It is the start of a new series. Our millennial culture is obsessed with coffee and coffee culture—from the shops to the roasting of the coffee and everything in between—we love it all. Each week we share a cup and a moment with a master of the coffee culture. This week we begin our series with New York City based photographer and coffee lover Paige Denkin.
We must begin by having a collective moment of silence in memory of Ost Coffee in the East Village. May its memory and marble floors live on forever.
What/Where is your favorite coffee shop: My favorite small chain is Blue Bottle, their espresso is addictive. But my favorite local shop is currently Ludlow Coffee Supply. Great coffee and atmosphere which is important to me.
What camera do you usually shoot with: My Fuji xt1 is my go to walk around camera. I love the color from the Fuji sensors and the wifi capability is a life saver for social media. Plus it's lightweight and portable for walking around NYC, and gotta love the rangefinder ergonomics of the Fuji lineup.
What is your favorite drink: Dirty chai, hands down. And at least two shots of espresso, I won't get out of bed for anything less. Perfect balance of robust earthy espresso and sweet/spicy chai flavoring. If it's not available on the menu, a good strong latte is my next choice. The vanilla bourbon latte at Ludlow is on point.
What do you love about coffee culture: I live in a very chaotic city and my early morning coffee stop is necessary for me to not only gain consciousness for the day, but to sit down and have a moment to myself, sans distractions from my home. I can organize my thoughts and enjoy the soft morning light during the uncommon slow New York morning moments. I crave it.
Please give us a coffee shop photo tip: morning window light is your best friend. I have difficulties balancing the tungsten lighting common is cafes, and the beautiful natural light. I tend to sit and stage all my images next to windows, but those tend to be the first seats to go. I've been known to wait outside a coffee shop before they open to secure the best spot. And my favorite general tip to give.. watch your corners! If you cut off objects, make it intentional or your viewer will get stuck in the tension spots. It can ruin your whole image.
What city has the best coffee: I'm biased to New York, it's where I do most of my coffee exploration. I've had some great cups in LA from places like Black Top or Verve and my favorite southern spot.. Bandit Coffee Co in St. Petersburg, FL. But the little NY gems are still closest to my heart.
What makes a good coffee shop: Step one, good coffee and educated baristas. There's nothing worse than a bitter espresso and an even more bitter barista. Rude workers are my biggest turn off, even if the cafe has perfect natural light... which is step two for a great shop: the atmosphere. Must be inviting with multiple places to sit by window light. Doesn't hurt to have well designed and complimentary tables, cups, saucers, plants, textured walls and flooring. The more elements I can create with, the better chance I'll be back to try more. Concrete floors are my favorite, the texture and the drop off from the light hitting the table tops always make for perfectly moody images.