Brooklyn Coffee

An espresso in a classic white cup made by Brooklyn Coffee using Caravan's Daily espresso blend.Brooklyn Coffee, on the busy Commercial Street in the heart of Shoreditch, has been around for just over three years. During that time, plenty of people have sung its praises and, while I’ve called in a few times, I’ve never been in a position to write it up for the Coffee Spot. Until a fortnight ago, that is.

Brooklyn Coffee is, as the one-word A-board outside clearly states, all about the coffee. Admittedly, there’s a limited breakfast menu, a reasonable selection of cakes, cookies and pastries, plus beer straight from the fridge, but it’s the coffee, from local roasters, Caravan, that takes centre stage. Not that Brooklyn Coffee aims to dazzle you with variety: there’s one option (blend or single-origin) on espresso, with decaf on the second grinder, while filter drinkers have a single-origin available on bulk-brew. Finally, Caravan’s Special Bru blend makes an appearance for the iced coffee.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Brooklyn Coffee, on London's busy Commercial Street in Shoreditch.
  • There's a solitary bench outside, with a solitary A-board & a solitary word on the A-board. However, if you can only have one word on your A-board, what better word than 'coffee'?
  • Inside, the layout of Brooklyn Coffee is very simple. There's a counter at the back...
  • ... and a pair of three-person window-bars flanking the central doors at the front.
  • The view from the far right-hand end confirms that there really isn't much else to Brooklyn.
  • Unless you sit outside, the window-bars are the only option. This one is to the right...
  • ... as you enter, while this one is to the left.
  • Having tried out both window bars over the years, I can confirm that they are very comfy.
  • There's that word again!
  • Brooklyn Coffee has a small retail seleection: beans, kit and merchandising.
  • You can also buy UpperCup reuseable cups if you're feeling environmentally-friendly.
  • The counter, in a rare, lonely moment.
  • The front-on view: coffee to the left, till in the centre, cakes to the right.
  • There is also beer, if you want it. However, these are really for display purposes...
  • ... since Brooklyn Coffee has a secret stash in the fridge in the space behind the counter.
  • However, I'm more interested in what's tucked away around the corner: the bulk-brewer!
  • Brooklyn Coffee also has a limited range of breakfast items, plus some soft drinks...
  • ... as well as the usual cakes, cookies and pastries.
  • A better view of the sweet stuff.
  • The all-important coffee menu, which is surprisingly extensive.
  • The coffee's from local roasters, Caravan, and is all for sale. The Daily Blend is on espresso.
  • Meanwhile, during my visit, this Kenyan was on bulk-brew...
  • ... while Caravan's Special Bru filter blend is used for the iced coffee.
  • Barista at work. The two ginders are for the espresso blend and decaf.
  • Barista at work, from a different angle this time.
  • A flat white. Not mine, I hasten to add. Great latte art though.
  • This was mine: a straight espresso. With a glass of water, of course.
  • I'll leave you with the instagram view.
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Brooklyn Coffee’s pretty much a what-you-see-is-what-you-get sort of place. The simple façade on Commercial Street hides no secrets, the generous windows on either side of the slightly-recessed door seeing to that. If you want to sit outside on the busy pavement, there’s a solitary bench in front of the left-hand window, but honestly, the two window-bars inside are far better for people-watching. For one thing, the sound-track (usually of 1970s/80s rock and punk) is far better than the constant roar of buses pulling away from the stop just outside Brooklyn Coffee.

Brooklyn Coffee seats six, three to each window-bar. Despite this, it’s fairly spacious inside, with plenty of room between the seating and the counter at the back. A large, uncluttered affair it has the espresso machine on the left, cakes to the right, and till in the centre. A large alcove on the right-hand side houses the fridge for the beer, while the bulk-brewer’s tucked away in a corner. All told, it’s an efficient, well-run operation, turning out consistently high-quality coffee to a predominantly to-go market.

It’s a cosmopolitan place, named “Brooklyn Coffee” in honour of one half of the owners, a Brooklyn native. The owners generally don’t work weekends and on the Sunday of my visit, I had a Spanish barista and a British server (Sam). Staff go a long way to making (or breaking) a place and these two, it had to be said, were excellent.

I’ve long been a fan of Caravan’s coffee so knew I was in safe hands. The espresso, which changes every six weeks or so, was the Daily Blend (Brooklyn Coffee also runs single-origins on espresso).  I tried straight up, finding it a bright, fruity espresso, with very much a front-of-the-mouth feel to it. With complex, rounded flavours, it definitely didn’t disappoint.

If you want filter coffee (or can’t wait for an espresso-based drink), Brooklyn Coffee offers a single-origin which changes very week on bulk-brew (or “drip” as the menu refers to it, with a nod to Brooklyn Coffee’s American roots). Finally, there’s an iced coffee option, using Caravan’s Special Bru filter-blend.

Monday 07:00 – 17:00 Roaster Caravan (espresso + bulk-brew)
Tuesday 07:00 – 17:00 Seating Window-bars, Bench (outside)
Wednesday 07:00 – 17:00 Food Breakfast, Cakes
Thursday 07:00 – 17:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 07:00 – 17:00 Cards Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 08:00 – 17:00 Wifi No
Sunday 09:00 – 17:00 Power No
Chain No Visits 4th September 2016

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