It would be difficult to call Abraço a coffee house, let alone a shop.  While it is about the size of a small closet, Abraço is home to the finest espresso equipment in the industry.  Don't let the stacked New York Greek take-out coffee cups, hanging aluminum pots, and scratched plexiglass display cases graffitied with the day's specials fool you: this place serves serious coffee. Underneath the hodgepodge of baking accessories are individual clay drip pots and brown sacks of Arabica beans all of which surround the space's centerpiece: the luxurious Florentine La Marzocco espresso machine accurate to 0.1 degrees Celsius.  These guys know how to pull espresso.

Abraço, New York - Double Ristretto

But, it seems as if the atmosphere is maybe a little too friendly.  Regulars are greeted with warm smiles and jokes are shouted through the front door to friends sitting on one of three makeshift benches.  The staff really does a great job making everyone feel welcome and their smiles are contagious.  But once in a while the baristi seem to lose their focus.  Despite the fancy equipment, the espresso here is  inconsistent.  During my several visits I sampled espresso ranging from flawless, with nuances of caramel, raspberry, and dark chocolate to occasionally watery, sometimes sour, and once over extracted.  When they concentrate, the espresso is equal to Ninth Street or Stumptown.  When they're focused elsewhere, it's average.

If the bar is crowded, I recommend sticking to iced coffee or drip coffee where there are less variables.  It's guaranteed to be good.  When it's empty, which doesn't happen too often, be sure to get an espresso: it can be one of the best in the city.

Note: Some comments questioned the correct names of the owners as drawn from NY Times and VIA Travel.  I have since removed them.

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