We had heard through the grapevine that there was a coffee shop in Brooklyn that was using mysterious bulb-like bottles to brew potently good coffee. The roots of this strange, but delectably innovative coffee shop were tethered to its first (and very humble) stand at farmers’ markets in California. Catching the eye of bohemian hipsters, the simple kiosk became too popular to support all its coffee groupies and was (happily) forced to open its first shop in San Francisco.
Since then, the lines have continued to grow at Blue Bottle Coffee, yet that doesn’t seem to deter its loyal customers from waiting a few extra minutes for their morning jump-start. In fact, it appeared that most people were intrigued by the neat line of individual drip-filters depositing a steamy stream of aromatic blends.
Impeccable is the word that comes to mind while sitting in the Blue Bottle Coffee shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the latest addition to the company’s growing chain of shops. There is a weird sense of perfect order among everything from the beautiful pastry and baked goods display, to the sugar and silverware (plastic utensils are a no-no) counter, to the exquisite Japanese glass bottles that are used for brewing the obsessively sourced, organic coffee.
I order the drip blend that is hand poured by a very courteous barista. The warm cup is punchy and bold with notes of almond, chocolate and caramel. It was certainly one of the most flavorful coffees I’ve ever imbibed, but I found it too strong for my delicate palate (please note: I am a wimpy coffee drinker who often orders decaf and adds an enormous amount of cream to soften the acidic qualities so many people love about coffee).
There’s no question that Blue Bottle is offering something rare. And they’re not trying to be the next Starbucks — in fact they drum to a beat all their own: you can’t order sizes, or flavors, and the only non-coffee items you can purchase are cotton caps, as worn by employees in the roastery and bakery, and $150 pajamas.
Owner, James Freeman is looking to open two more shops in Manhattan, one at Rockefeller Center and the other at 450 15th Street in Chelsea by the end of this year. With many discerning coffee aficionados roaming The City that Never Sleeps, these new additions shouldn’t have any trouble luring a new wave of loyal patrons in suits and skirts.