The Nordic cafe, housed between Manhattan Avenue and Franklin Street, caused a stir in the coffee-world when it opened on Friday by offering a $7 latte, reported to be the most expensive caffeine-fix in NYC.
By the time I popped along on Monday to try it out, the famous Lakkris Latte had already sold out and was now listed on the menu at a post-opening price of $10, a fee bound to get those incredulous critics talking all over again.
Owners Elliot Rayman and Crystal Pei explained to me that they’d never anticipated their speciality coffee would cause such a sensation. The high price of the beverage, they explained, is down to the top-quality components. The Ethiopian beans are roasted in Norway by celebrated coffee man Tim Wendelboe, and the drink contains Danish-made Lakrids licorice syrup and raw licorice powder. Despite the hefty price-tag it’s obviously already been a huge hit.
Keen to sample the next best thing, I opted for an aeropress version of the Ethiopian-sourced Wendelboe coffee. Served in a conical flask on a silver tray, the drink comes with a nugget of Lakrids licorice and turned out to be one of the finest hot drinks I’d ever tasted. The flavor was dreamily smooth almost, dare I say, like a really good black tea, with no hint of the bitter tang that comes with more harshly-roasted beans. Drinking it felt like a real coffee event, and the sense of ceremony evoked by the beautiful presentation was something I really wanted to linger over.
As well as high-end speciality brews, Budin also offers a regular daily coffee menu featuring beans from Portland roaster Heart Coffee, where all the drinks sit in the much more budget-friendly bracket of $2.50-$4.
Light snacks are available in the form of breads and pastries, including Danish rye bread from Tørst.
The space itself is beautifully bright with vast windows at both ends of the cafe sending glorious sunlight flooding across the long wooden bar.
Whilst coffee is obviously a big deal here, another major draw is the beautiful Scandinavian products on sale, sourced by business partner Rut Hermannsdóttir.
Highly desirable blankets, knitwear, skincare potions and other covetable items are artfully arranged across minimalistic wooden shelving. If you’re feeling flush, a knitted leopard-print romper suit at $125 is a notable potential gift for a particularly deserving bubba.
Budin is in the process of applying for a liquor license so that punters can enjoy a glass of aquavit in the back yard by the time the warmer weather comes around. In the meantime, however, this heavenly little slice of Scandinavia will certainly act to put Greenpoint firmly on the map for any self-respecting coffee-lover.