New brews

The coffee revolution brought Stumptown, Intelligentsia and Counter Culture crashing into town. Now, a new set of artisan roasters are hitting New York. Here's where to find them.

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  • Photograph: Alex Strada

    Toby's Estate Coffee

    Toby's Estate Coffee

  • Photograph: Alex Strada

    Toby's Estate Coffee

    Toby's Estate Coffee

  • Photograph: Alex Strada

    Toby's Estate Coffee

    Toby's Estate Coffee

  • Photograph: Alex Strada

    Toby's Estate Coffee

    Toby's Estate Coffee

  • Photograph: Alex Strada

    Toby's Estate Coffee

    Toby's Estate Coffee

  • Photograph: Alex Strada

    Toby's Estate Coffee

    Toby's Estate Coffee

  • Photograph: Alex Strada

    Toby's Estate Coffee

    Toby's Estate Coffee

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Prodigy Coffee

    Prodigy Coffee

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Prodigy Coffee

    Prodigy Coffee

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Prodigy Coffee

    Prodigy Coffee

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Prodigy Coffee

    Prodigy Coffee

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Prodigy Coffee

    Prodigy Coffee

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Prodigy Coffee

    Prodigy Coffee

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Prodigy Coffee

    Prodigy Coffee

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Prodigy Coffee

    Prodigy Coffee

Photograph: Alex Strada

Toby's Estate Coffee

Toby's Estate Coffee

Toby's Estate Coffee, Sydney


Why it matters: In Australia, coffee snobbery is a national pastime, and this boutique brand—call it Sydney's Stumptown—is the bean of choice in many of the country's serious cafs. Founder Toby Smith put in time at plantations in Brazil and Guatemala, boosting his cupping and business skills, before breaking out on his own in 1998. From an 11-pound roaster in his mother's garage, Smith grew the company to include seven locations across Australia and Singapore, a barista training school, and more than 600 accounts at other restaurants and cafs. In early January, Toby's Estate Coffee joined Williamsburg caf-roasteries like Oslo and Blue Bottle with its own 3,000-square-foot shop, boasting a shiny custom-made Probat Burns P25 roaster from Germany and a dedicated cupping room. For the New York location, Smith brought on fellow Aussie Deaton Pigot, an Intelligentsia alum who holds a coveted position as one of the judges of the Cup of Excellence, a renowned competition that awards the best coffees from select countries each year. Here, Pigot will roast the high-grade, shade-grown beans—coffee raised slowly and sustainably under a tree canopy—that Smith and his team source from small farms in Africa, India, Southeast Asia, and Central and South America.
Where to find it: Get your flat white, Australia's answer to the latte, or a pour-over made with Costa Rica's bright, creamy El Alto (a Cup of Excellence winner) at the New York flagship for Toby's Estate Coffee in Williamsburg (125 North 6th St between Bedford Ave and Berry St, 347-457-6160).

George Howell Coffee; Acton, MA
Why it matters: Back in the '70s, when George Howell started pulling shots, the beans were low-grade, and extra-dark roasting—a technique that covers up defects—was considered the gold standard on the West Coast. The pioneering javahead, who cofounded the Cup of Excellence, popularized many of today's industry touchstones: roast dates on packages, single-origin beans, and roasting coffees at lower temperatures so that their unique flavors don't burn off. Howell took a break from operations in 1994 after he sold Coffee Connection, the Boston chain he founded in 1975, to Starbucks and spent a decade traveling, consulting and advising the United Nations on sustainability. In 2004, the year his noncompete clause expired, he bounced backinto the roasting game with this eponymous brand, which New York cafs are just starting to discover. Armed with long-standing connections and a world-class palate, Howell still traverses the globe, seeking out distinctive beans from small farms.
Where to find it: Newcomer Prodigy Coffee (33 Carmine St between Bedford and Bleecker Sts, 212-414-4142) has been serving custom-roasted George Howell stock under its private label since it opened in early January, and Noho Star (330 Lafayette St at Bleecker St, 212-925-0070) started brewing the operation's standard line of coffees a few months ago. In Brooklyn, Southside Coffee (652 Sixth Ave at 19th St, Sunset Park; 347-599-0887) has used George Howell espresso for more than a year, and Marlow & Sons (81 Broadway at Berry St, Williamsburg; 718-384-1441) and Diner (85 Broadway at Berry St, Williamsburg; 718-486-3077) brought it in about a year ago.

MadCap Coffee Company; Grand Rapids, MI
Why it matters: Most coffee drinkers are familiar with the coffee plant arabica, but few could name one of the hundreds of varieties, including Bourbon, Typica and Colombia, within the genus. This boutique Midwest roaster is trying to change that with its Varietal Series, which debuted last September to demonstrate that coffee cultivars can be as distinct as Red Delicious and Granny Smith apples. Working exclusively with the Rodriguez family in the Apaneca-Ilamatepec region of El Salvador, MadCap separated the cultivars from one area into four different coffees: a bright, fruity variety so rare that scientists haven't named it; a mix of orange and yellow Bourbon varieties displaying tropical fruit flavors; a citrusy, chocolaty blend of Bourbon and Typica; and the creamy, lemony Pacamara.
Where to find it: MadCap's seasonally available Varietal Series sold out at coffee-geek central RBC NYC (71 Worth St between Broadway and Church St, 212-226-1111), but you can pick up its other standout coffees until the next crop from the Rodriguez family arrives in the store later this year.

DOMA Coffee Roasting Company; Post Falls, ID
Why it matters: Socially conscious caffeine fiends are in a tizzy these days over the term fair trade. Controversial certifying organization Fair Trade USA ruffled movement feathers last year when it made moves to start stamping its approval on java sourced from large-scale plantations, a no-no among activists who favor small, independent farmers. Doma cuts through the labeling noise by offering complete transparency. The organic Idaho outfit, established in 2000 by husband-and-wife team Terry and Rebecca Patano, belongs to Cooperative Coffees, an importing collective that buys all its stock directly from farmers. Cooperative then posts all its purchase documents at fairtradeproof.org, so you can trace what they paid in the fields for your cup of joe. Keeping with the ethically minded ethos, Doma also focuses on sustainable practices, like installing high-efficiency lighting in its facility and using a Loring SmartRoast machine that consumes 85 percent less energy and reduces smoke emissions.
Where to find it: De Luxe (410 Seventh Ave between 13th and 14th Sts, Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-369-0601) brought Doma beans to New York when it opened in mid-December. The spot features a Southern Italian--style espresso and a dark house blend for its drip coffee.

Laughing Man Coffee & Tea, New York
Why it matters:
Celebrity-owned wineries and star-endorsed vodkas are a dime a dozen, but coffee hasn't gotten as much Hollywood love. Bucking that trend is Hugh Jackman, who in October unveiled his own brand, along with a Tribeca store, inspired by a coffee farmer named Dukale, whom he met on a trip to Ethiopia with humanitarian organization World Vision. Although Dukale's name and image are featured across the Laughing Man coffee bean bags, website and promotional video, the company, citing political challenges, does not buy directly from him, instead sourcing its beans from his co-op and others. Their selections don't display the same complexity and nuance as other artisanal roasters. Still, the company donates 100 percent of its profits to charity organizations, including World Vision and Harlem Village Academies.
Where to find it:
Stocked with branded T-shirts, mugs and coffee bags, the Laughing Man Marketplace (184 Duane St between Greenwich and Hudson Sts, 212-680-1111) is more merchandising shop than daytime caf, but you can get a cup or bag of Jackman's organic brews to go.

Sightglass Coffee Roasters, San Francisco
Why it matters:
Brothers Jerad and Justin Morrison are the latest indie coffee brand to burst out of San Francisco—already home to Blue Bottle, Ritual and Four Barrel—cementing that city as one of the country's leaders in the craft-coffee movement. The Morrison brothers honed their barista chops at esteemed SF roasters: Both were part of the launch team for Four Barrel, while Jerad was the head roaster and green-bean buyer at Blue Bottle. The pair left their daytime gigs in 2009 and imported an antique German Probat 1961 roaster, prized for its even heat distribution and old-school manual control, and spent two months restoring it before bringing their first bags to market in 2010. Today the Morrisons work with small-scale growers in Colombia, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Costa Rica and Rwanda for their microroasted coffees.
Where to find it:
In an effort to mix up the brew offerings at the Ace Hotel, where Stumptown rules the roost with its Manhattan flagship shop, restaurateur Ken Friedman brought the mellower Sightglass to the Breslin (16 W 29th St between Broadway and Fifth Ave, 212-679-1939) and the John Dory Oyster Bar (1196 Broadway at 29th St, 212-792-9000) last November.

Coming soon:

Caff Vita; Seattle WA
Brooklyn has more than its share of roasteries but so far no bold-faced names have opened in Manhattan. That will change in late February or early March, when this Seattle coffee company, founded in 1995, debuts a microroastery on the Lower East Side. 124 Ludlow St between Delancey and Rivington Sts (212-260-8482)

Handsome Coffee Roasters, Los Angeles
This operation has some serious muscle behind it: Tyler Wells managed Intelligentsia's Pasadena outpost; Michael Phillips was the first American to win a World Barista Championship; and Chris Owens earned his stripes as the lead barista of Gimme Coffee Williamsburg and head roaster at Ritual in San Francisco. The trio is teaming up with David Kaplan and Alex Day (both of Death & Company) to operate a daytime coffeeshop out of the much-anticipated gastrobar Demi Monde when it opens in early March. 90 Broad St at Stone St (no phone yet)

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