Brooklyn Roasting Company, Flushing Avenue

One of two lovely Faema E61 espresso machines on the end of the counter at the Brooklyn Roasting Company's Flushing Avenue branch.I visited the Brooklyn Roasting Company on my first trip to Brooklyn in March 2015, calling in on the roastery/headquarters, under the shadow of the Manhattan Bridge on Jay Street. I hadn’t intended to visit another Brooklyn Roasting Company branch that day, but as I walked to Williamsburg, I went past the Flushing Avenue branch: it looked so amazing, I just had to go inside.

Occupying a spot on the corner of Washington and Flushing Avenues since 2012, it’s essentially a large rectangle, with the long side on Flushing Avenue. Even though it’s north-facing, floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall windows on both sides, punctuated by glass doors, flood the interior with sunlight and present a visually-appealing vista from the outside. Rarely have I been so struck by a coffee shop’s external appearance.

Inside it lives up to its promise, with an espresso-based menu served by twin Faema E61s, one at either end of the large counter, which takes up the middle half of the back wall. There are two options on espresso, plus decaf, and, of course, the obligatory bulk-brew. Having got your coffee, retire to one of the window-bars or, if, you can, grab a booth and watch the world go by.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • The Brooklyn Roasting Company on Flushing Avenue, as seen from the east.
  • There's an entrace here, on the corner of Washington Avenue.
  • However, to appreciate its full glory, you need the view from across Flushing Avenue itself.
  • It's directly opposite the (massive) Brooklyn Navy Yard by the way, which you can see here.
  • Turning back to the Brooklyn Roasting Company, there's also an entrance on Flushing Ave.
  • Stepping inside, this is a panoramic 180-degree view from just inside the glass double doors.
  • The counter is directly opposite, while there's a small amount of seating to the right...
  • ... and quite a bit more to the left, where window-bars reign supreme!
  • Alternatively, this is the view if you come in through the Washington Avenue entrance.
  • To your left, a neat seating area. The arched doorway leads into a storeroom by the way.
  • Since the Brooklyn Roasting Company is all glass on two sides, there's another window-bar...
  • ... and this really neat four-person table between the counter and the window.
  • The counter takes up the middle half of the back wall, with two tables in front of it.
  • The tables, seen from the other side. They break up the space without getting in the way.
  • The view along the line of the tables/chairs, looking towards Washington Avenue...
  • ... and the view the other way. For some reason I was fascinated by these tables!
  • Mind you, the first of the two tables (Washington Ave end) has magnificent chairs.
  • The only difference that I could tell between the two was the colour of the cushion.
  • The 2nd set of chairs aren't so good, but check out the table itself & its gear-wheel base.
  • Another view of the tables, with the Flushing Avenue window-bar beyond.
  • The larger of the two, it runs from the Flushing Ave door to the corner with Washington Ave.
  • The rest of the seating is beyond the Flushing Ave door. There's this four-person table...
  • ... and then my favourite, two four-person booths tucked away right at the end.
  • But wait! What's that outside? An ambulance! Someone ill? No, just a paramedic coffee break!
  • Talking of what's outside, this is the view, looking north from the Flushing Avenue window...
  • ... while this is what you getting looking east onto Washington Avenue.
  • Fortunately, there's plenty to look at inside, such as this lovely painting by the booths.
  • There are also great things to listen to, with a vinyl turntable providing the sounds.
  • I'm not sure somewhere with so many windows need any lights, but there are some...
  • ... including this lovely, free-standing lamp next to one of the lightbulb pillars.
  • I don't normally take pictures in the toilets, but the tiling in the gents was amazing!
  • Back in the store, there's plenty of merchandising for sale. This is at one end of the counter...
  • ... while this is at the other end.
  • There are also stacks and stacks of coffee for sale.
  • If you're feeling hungry, there's a selection of sandwiches and salads in the chiller cabinet...
  • ... and a selection of pastries and cookies on the counter-top...
  • ... and beneath them, some oranges, flanked by pots of oatmeal. Nice trolley by the way.
  • So, to business. The counter has a Faema F61 at either end, each with its own till.
  • Aren't they just the most beautiful espresso machines?
  • Each one has two grinders...
  • ... one for the BQE house-blend: 'always under construction'...
  • ... and the other for the guest espresso, in this case the IRIS blend...
  • There's also Peruvian decaf if you want it.
  • So... coffee. I had a cortado with the IRIS blend. It looked lovely iin its glass.
  • The milk was very well-steamed, holding the pattern to the bottom of the glass.
  • I also had a late lunch of a spinach-pasta salad.
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In going from Jay Street to Flushing Avenue, I visited two superlatively-beautiful coffee shops. However, while both are branches of the Brooklyn Roasting Company, in most other aspects they are like chalk and cheese.

Jay Street’s on the ground-floor of an old, rambling warehouse, with high ceilings and exposed stone/brick. Above all, it’s solid. Flushing Avenue feels more modern, a single, open space with windows instead of walls. Above all, it’s light and airy. One is cosy and cluttered, the other clean and bright. And so it goes.

You can enter the Flushing Avenue branch from either Washington or Flushing Avenues, each having its own set of glass double-doors and each pitching you at one end or the other of the counter, a lovely wooden affair with wooden display cases on the wall behind. Normally, this would be a problem, but here it’s been addressed by having an espresso machine at either end of the counter, each with its own till. During less busy times of the day, only one is in operation and, if you arrive at the wrong one, you’ll be gently ushered to the other.

The layout’s very simple. Entering from Flushing Avenue, there are a pair of booths in the windows to your right, easily my favoured choice of seating, but sadly (and unsurprisingly) occupied. To your left, a five-seat window-bar overlooks Flushing Avenue. The Washington Avenue door is right on the corner and, entering that way, there’s a four-person window-bar to your left, both window-bars having fixed, well-spaced wooden bar stools.

The rest of the seating is provided by a series of tables. There’s a four-person one at the Washington Avenue end of the counter, and another at the other end, across from the booths. Both are free-standing in the middle of the floor. Finally, there are two beautiful, marble-topped, square tables mounted on old, industrial gearwheels, each with a pair of chairs, arranged in a straight line between counter and the Flushing Avenue window.

The floor is covered in small, hexagonal, marble tiles and feels quite old, which is backed up by some gorgeous old-fashioned tiling in the gents toilets (I didn’t check the ladies!). Whereas Jay Street is all shadows and contrast, Flushing Avenue is bright and uniform, the natural light complimented by the yellow-painted walls and the white-washed ceiling. However, one thing that the two branches do have in common: while their windows are great, the views out of them are no so great. Oh well, you can’t have everything!

Another difference is that Flushing Avenue serves a much-reduced espresso menu, although it still manages the BQE house-blend, a guest (the IRIS blend during my visit) and a decaf (a Peruvian). Having tried the IRIS as a straight espresso at Jay Street, I took the opportunity to see how it went in milk by having a cortado. Although going well with milk, it lost some of its fruity notes, coming across as slightly smokier, giving it a surprising bitter note that wasn’t there as a straight espresso. I think you can guess which I preferred.

Flushing Avenue does a range of pre-prepared food with sandwiches, cookies and pastries in the middle of the counter, while a chiller cabinet offers salads and wraps. There’s also fresh fruit and oatmeal pots for breakfast.

200 FLUSHING AVENUE • BROOKLYN • NY 11205 • USA +1 718-858-5500
Monday 06:00 – 19:00 Roaster Brooklyn Roasting Company (espresso only)
Tuesday 06:00 – 19:00 Seating Window Bars, Booths, Tables
Wednesday 06:00 – 19:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Cake
Thursday 06:00 – 19:00 Service Counter
Friday 06:00 – 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

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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