I grew up watching the New York City coffee world from the perspective of the Urnex family business that made and sold coffee urn cleaner and cloth filters to all the local players. For decades, each roaster served a different part of the NYC community (diners, “white tablecloth”, carts, etc). Some of the names were and continue to be Kobricks, Vassilaros, Dallis, White, Coffee Associates, Gillies, and Porto Rico. They all did and continue to do an amazing job. New Yorkers love their coffee.
Today, all the originals are meeting many more new faces trying to carve out a special place in the coffee scene. From the perspective of the cleaner guys it looks like the demand for coffee just keeps growing with each player capturing a different niche. Coffee in New York has evolved, progressed, and exploded. Oren’s started the retail scene that is now raising the standard of coffee quality everywhere you look. We have Joe the Art, Stumptown, Grumpy, Third Rail, Handsome, Counter Culture, Blue Bottle, Ninth Street Espresso, and many, many more. Each is challenging all the others to bring something new to coffee and the city.
What does this say about things here in New York and for that matter in cities around the world that are all seeing a similar coffee revolution? To me, it says that coffee is here to stay and when we think we’ve seen it all, there is so much more to follow. Keep enjoying great coffee and challenging your suppliers to do so as well. Try coffee from the originals and stop in and taste what the newcomers brew. Enjoy it all. Remember to also “Keep it Clean.”