Birch Coffee Grows Into Small UES Space

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Lauren Mowery

In just two years, Midtown East has become one of the best neighborhoods in the city for specialty coffee -- to the point that writing that sentence has actually become redundant -- and now its influence is expanding beyond its borders. You can now find great coffee as far north as 62nd Street, thanks to Birch Coffee (134-1/2 East 62nd Street, no phone). Though technically an Upper East location, it's close enough to cubicle land to qualify as a coffee break destination.


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Nobletree Delivers Groundbreaking "Estate" Coffee

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Lauren Mowery
A New York original is set to enter the city's coffee scene. Helmed by a true New Yorker (OK, by way of New Jersey), Nobletree will introduce a new business model, advance the Red Hook revival, and upset the balance of the city's specialty coffee scene.

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Here's Hole in the Wall, a New Worthy Coffeeshop in Midtown

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Lauren Mowery
The aptly named Hole in the Wall (420 Fifth Avenue) coffee shop builds on several themes of New York's coffee growth in the last couple years: the proliferation of quality java spots in midtown and the dominance of Aussies opening them. In addition, the café may be continuing the trend of closet-sized specialty shops inside midtown office building common spaces, joining similarly tiny Bluestone Lane.

Hole in the Wall opened in mid-June, but Australian owner Barry Dry already ambitiously intends to expand the concept to another location in Midtown West (thankfully) before a third in the financial district.

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Bluestone Lane Brings Specialty Coffee and Good Food to the West Village

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Lauren Mowery
I've wondered before in this column why good coffee and equally good food couldn't be paired together more often in the city. And yet again, it took a group of Australians from Melbourne to open a coffee shop with a full menu; or is it a restaurant with great emphasis on coffee?

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A Primer on Cold Brew Coffee and Where to Drink It Around Town

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Lauren Mowery
It's summer, or at least pretending to be summer, and thus the season for iced coffee. Almost every coffee shop will have a version: some clouded with dairy products and laden in sugar, invariably more expensive than a plain cup of joe, and slurped down far quicker. Leaving aside frozen concoctions and desserts disguised as drinks -- affogatos; Vietnamese coffee; Viennese coffee; and caramel-laced, whipped cream-based treats -- there are generally two ways in which iced coffee is prepared in specialty coffee shops: cold brew steeped for hours or hot brewed over ice (known as ice brew).


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Here's Where to Head for Coffee Near the Highline

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Lauren Mowery
Coffee shop newcomer Underline (511 West 20th Street, 917-477-9476) sits directly across from the 20th Street Highline access point and underneath the park (hence the name). This near ideal location for drawing in tourists and locals hoping to stroll the public space with a hot or cold brewed coffee, however, also means Underline faces stiff competition -- across the street on Tenth Avenue in the High Line Hotel is Intelligentsia's first and only café in the city, setting up an interesting comparison between the one man show at Underline and its well-backed neighbor.

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Ten Coffee Lessons from Norway's Tim Wendelboe

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Lauren Mowery
Last week, Tim Wendelboe of Oslo, Norway -- famed roaster and educator of the coffee world -- visited Greenpoint's Budin café to address a sold out audience of roughly fifty.

Despite jet lag and the six hour time difference, he held court for well over an hour on the topic "The Road to Better Coffee." His matter-of-fact account of the myriad challenges coffee farmers, processors, and roasters face in improving their product were interspersed with wry observations to punctuate his points. The lecture was geared towards the coffee industry, but certainly accessible enough for those on the other side of the counter who are mostly unaware of the tortuous path to a nuanced cup. The event concluded with an extensive cupping of a dozen different coffees, a rare opportunity for most who aren't coffee buyers.

Here are ten lessons, directly stated or implied, from the master himself.

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Is Tim Wendelboe the Rene Redzepi of Coffee?

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Lauren Mowery
Rene Redzepi is on his way to becoming a household name -- at least within households whose tenants worship food and follow its global evolution. Well, meet the man some consider Redzepi's equivalent in the coffee world: Tim Wendelboe. Wendelboe was behind Noma's revamped coffee program, setting a new benchmark for coffee service -- one that will hopefully shame Michelin-starred restaurants into tossing their Nespresso programs that serve up overpriced, bad coffee along with insults to the chef's elevated cuisine and his or her high-paying customers (more on this in a future column).

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Happy Bones Imports a Kiwi Coffee Sensibility to NYC

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Francis Dzikowski/Esto
A thin, bright slice of a café near the edge of Little Italy, Happy Bones (394 Broome Street; 212-673-3754) is the by-default New Zealand entrant of the New York coffee scene. Happy Bones was founded by two artistic types (see a theme here?): New Zealander Luke Harwood, who previously co-founded Stolen Girlfriends Club, a boutique fashion brand; and artist Jason Woodside. The pair originally launched their shop in 2012 from the back of a Bond Street retail boutique. Now, along with New Zealand power IT couple Craig Nevill-Manning (Google's engineering director in New York) and wife Kirsten (previously of Facebook and Google), they bring you this joyous Bones.

The baked goods are from Ovenly, the tea is from Bellocq (to save you a trip to Greenpoint), which might give you an idea of the quality of the coffee.

Better yet, stop by, as we did, and ask a few questions....

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How to Really Enjoy Tea, Per the Experts at Harney & Sons

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Lauren Mowery

A family-run business launched over thirty years ago in upstate Connecticut, Harney & Sons (433 Broome Street), purveyor of fine teas, now runs two shops -- one in Millerton, New York, a small town of less than 1,000, and the other in SoHo where pedestrians numbers in the thousands every half hour. Recognized by Food & Wine as one of a handful of the top tea shops in the world, Harney & Sons is a tourist destination as well as a neighborhood boutique.

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