This post originally appeared as a review on Project Latte, my defunct cafe culture site.
Visiting Zibetto is a lot like going to a bar in Italy. The baristas wear white shirts and black ties behind a long counter that takes up most of the small space. There are shallow ledges sticking out of the wall where you can set your drink and your cornetto, but there is no seating and no space to work. The environment is the main draw here and the vibe is very Italian. No one charges you when you order, they wait until you are finished and place a check under your cup only when you are ready and ask for it.
The space is a narrow, white and gray room with blown glass globes over the bar, and a dark red velvet curtain covering the entire back wall. Sadly, singers do not regularly burst forth from behind the curtain belting out arias, but the staff draw a very loyal following of midtown workers, including a colleague of Project Latte who calls them his “coffee boyfriends.”
Zibetto roasts their own coffee, in a very particular Northern Italian style. The aroma reminds us of the smell of old living room furniture – a toasty, musty scent that’s kind of comforting, but sad. It’s a good fit for those who love the most traditional (read “dark-roasted robusta”) Italian espresso. It turns out that zibetto is the Italian word for “civet,” the musky cat-like animal famous for eating coffee cherries.