On Monday evening, a sliver of Tokyo’s cutting-edge espresso culture will surface in Manhattan for a few hours. Starting at 7, Katsuyuki Tanaka, the owner of the cult coffee bar Bear Pond Espresso, will be at the Joe Pro Shop in Chelsea. Mr. Tanaka will give a short talk, sign copies of his book, “Life Is Espresso” (Mille Books, 2011), and make a few rounds of one of his signature drinks, the Dirty.
The Dirty is a something like an espresso and milk sandwich — a shot of hot espresso floats between two layers of chilled milk that’s topped with another shot of espresso. The drink is creamy and cool, and despite consisting of only two ingredients — just milk and coffee — it has the rich taste of melted ice cream sprinkled with bittersweet cocoa.
Much of the distinct flavor comes from the espresso blend, which is custom-roasted by Noriaki Yoshime, and pulled extra short according to a style Mr. Tanaka has named the “B.P.E. Original Technique.” Mr. Tanaka outlines how it’s done in his book.
While Dirties will be available, Mr. Tanaka will not be serving straight espresso on Monday. Bear Pond Espresso’s dense, syrupy espresso has a devoted following among some, but for others it’s a Snuffleupagus in a demitasse — they’re not sure it’s real. You can get it only at the original Bear Pond Espresso (it’s not available at Bear Pond No. 8, the more central second location), only before 2 pm (because of a daily flux in the power grid, according to Mr. Tanaka), and only when Mr. Tanaka is behind the bar. (No others are authorized to use the the B.P.E. Original Technique at the shop.) Accounts of near misses regularly appear in Twitter.
Until you get to Tokyo, and time it right when you’re there, comfort yourself with a Dirty here in New York.