Coffee: Six Degrees of Caffeination

New York City’s obsessive love affair with the perfect cup

“Some people use coffee as a drug, and some people use it as a joy,” says filmmaker and Swallow Magazine founder James Casey. “I went from being the former – needing it when I was tired or as a digestif – to learning that, more than just a beverage, it’s a culture.” Casey’s rousing film captures the frenetic pace of caffeinated New York, featuring a cast of obsessives like Jesse Kahn of roasters and educators Counter Culture, and Oliver Strand, the preeminent New York Times coffee writer, as well as more casual sippers such as Nancy Whang, formerly of LCD Soundsystem, and Mission Chinese Food’s Angela Dimayuga.

“Coffee is more than just a beverage, it’s a culture”

“Coffee culture was far more prevalent in places like San Francisco, and there’s no defining aspect to coffee in New York because it is so broad,” explains Casey. “There’s everything from Scandinavian-style coffee in parts of Brooklyn to a prevalence for blue collar, dark roasted Italian coffee. I also learned that it is not just about taste, but that there’s a qualitative aspect with regards to the ethical question of coffee, fair trade, and what you are willing to support.”


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