At the bottom of Jay Street, which runs alongside the Manhattan Bridge (my usual gateway into Brooklyn) the Brooklyn Roasting Company makes a great first stop when exploring the area (it’s also convenient for the York Street metro stop on the F line). Occupying the ground floor of a sprawling five-storey building, the Brooklyn Roasting Company is an amazing spot. Some coffee shops go to great lengths to achieve that stripped-back, industrial look; the Brooklyn Roasting Company simply moved into a 19th century stables down by the East River and, voila, there you have it.
There’s a wide range of coffee on offer, with a standard espresso bar at one end of the building and a more experimental, speciality lab at the other, so all tastes should be catered for. As well as being a wonderful space to drink coffee, Jay Street is also headquarters of the Brooklyn Roasting Company, which means all the roasting gets done here. So, if that’s your sort of thing, you can sit in the far corner, by the lab, watching the green beans being hoovered into the 35kg Loring roaster and enjoying the spectacle of the freshly-roasted beans pouring out some 12 minutes later.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
If you like the industrial look, you’ll love the Brooklyn Roasting Company. You’ll also love it if you like big, open spaces, high ceilings, quirky furniture and huge, comfy sofas. And armchairs. While it initially feels like it could be a barren space, clever use of furniture and an attention to detail in layout breaks it up into a series of manageable spaces. It could also be a dark space, but the thick, brick walls are punctuated by regular, huge windows reaching up to the ceiling. On the sunny day I was there, it was gloriously bright, the natural sunlight helped by whitewashed brick walls and ceiling. The use of wood and reclaimed furniture throughout adds to the charm.
However, it can be confusing. For starters, it has two entrances, both on Jay Street. I recommend the larger one with double doors closer to the river, by the corner with John Street. This leads to the main counter, where you can order (and wait for) your coffee while eyeing the cakes and sandwiches or perusing the extensive range of beans for sale.
The bulk of the seating’s down here too. To your left there’s a large seating area, with long sofas and comfy armchairs surrounding a huge, low, communal coffee table. Further back, left of the counter, are two more communal tables, one high with bar stools, one low with chairs, both easily seating eight without feeling crowded. Finally, there’s a pair of window bars (essentially planks mounted in front of the windows) with views of across John Street to the East River. And an electricity substation. Oh well, you can’t have everything.
There’s more seating to the right, with a similar eclectic mix of tables. The tables are amazing by the way, the ultimate in up-cycling. Made of big slabs of wood or concrete, topped with thick glass, they’re at once pretty and practical.
Carry on, through and past a series of smaller, perhaps more intimate spaces, and you’ll reach the other end of the building. Alternatively, if, like me, you use the other entrance (the first as you approach along Jay Street), you’ll start here. The door delivers you to a more intimate brew-bar, with a restored 1969 Faema E61, which should now be in operation as a coffee lab, holding cuppings, tasting sessions and serving single-origins away from the bustle of the main counter, with its twin La Marzoccos and lines of bulk-brewers. Beyond this, in the far corner, is the roasting area. Finally, a mezzanine level runs the length of the back of the store, but sadly it’s staff-only.
The Brooklyn Roasting Company runs two or three espresso blends at a time. My barista, Stevie, recommend the IRIS blend over the house BQE blend, although she had to pull the shot three times because she wasn’t happy with the first two. It’s the sort of dedication I admire, particularly, as far as she was concerned, I was just another customer.
It was a little on the fruity side, but my palette was very happy with it. It was a rounded, smooth shot, a million miles away from the dark roast of a “typical” espresso that you often get in the US. Sometimes with lightly-roasted espresso, one’s enough for me, but I could drink this all day.
You can find out more about the Brooklyn Roasting Company and its history in the Coffee Spot’s Meet the Roaster feature. You can also see what I made of Brooklyn Roasting Company’s Flushing Avenue branch.
|25 JAY STREET • BROOKLYN • NY 11201 • USA|
|Monday||07:00 – 19:00||Roaster||Brooklyn Roasting Company (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||07:00 – 19:00||Seating||Tables, Comfy Chairs, Window Bars|
|Wednesday||07:00 – 19:00||Food||Cake, Sandwiches|
|Thursday||07:00 – 19:00||Service||Counter|
|Friday||07:00 – 19:00||Cards||Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||07:00 – 19:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||07:00 – 19:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||Local||Visits||6th March 2015|
You can see what fellow coffee (and chocolate) blogger, the Commodities Connoisser, made of the Brooklyn Roasting Company on a recent visit to New York City.
If you enjoyed this Coffee Spot, check out the rest of New York City’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to New York City.
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