There’s something special about Brooklyn Roasting Company. You can feel it the second you walk through the doors of their 25 Jay Street location in DUMBO, all the way down to the first sip of any of their single-origin roasted coffees, or blended espresso drinks.
Brooklyn Roasting Company taught me an incredibly important lesson about coffee – coffee can be more than a drink, but an entire experience.
Coming from Miami, Fl, most of the coffee shops I’d ever visited were filled with old books and ratty couches. It never crossed my mind that someone could take a coffee shop and arrange it in a way that effected all of the senses.
To begin with, Brooklyn Roasting Company’s Jay Street Coffee Shop is located deep in the heart of Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood, literally overlooking the Manhattan skyline. On the right days, the beautiful East River skyline will drag you to walk along DUMBO’s waterfront to Brooklyn Height’s Promenade, under the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, captivated by the sounds of the subway trains coming and going between The City and Brooklyn.
You may find yourself sitting on the stone steps of Main Street Park, watching the sun shine against the towering skyscrapers of the Financial District. Or a few steps away you can take a ride on Jane’s Carousel on your way to Brooklyn Bridge Park.
And all this sits in the back yard of Brooklyn Roasting Company’s Jay Street location.
Walking up to the coffee shop is like Ali Baba finding the hidden cave of the forty thieves. It’s inconspicuous, maintaining the classic DUMBO neighborhood feel. Walking through DUMBO can be like walking through a time warp; as you skip across cobblestone streets mental images of horse drawn carts enter your imagination, you can almost see young gents with twisty mustaches and pocket watches negotiating business. If you listen carefully horseshoes echo throughout the alleyways, the serene “clop-clop” resonating through the centuries.
Speaking of which, the Jay Street coffee shop is in the same building as Arbuckle’s Coffee, which at one point was the largest coffee company in the country, and defined Brooklyn coffee at the turn of the 20th century. There’s something beautifully nostalgic that Brooklyn Roasting Company is continuing Brooklyn’s rich coffee tradition in a building that has housed coffee roasting for over 100 years (off an on).
But don’t think that neat factoid isn’t important to Brooklyn Roasting Company, because their appreciation of things classic and historical is all over the enormous space.
Fun chachkas are tastefully spread around, and would make a fun game to treasure hunt all the various globes, maps, and historical coffee items that are about.
When stepping through the front doors, the space opens up like that scene in Charlie in the Chocolate Factory, when they step through the tiny door and open into the room with the chocolate waterfall.
At first glance there’s almost too much to take in, and you wish Gene Wilder could be there to sing you through it.
What strikes you right away is that there’s more seating space than one could think possible. Next to the front entrance, there’s a wonderful seating area of comfortable couches for chatting and conversation. Also throughout the cafe there are several glass-topped tables for sitting, or for the neighborhood work-force to bring their laptops and focus on their daily tasks. There’s also plenty of seating around various ledges, not to mention another whole seating section around the attached matcha bar, Matchaful.
As a New Yorker, a coffee shop with tons of seating is like finding Shangri-La. Seating is a huge problem for New York coffee shops, most having very limited space. This can be disappointing for someone wanting to get out of their tiny apartment to get some work done, but then finding themselves elbow-to-elbow in a tiny New York City coffee shop.
Not only is there seating at Jay Street, but there’s so much seating you won’t end up sitting so close to the next person over that your arms rub whenever holding down the shift key.
At the entrance of Jay Street, you’ll immediately notice the lines and lines of coffee tins leading you up to the front counter. Each has their own unique labels, visible clever flavor profile, and most importantly, that they’re from countries from all over the world. It’s really quite a sight.
It was actually Brooklyn Roasting Company’s varieties that was a huge inspiration for Roasted in Brooklyn.
When I worked briefly for Brooklyn Roasting Company, I was able to sample about 6 or 7 of the different roasts, and both the espresso blends. I was shocked. I never had any idea that coffee could taste so differently from itself.
For example, one of my favorite offerings from Brooklyn Roasting Company is the Ethiopian Natural, a lightly roasted, naturally processed coffee – meaning that the coffee was processed with the pulp of the coffee cherry left on so that it picks up all sorts of fruity notes.
“Fruity notes” can sound like there’s some minor underlying flavor of some sort, like when a sommelier says something about amber wood chips in a wine, but you can only taste “red.”
The Ethiopian Natural tastes like blueberries. Not a little bit, but it tastes like coffee blueberries. It’s one of the most pleasant things I’ve ever tried. It was also my first lightly roasted, natural coffees, so it will always be special to me, especially because it changed my entire perspective on what coffee could achieve.
On the other hand, there’s the Colombia Santa Barbara. This is coffee as you imagined coffee to be. Smooth, chocolaty, truly a delicious cup of coffee in every way that coffee can be delicious.
And that’s just two of their roasts! Currently they list of up to 26 coffees, depending on seasonal accessibility of the beans.
In terms of coffee, Brooklyn Roasting Company offers something that other coffees can’t offer, as far as I know, which is expanding your knowledge of what coffee is, and what it can be.
It’s like playing Pokemon, except with something really delicious.
That’s what makes Brooklyn Roasting Company as a coffee shop so much fun. Having a wonderful space to go, paired with fantastic coffee options, makes it a place you can easily go to everyday.
Which brings me to the last aspect of the 25 Jay Street Coffee Shop, their Loring Kestrel roaster. This is an absolutely gorgeous piece of machinery, that was the work horse of the Brooklyn Roasting Company empire. While the majority of coffee roasting operations moved to their new facility at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, the Kestrel roaster still has a home in DUMBO, sitting right next to Matchaful that rounds out the coffee shop.
It makes such an important statement about Brooklyn Roasting Company. In this old, historical building, sits a marvel of modern machinery. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s a reminder of how the new doesn’t mean losing the old.
It’s this coming together that really makes the company stand out. There’s such an intellectual respect for coffee housed within these doors that a person can’t help but fall in love and find a new favorite coffee, and coffee shop.