Brooklyn has such a… specific feel to it.
I don’t even mean that in a good or bad way either. The lure and mythology of this borough reaches it’s fingers lustfully into almost any industry one could imagine.
Maybe it’s the food, the burgeoning film industry, or the fact that people come from all over the world in hopes of turning their lives into something special.
But Brooklyn also means the baby strollers that clog the streets and avenues of Park Slope, the Russian babooshkas of Brighton Beach slowly shuffling across the crosswalk on a green light expecting traffic to stop for them, or the Egyptian brothers that own the Hilal cart next to the subway station that smells so darn good it literally drags me over to it by my nose like Pepe Le Pew catching a whiff of perfume.
I moved to Brooklyn on January 15, almost 4 years to the date of this posting. I still have the pictures saved on my phone, and the one lone Vine I ever made to commemorate the coming adventure.
I landed in New York on a day where the weather had broken in middle of a very snowy winter. It was 60 degrees out, and I held my heavy coat over my arm waiting for a taxi at LaGuardia Airport, disappointed at the warmth. I hadn’t just moved to New York City from Miami, Fl to have a warm winter!
The Taxi driver told me how lucky I was, as he flew down a mysterious highway, that I’ve later come to know as the BQE.
Isn’t that always the funny part of a new city, new town, and new adventure? At first everything is so fresh and new, the images in my head, to this day, are still crisp and clear.
Then, as time passes by, the feeling of familiarity settles in. The surprises become the known, and what was bright and amazing, becomes settled and expected.
Brooklyn broke me almost as quickly as the snow melted that spring. Any plans I had for my upcoming life as a Brooklynite were quickly dashed with the blossoming flowers found in the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.
With that, I made one of the best decisions of my life – one that I would recommend to almost anyone that finds their careers at a moment of change, and don’t really know what to do with themselves – and applied for a job as a barista at the age of 33.
I had spent my 20’s working in the coffee shops in Borders Bookstores, landing my first job in 2003, but it’d been awhile.
I will maintain, to this day, that being a barista is one of the best jobs on the face of the planet. The pay is relatively high, it’s a laid back environment (usually) with flexible hours, once you get the skills of latte art and handling the somewhat hectic coffee shop work space you’ll always have a job, but more than anything it’s the customers.
I’ve had some of the best conversations of my life working in coffee shops, and most baristas would probably agree. A great deal of people that I would consider my friends I met in coffee shops where I’ve worked. For an introverted sci-fi, pop culture, spirituality nerd that most weekends doesn’t leave his apartment, working in a coffee shop is a cliche-ridden home away from home.
It’s the girl who uses table patterns as the backdrop for her Instagram business, the family from across the street who come by for their daily lattes and treats, the retired professor that earnestly philosophizes about the nature of the universe while waiting for his skim cappuccino (as dry as possible), and even the wonderful homeless people who never ask for a single thing but are eternally grateful when you hand them left over pastries at the end of the day.
Brooklyn is a city of transient dreamers, and the locals that incredibly share their home territory with a bunch of type-A weirdos that would most likely irritate anyone, like that one over opinionated uncle who spouts off facts of tryptophan at Thanksgiving and without shame passive aggressively proclaims “maybe next year I can deep fry the turkey for you.”
It’s in that atmosphere of strangers who make it all work despite background, circumstance, and anything else, that I hope Roasted in Brooklyn captures.
This diversity is found in Brooklyn’s amazing coffee roasters. Whether it’s larger established companies like Brooklyn Roasting Company, with locations all over Brooklyn and New York City, or family owned roaster Kos Kaffe and Roasting House, a single coffee shop which has been in operation since the early 90s, the possibilities are almost limitless in what types of coffee a person can find.
There’s an entrepreneurial spirit here that is simply awe inspiring, and the coffee world has been a major beneficiary of it. Roasted in Brooklyn wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for these brave people that take the huge risk of leaving the safety of normal 9 to 5 jobs with the dream of creating a delicious cup of coffee for everyone to enjoy.
A major motivating factor for creating Roasted in Brooklyn is a desire to get wonderful coffee in the hands of people who, quite literally, don’t know what they’re missing. I fantasize about the day that a person in Kalamazoo, Michigan drinks a fresh pot of Unity Coffee’s The Joint, or someone in Helena, Montana drinks their daily pour-over of Gorilla Coffee’s La Esperanza.
These fantastically made drinks deserve to be enjoyed in places that can only find their way to Brooklyn via some corner of the internet.
Also, to address a small sized elephant in this conversation, coffee is coffee. Sometimes it’s dark roasted, or light, maybe it’s from Africa or South America, a blend, single-origin, and the variety of ways a person can enjoy their coffee is growing larger and larger every year; the point being there are a lot of ways to enjoy coffee in the year 2018.
Roasted in Brooklyn is not in the business to tell you what’s good and what’s bad. It’s an easy route to take, and in this day in age it seems like opinions are how most websites find the easiest way to cause a controversy to draw in viewers. Which is fine, I used to write for sites like that myself.
That’s not the purpose of Roasted in Brooklyn. Our interest is to present to you, our audience, a view on the people who love and make coffee. We want to show off the truly wonderful coffee culture we have here in Brooklyn, and give you the opportunity to try things for yourself.
Sure, maybe we have certain recommendations, or try to point certain people to a certain coffee for a reason. But it’s nothing different than what a well trained barista would do when helping out a customer looking at which beans to buy. We may be lacking the ability to hold a bag of beans up to your nose to let you sniff in the sweet fruity notes, and chocolaty undertones, but we promise to make up for it with well written, trustworthy content.
And as we grow we will grow along with you, our customers, or you, Brooklyn’s coffee roasters. We’re sharing this new experience together, and even though the bright crispness of it will inevitably turn into the comfortable and known, our love of Brooklyn coffee will always be true.