By Eric Grimm
I know, I know. We’re talking about an intensely female-appealing show broadcast on the forgotten network, the CW. Bear with me. Gossip Girl, in addition to featuring the occasional spurt of clever dialogue, is dead serious about its coffee. In fact, for the time being it’s modern pop culture’s most prominent big brother figure when it comes to great coffee, at least on the east coast. Assuming the big bad hipster coffee gods have not already struck me down with lightning, allow me to continue.
I first considered the possibility of good coffee in Gossip Girl while marathoning Season Three. I felt like the city was swallowing me whole. I was eating my feelings. Twenty-two episodes of Gossip Girl seemed to be an appropriate cure. During episode six, my ears perked up when I heard Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley) say this to Olivia Burke (Hilary Duff) after purchasing coffee from a cart:
"Goodbye jet-lag, hello triple ristretto."
Hm, what was that? Did a character from a show whose primary audience is girls aged 12-18 make reference to a popular espresso brewing technique? For those unfamiliar, triple ristretto refers to a shot of espresso prepared using a triple-sized basket (usually 18-21 grams) and a restricted water flow to maximize flavor. Basically, lots of coffee, not lots of water. I ended up shrugging it off because it’s pretty unlikely that a generic coffee cart would be pulling triple ristretto shots of espresso. Was it possible, however, that the trust fund babies of Gossip Girl lived in an alternate New York where coffee was made with ideal preparation?
Further evidence of Gossip Girl’s coffee dedication came in episode sixteen when Jenny Humphrey made her morning coffee in a French Press. While French Press may not be my favorite when it comes to home brewing, it’s certainly an excellent alternative to an automatic machine. The idea that they would even use a manual method for brewing coffee in their high rise Upper East Side hotel residence was a solid indicator this show’s crew knew about awesome coffee.
I came to learn that the evidence was present throughout. The Greenwich Village coffee shop where the show’s NYU students brood, gossip, and break up seemed strangely inviting and oddly familiar. Then I noticed the logos on their cups and bags of coffee. It was an Intelligentsia! The Chicago-based roaster is one of the leading names in specialty coffee. What’s even more interesting is the fact that no such Greenwich Village Intelligentsia even exists! Further research indicates that the shop was created specifically for the show. My previous theory about an alternate New York where all coffee is awesome proves true.
So never mind your scoffing and elevated state of being. Gossip Girl has plenty of lessons to teach you. Whether it’s how to navigate the treacherous seas of teenage frenemy rivalries or what grind to use on your morning coffee, the wisdom of Manhattan’s elite can safely guide you through better living. For those of you who are entirely put off by its feminine appeal, not to worry. One of our next posts in the series will delve into the pop coffee of Dexter.
In the meantime, drop us a comment if you come across any fun pop coffee references that you want us to explore!
Eric Grimm is a barista at Everyman Espresso. He’s a contributor to the CraftCoffee Blog.
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