying attention and not thinking with our "Australian" brains (ie: stupidly assuming that every coffee shop actually serves coffee), we would have noticed the machine that AMNH assistant Lashawnda was using was not an espresso machine, but rather an industrial sized dripolator with buttons on the front marked CAPPUCCINO, LATTE, ESPRESSO.

If the definition of "cappuccino" is "cup of nasty brown water with foamy pond scum on the top" then Lashawnda should win the barista of the year award.

We each had two miserable sips, then decided life really was worth living after all so decided not to finish. Also, we hadn't seen the whale yet so suicide seemed a bit premature.

AMNH is currently renovating its main cafe on the lower level so perhaps coffee may improve there in the future. But I wouldn't bet on it. Take a thermos.


  1. Dear Petra,

    Thank you.
    I recently returned from a trip to regional Queensland during which I was served a latte that, while latte-like, was clearly Nescafe with foam on top.
    It was declared 'Oo, lovely!' by my Grandma and no one else.
    How this was done has remained a mystery UNTIL NOW.

    Why this was done ... well, I'll have to keep reading.

    ps. We're reviewing every single restaurant in Gouger St. In order.