2007_01_foodlynchcoffee.jpgGothamist is here at Joyce Bakeshop in Prospect Heights, where we’ve secretly replaced Scott Lindenbaum’s 12 oz. Fair Trade Gorilla Coffee with a cup of freshly brewed David Lynch Signature Cup Coffee Organic House Roast. For good measure, we’ve also selected one of each flavor cupcake from the Joyce Bakeshop glass case display, and a toasted hazelnut mini financier to accompany the hot beverage. What we found may surprise you.

Yes, we said David Lynch Signature Cup Coffee. Call it guerrilla coffee versus Gorilla Coffee. The cult filmmaker is now selling beans, in part to defray the cost of distributing his latest film, Inland Empire, playing exclusively at the IFC Center through the end of January. The 60 year-old director, author, and proponent of transcendental meditation introduces his new project in a series of shorts that play before each screening. In one segment, filmed during a theater Q&A last month, Lynch says that he drinks “about 20 cups a day.” In Whole Bean and Ground versions, the coffee is available only at the IFC center in three varieties: Organic Espresso, Organic House Roast, and Organic Decaf French Roast. Since each pound of the beans retails for a steep $25 dollars, Gothamist opted for the ground Organic House Roast, pitting it against the now classic Gorilla Blendimentosis.

“It’s like diner coffee,” says Lindenbaum, a 24 year-old MFA student at Brooklyn College, after his first sip. We are sitting in the very un-Lynchian Joyce Bakeshop; Lindenbaum has just been told he is drinking David Lynch Coffee. Much like the random questions that come to mind after a Lynch movie ends, it is seemingly unclear what the coffee really tastes like. Lindenbaum drinks some more. “No wait,” he says, “it’s good. It lacks the bitter bite of the Gorilla roast.” Subsequent sips reveal a full-bodied, calming cup. “Regular coffee is a weapon,” says Lindenbaum, considering the David Lynch brew, “and this is a real beverage.” Gothamist reports that nothing strange happened after this in the Prospect Heights bakery. The customers at Joyce Bakeshop did not burst into a neatly choreographed performance of “The Loco-motion,” and no backward-talking dwarves appeared.

Those expecting protest grunge or folksinger grit with their local coffeehouse may not appreciate the atmosphere of Joyce Bakeshop, which lacks also the corrugated, focus group din of every single Starbucks on the planet. Joyce Bakeshop is a good thing, and a bright spot on Vanderbilt Avenue. The shop is a warm, long room decorated with esoteric kitchen tools, fresh flowers, and a Martha Stewart-green Kitchenaid mixer. Exhibition-style prints from local artists adorn the walls, WiFi is readily available,and teas are served in mason jars with handles. Additionally, the shop keeps a convenient stack of children’s books on the bottom shelf of a bookcase that also features an assortment of Joyce Bakeshop merchandise and prepackaged Gorilla Coffee beans. While possibly short on hipster appeal, this place rewards with its rotating menu of confections and baked goods.

an assortment of Joyce Bakeshop goodsParticularly good are the miniature cupcakes ($2 each), which are among the best in the five boroughs, especially ever since NASA announced that the Magnolia Bakery waiting line is clearly visible from outer space. Out of the five cupcakes we tried- Vanilla, Gingerbread, Mocha, Chocolate Mint, and Red Velvet (does anyone make a Lynch-style Blue Velvet cupcake?) -- the latter three were winners, moist and dense. The icings on each cupcake were refreshingly different from one another, ranging from a traditional maple-tinged butter cream, to a sharp cream cheese. Nothing was cloyingly sweet. The financier topped with chopped hazelnuts ($3) was perfect. In these last, flickering days of trans fats, it was a brilliant experience to taste the little cake’s traditional underpinnings of brown butter coming through its slightly crispy, caramelized crust. The coffee was good, too.

David Lynch will be appearing at Barnes and Noble Union Square on Thursday, January 11th at 7 pm to talk about his new book, “Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity.”

David Lynch Signature Cup Coffee is available at the IFC concession stand in single cups and take-home bags.

IFC Center
323 Sixth Avenue
New York

Joyce Bakeshop
646 Vanderbilt Avenue