Full disclosure: I’m a coffee purist. I’ve weaned myself off sugar (in my coffee. On the side, completely different story). I don’t like flavorings or sprinkles. I don’t want my drink to resemble a unicorn or to be drizzled with a salted-caramel syrup. I just want a good, strong cup of coffee. (If this is your thing, I completely understand, but I’m just forewarning you, this might not be your spot. The craziest thing I saw on the menu was a mocha.)
When it comes to coffee shops I have a test. Can they make a cappuccino. Just a plain, regular ol’ cappuccino. Shot of espresso, foamed milk, maybe a dash of cocoa powder, or cinnamon. Bonus points if you can make one of those little pictures in the foam.
It may sound simple but, it’s not an easy test. Most places fail. So much so, I don’t even bother ordering it.
Ok, now that we are on the same page, I can tell you a little more about my experience at Gryphon. I first came by last weekend. It was the afternoon and it was hot so naturally, I got an iced coffee. It was on nitro. It was good, but I don’t need all that, a properly chilled drip coffee is fine by me.
I was going to note the decor, (white, beige and black, exposed brick wall, surprisingly roomy) and call it a day, but then I glanced at the peg board menu board. There were no mochaccinos or frappuccinos, and I thought, am I really giving them a fair chance? So I came back for a cappuccino. And I brought my computer because is it really a true cafe experience if you’re not drinking your artisan coffee while typing away with headphones on?
“Two and half, three weeks? It’s gone fast.”
-Barista on the first few weeks at Gryphon
I ordered my cappuccino and logged onto the wireless and listened to coffeehouse chatter – “How long have you been open?” “Two and half, three weeks?” “It’s gone fast.” – while I waited for the ground espresso beans to be pounded down, and slotted into the fancy la Marzocco espresso maker. I watched as the milk was expertly steamed and the final product was delivered to my small blond cafe table.
A little blue cup was dropped by the table. Promising start. The milk looked creamy and was sitting appropriately on top. There was no leaf picture in the foam. (Sad face.) There was however, cocoa powder on the coffee bar so I grabbed myself a dash and sat down to enjoy.
I have been disappointed so often, I have banished cappuccinos from my coffee repertoire. It’s nice to know I can now add them back. Well, worth a try if you need a pick me up while wondering down Gay Street.
Things you should know about Gryphon:
- All their espressos are a double shot.
- The wifi password is espresso
- In addition to traditional coffee offerings (tea, hot chocolate and lemonade) they serve pastries and assorted sandwiches.
- Drink prices are not listed. So you’ll either have to ask or keep your fingers-crossed you brought enough cash. Both my cappuccino and small iced coffee were in the $3.50 range.
Also, after taking the leap with Gryphon, I’m wondering if I’ve been completely fair with other West Chester coffeehouses? Almost, certainly confirming I have not, I found this at Spoon University: These 4 West Chester Coffee Shops are Worth Cheating on Starbucks With.
Let’s just tack these onto the West Chester restaurants I need to try.
Plus, a scenic route to get you there.