When most people think about Haiti they unfortunately think of the devastating earthquake that rocked the island nation and the political and social unrest that seems to have plagued the island throughout its history. Many don’t know that at one time, Haiti was at the forefront of coffee production, before the title was taken by Brazilian coffee producers. Haitain coffee, revered around the globe as some of the best coffee in the world, is currently not represented by any of the consumer brands that coffee drinkers would find at their local market or coffee shop—until now.
Sweetleaf Williamsburg opened back in May after the success of its sister location in Long Island City --a bean lover's staple since 2008.
The new Sweetleaf is located on the corner of Kent Avenue and North 6th Street, a fine location for people to stroll down, window shop, pick up a coffee and then head down to the water. If they want a coffee to stay, the interior of Sweetleaf is quite spacious and relaxing. They have decorated this café with antiques, such as aged scales and fans, along with old doors used to support many of the wooden structures, like the counters and tables. Customers can relax in one of the lounge chairs, small tables or stools set up on counters. If they have not carried their own reading material, Sweetleaf provides a basket full of magazines and newspapers they can access.
Ice cubes are a necessity for the summer heat. They are the darlings that keep our drinks (and food) cold. So why not dress up your iced beverages with fancy iced cubes? Here are 4 cool ides to take your ice cubes from boring to beautiful. Best of all, these ideas can be mimicked with just about any edible item!
Brighten up your summer cocktails with beautiful flower ice cubes. Use edible flowers, such as orchids, nasturtiums, pansies, and snapdragons and layer flowers in large ice trays. For the most clear ice cubes, boil your water first, let it cool and then pour into trays.
The majority of coffee drinkers can’t function properly until they have their morning cup of Joe and many more of us have a hard time passing up happy hour with our friends after a long, often coffee-fueled, work day. The Coffee Cocktail Mash Up competition combines both of these beloved liquid commodities with an extra shot of competition. The Coffee Cocktail Mash Up pairs up a barista and a bartender to mix a caffeinated cocktail that will then be judged on its flavor, balance, concept, and presentation. The judge’s panel includes Robert Simonson of the New York Times, Mari Uyehara of Time Out New York, Kara Newman of Wine Enthusiast, Shawn Kelly of Pernod Richard, and Mike White of Shotzombie.com
Situated next to the Long Island Railroad Station in Queens’ Kew Gardens neighborhood, Odradeks Coffee is a relaxing little café that offers both basic and unique options. This spot has been in business since November 2011, and is open seven days a week. A diverse crowd frequents this coffee house, such as commuters, meeting-goers, locals, artists and writers. As Odradeks is next to the LIRR station, they post a convenient dry-erase board that informs customers of the next train going into New York City’s Pennsylvania Station.
Matt Marks knows how important coffee is to everyone, and he’s striving to roast and serve the best there is. The co-owner/partner of Forty Weight Coffee Roasters and Forty Weight Cafe describes coffee as his dream and something he believes in. The pride he and co-owner Andrew Ballard have in their product is present everywhere in this young company.
Forty Weight Coffee is available at stores across New York, and at Forty Weight Cafe in Park Slope. It can also be purchased on the Forty Weight website.
We had the opportunity to talk to Matt about his business. Here's what he had to say about being a true coffee connoisseur!
How did Forty Weight Cafe get started?
Forty Weight Cafe is the flagship of parent company Forty Weight Coffee Roasters, which was my best friend and roastmaster, Andrew Ballard's dream come to fruition. Andrew and I became co-owners/partners in 2010. His expertise and our dedication to artisanal roasting is evident in every cup we serve and every bag we sell.
Discussions about the cafe started in March, 2011 and we finally opened in November. It was a long and windy road indeed.
What’s your role at the cafe?
As owner and general manager I am responsible for virtually everything. From selecting and ordering coffee and espresso to purchasing new springs for our port-a-filters, I have my hands and head constantly full.
What are some challenges you face in the coffee market?
Once you get to the upper echelon of the specialty coffee world with the likes of Stumptpown, Counter Culture, Intelligista, and Handsome Coffee Roasters, it's a real challenge to stand out in a group that is doing such amazing things. These companies have a lot more resources than we do, which they wisely focus on marketing and shine. Once you get to a certain level in specialty coffee, everybody is producing amazing stuff. With everybody producing amazing stuff, marketing and shine can go a long way in getting your coffee into a customers hands. I mean I'm not complaining, good on these companies for acquiring the dollars to do this, but this is probably the biggest challenge our poor little grassroots company faces.
After two successful years in Williamsburg, Blue Bottle Coffee Company has expanded to Manhattan across from Chelsea Market. Inspired by the first central European coffee house to open its doors in sixteenth-century Vienna Blue Bottle aims to bring coffee away from the mocha choca latte ya yas of the coffee industry giants and back to its origins, as well, coffee.
Blue Bottle Café opened their doors February 18th in the former loading dock of the Milk Building on West 15th Street. The two floor café offers everything that Blue Bottle has made its name representing. The first floor coffee bar has a La Marzocco Strada espresso machine as well as Blue Bottle-designed drip bar. The drip bar features a filter pour-over method to brew patron’s coffee to order. Blue Bottle prefers to use flannel in their pour-over brews rather than hemp or the usual paper coffee filters found in your office’s coffee maker. Enjoy a variety of seasonal Single Origin brews as well as a rotating selection of house blends.
New coffee blends and trends are already roasting in the new year as Starbucks switches from dark roasts to blondes and multiple celebrities, such as Leonardo DiCaprio, filmmaker David Lynch, Dave Mustaine from Megadeth and Lcd Soundsystem star James Murphy, enter the profitable industry.
After years of everyone being told by the coffee connoisseur that dark roasts are superior, coffee companies decided to attract a new market of coffee drinkers during this economic slump. This trend has already become a norm in many European countries, where they brew the blondes strong.
Starbucks is taking their new 'blonde' Veranda blend very seriously. Apparently, if any employees make a 'blonde' joke about the new flavor, it will be a written offense. According to Jim Romenesko's Starbucks Gossip site:
we were told at a Regional Rally there are absolutely no Blonde jokes to be told around the coffee what so ever. It will be a written offense if so. This came right from the [Regional Director]'s mouth to about 100 [Store Managers] so communicate back to our stores at our own meetings.
Can you think of anything better than coffee, pastries, and shopping? How about all three in one badass place surrounded by the kings—and queens—of rock and roll? Well, you can find this phenomenal trifecta at Grit N Glory, Lower East Side’s newest gathering spot. The product of owners Emily Conley and Veronica Cano’s own trilogy of passions—music, art, and coffee—Grit N Glory is an ever-evolving space offering a new brand of coffee culture.
After a soft opening in November, the duo hosted their grand opening event this week, and we have to say, it’s our new favorite place for a cup of joe and good time. You’ll know you’ve arrived when you see the drum set and guitars in the window, as if the band just took five for some shots of espresso. Come on in, and like us, you’ll be stopped in your tracks with the sights. At first glance you may notice the floor to ceiling “chalkboard” wall. Yes, a community art board! Feel free to pick up some chalk and have at it. Next, four shiny vintage hub cab clocks, set to various significant time zones, might catch your attention--or the realization that your personal favorite classic rock album happens to be playing. As you relax in the warm, cappuccino colored atmosphere, observe the art on the walls and other functional fixtures. Almost everything is for sale allowing a “vivid evolution of decoration” to gradually take place. There will always be something new to look at, one of Grit N Glory’s most unique characteristics.