Alibi V.23 No.44 • Oct 30-Nov 5, 2014 

Restaurant Review

Island in the Stream

Michael Thomas Coffee’s new location offers a space for community

Between Girard and Carlisle, Silver Avenue is a narrow, fast-moving cataract of commerce—and you better pedal fast or have eyes in the back of your head to ride these waters. Giant boulders in the form of cars block the stream; pedestrians, cyclists and drivers cautiously peer around cascades of chrome in preparation for a dangerous crossing. But look ahead! Up there! It’s the new Michael Thomas Coffee at the corner of Bryn Mawr and Silver, and as contradictory as it might seem, MTC is a calming beacon of caffeinated hope in the middle of a speeding rapid. Before you know it, you're holding a handmade ceramic stein filled with cafe mocha and topped with whip cream. Everything's right with the world.

The original Michael Thomas Coffee, one of Albuquerque's coziest, best kept secrets, is still open at 1111 Carlisle SE, but the Bryn Mawr location offers a little more elbow room and elegance. A galley bar with high seats in the main room feels expansive, whether the crystal-clear roll-up door is unfurled or shuttered. Low tables are situated close enough to be cordial. In the side parlor, separated from the main room by French doors, the space has a communal feel to it, with a sturdy, rustic table that is ideal for a small family, a study group, or for board games. At the new location, you can sit to fit your mood.

Before you know it, you're holding a handmade ceramic stein filled with cafe mocha and topped with whip cream. Everything's right with the world.

And if you're in the mood to try something outside your coffee comfort zone, MTC has some great drinks on the menu. The maple bacon latte is a delicious blend of the sweet and savory. Or, if you love Nutella, the hazelnut, chocolate-like spread, you might love it in the form of a coffee drink—it's sweet like hot chocolate with a kick. MTC also offers a variety of food to complement your caffeine fix. Thursday through Saturday, get there early and treat yourself to gourmet goodness from Whoo's Donuts in Santa Fe. Red velvet, pistachio glazed, classic chocolate cake—you never know what flavors will end up in the pastry case, but they won't be there for long! Nosh from the Chocolate Maven; butternut squash soup and protein-packed breakfast burritos all help to fuel your morning. After a few visits you'll be on a first name basis with the baristas who welcome and lure you in with their patience for the undecided and their coffee knowledge to help you make the right choice.

These days we often create impenetrable public forts out of our phones and computers, but Michael Thomas Coffee offers the opportunity to slow down, commune with the nature of the neighborhood, make new friends, have real conversations and expand our coffee palate.

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Michael Thomas Coffee Roasters

202 Bryn Mawr Dr SE
504-7078

Hours: Mon-Fri: 6am-8pm Sat: 7am-6pm Sun: 8am-6pm