Coffee

Alkemy Brewlab Debuts in Greenpoint

Lattes lined up at Alkemy Brewlab

There’s a new chai in town here in Greenpoint and it comes from the owner of local favorite Crema coffee shop. Alkemy Brewlab opened its doors in October 2017 at 290 Nassau Ave, at the corner of Hausman Street. It may seem a little off the beaten path but it’s only four blocks from McGolrick Park and well worth a visit.

The Nassau location is a compact but fully functioning coffee shop complete with requisite treats from fellow Greenpointers at Ovenly (31 Greenpoint Ave). Alkemy focuses on doing two products really well: cold brew and chai. Most notable is the innovative and highly functional cold brew kit which allows you to create your own high-quality brew at home or on the go. This is a game changer for campers and other outdoorsy types but also for all of you traveling coffee snobs out there.

Alkemy’s innovative cold brew kit

If you are a chai drinker, chances are you’ve already had Alkemy’s blend as it’s served at dozens of locations across the city. For a list of stockists, check their website where you can also purchase the chai concentrate and cold brew kit directly.

Last week Greenpointers caught up with owner Jin to find out about their process thus far, plans for the future and what it’s been like opening up a second shop in Greenpoint. Continue reading

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Greenpoint Winter Survival Guide: Advice From The Barista

Rob Garcia, General Manager at Champion Coffee, 1107 Manhattan Ave

There’s nothing more enjoyable than cradling a hot coffee in this insanely cold weather. In our next interview as part of our winter survival guide series, we spoke to Champion Coffee’s Manhattan Avenue manager Rob Garcia about his favorite cold weather drinks when visiting Champion or when you’re planning a day of hibernation at home. Check out our previous interviews here and here.

COFFEE: CHAMPION | 142 Nassau Ave, 1107 Manhattan Ave
Rob Gargia, General Manager

Greenpointers: What is your favorite type of coffee drink to get through the winter?

Rob Garcia: I feel like drip coffee is underrated in general and I know that that is boring, but I really would suggest it. People think that espresso has more caffeine, but drip coffee has twice the amount. I’ve been really enjoying just sitting with a drip coffee. If you do want an espresso drink, macchiatos are also underrated in my opinion. Continue reading

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Brooklyn Whiskers, Manhattan Ave’s New Vegan Cafe/Bakery

Brooklyn Whiskers Bakery (1008 Manhattan Ave) is a sweet little place chock full of delicious goods with a creative menu, located at the north end of Greenpoint. This cafe/bakery serves up pastries and delectable desserts but also has a good-sized menu with all-day breakfast, sandwiches, bagels, and bites. Plus everything is vegan, with lots of gluten-free options as well. Fear not, however, because you won’t be missing a thing — the food here is fantastic.

This is the second location to recently open with the first one being located in Bushwick. They are also a retail and wholesale bakery in addition to having these shops. The two very friendly owners, Preesa Adeline Bullington and Michael Minahan, are frequently around and easy to chat with. The Greenpoint cafe is small but quite charming with a couple of vintage-looking mismatched chairs, wooden tables, and holiday decor this time of year. It’s also eco-friendly with bamboo products and recycling well-marked. There’s a warm, homey, personalized feel in the cafe and also fun for cat lovers with a little bit of a cat theme in the mix. Continue reading

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Get “Coffee With The Cops” of the 94th, Today at 2pm!

Coffee With The Cops

The 94th Precinct is hosting a coffee talk session this afternoon (11/16) at Sunset Diner (593 Meeker Ave) from 2-pm to 4pm. You’ll have a chance to sit down with Captain Peter Rose and Captain Victoria Perry, along with other 94 Precinct Personnel, for a cup of coffee and a chat about your neighborhood questions or concerns.

RSVP on Facebook

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Eat Sweet Treats Like It’s Your Job: Ovenly is Hiring Baristas!

A latte at Ovenly. Photo: Casey Feehan
A latte at Ovenly. Photo: Casey Feehan
Ovenly is currently hiring for part-time retail baristas at their Greenpoint (31 Greenpoint Ave) and Park Slope (210 Flatbush Ave) locations.
To apply, send an email to [email protected]

Continue reading

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6 Greenpoint Cafés Serving More Than Your Average Latte

Budin's Secret Licorice Latte
Budin’s Secret Licorice Latte  Photo by Lucie Levine

New York has run on coffee since at least 1668, when the first written reference to the drink in America noted that New Yorkers were imbibing a brew made of roasted beans flavored with sugar, or honey and cinnamon. Following the Civil War, our beloved borough became the center of the national coffee trade. By the turn of the 20th century, 86% of the nation’s coffee docked in New York Harbor, and John Arbuckle’s plant on John Street in DUMBO roasted more coffee than any other building in the world.

Today, Brooklynites are pioneering the “third wave” specialty coffee craze, and our local roasters are flavoring their drinks with a lot more than sugar or honey and cinnamon. In the name of investigative journalism, I set out to sample some of that local flavor. In Greenpoint alone, that means turmeric, lavender, licorice and other assorted delights. These are not your average pours and they’ll run you more than a regular coffee, but if you’re looking to splurge on something special, read on for Greenpoint’s most exciting coffee concoctions. Continue reading

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Pueblo Querido, A Passion for Colombian Coffee

Greenpoint’s own Colombian coffee roasters  All images: Pueblo Querido/Instagram

There are a lot of people in Greenpoint who claim to know coffee, but I can safely say that no one in Greenpoint who knows more about coffee than owners of the Pueblo Querido Café on the corner of Greenpoint Avenue and McGuinness Boulevard (195 Greenpoint Ave). Run by two brothers, Christian and Fabian Guzman Herrera, along with Fabian’s wife Andrea, the three Colombians come from the Quindío region in the heart of Colombia’s coffee growing heartland, known as the coffee triangle. Right now, probably a hundred angry baristas are ready to write snide comments, but please bear with me. The family grew up on a coffee farm and have a lifetime of experience with every aspect of making the perfect cup of coffee from growing the beans, to roasting the coffee themselves, to pouring out a perfect espresso or cappuccino. Continue reading

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Williamsburg’s New Fancy Doughnut Shop, Du’s Donuts

Greenpoint will always have our beloved Peter Pan, and on Wednesday, Williamsburg got its own doughnut shop. Du’s Donuts and Coffee, at the base of Williamsburg’s new William Vale Hotel, is easily one of the year’s most anticipated openings in the New York City food world. It marks the return of chef and molecular gastronomy poster boy Wylie Dufresne to the kitchen, after the closing of his world-famous wd~50 and Alder. Now, instead of edamame ice cream and freeze-dried corn, he’s putting his genius towards unique doughnut flavors alongside his pastry chef Colin Kull. Rest assured, the crowds will come. Continue reading

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The Piadine Reigns Supreme at Williamsburg’s Lella Alimentari

Photo © Kevin Irby
Photo © Kevin Irby

“With this finger, I tasted the world.” Massimiliano Nanni raises his right pointer finger while recounting his childhood in Rimini, Italy, where his mother, Lella Alimentari’s namesake, ran a popular restaurant. “I would sit at the counter of the kitchen and I taste the papaya, I taste the kiwi—nobody have a kiwi in Italy, I come from a place with the truffle—I eat the frog, I eat the eel, I eat the snake. We want to try everything. This was my childhood.”

Massimiliano Nanni © Kevin Irby

Nanni, known to friends as Chicco, met his wife, Paola Cittero while working on an Italian aquatic TV show. He was a diving assistant, she was the production designer. This is a funny detail given the strong Life Aquatic vibe in the café they’ve created. Between Nanni’s normally red cap (today it is pink) and quirky demeanor, Cittero’s blue jumpsuit and the vintage toys and uneven hand stamped signage, I can practically hear Seau Jorge strumming Bowie tunes.

owners of Lella Alimentari
“We are old friends. Sometimes your best friend becomes your husband.” Photo © Kevin Irby

Nanni’s been in the restaurant biz since 1995 when he opened Piadina in the West Village. In the intervening years, he’s opened many other restaurants, including the popular wood-fired pizza superstar Saraghina in Bed-Stuy, which Cittero designed and which feels like a big brother to the more intimate Lella (325 Manhattan Avenue). Nanni left Saraghina in 2011 and opened a now-shuttered seafood restaurant before hopping over to Williamsburg. The location was intentional, just across the street from PS 132 where Nanni and Cittero’s children go to school. After school, the kids hang out among the locals, many of whom are on laptops. “We don’t like to say we are chefs,” says Cittero, “we just cook. We’re cooking. We are both food lovers. I’m a production designer, an artist, we consider this our cafeteria. We are making food we usually make at home, that we give out to our kids.”

artwork made by Lella's owners' son.
“We dream about writing a book one day with all the drawings from my little boy, we like the name ‘The Cook, the Wife, and the Red Hat.’” Photo © Kevin Irby

Lella’s specialty is the piadina, a sort of Italian quesadilla that’s popular in Nanni’s hometown. Every day he makes the piadina bread, then stuffs it with ingredients like roasted seasonal veggies and stracchino, a luscious unripened Italian cheese. Nothing is fussy, just fresh ingredients prepared beautifully; a poached egg over cauliflower, bacon, and chickpeas. Potato leek soup with speck. Burrata with roasted beets and carrots. They also have homemade pastries, quiche, and salads, most often topped with a poached egg.

Eggs are poached or soft boiled, never fried. Photo © Kevin Irby

Lella’s vibe is laid back cool and playful. It is European-feeling and whimsical without a hint of pretension. Toy trucks huddle near a vase of yellow tulips. A battered metal crock overflows with potatoes. The tin ceilings are whitewashed, walls are lined with Italian goods, books, an old scale. Art magazines and vintage action figures are scattered about. Lella is warm and chummy, just four sun-drenched booths and a communal table.

Photo © Kevin Irby

One of my favorite design elements is the handy takeaway window. “We sell the coffee by the window and we get all the people with dogs,” says Cittero. “Bike. Stroller. For me, it was like decoration, but we get the dog community.”

Photo © Kevin Irby

Nanni is already dreaming of his next venture: to host a program training former convicts as pizzaiolos. He’s eyeing a location in Brooklyn’s Navy Yard. “The Pizzaiolo was teaching to the penitentiary in my town. These men, what they went through, most of the time it’s really traumatic. They need to be working, working, working. They will learn fast. It will help them.”

Photo © Kevin Irby

“Art, food and a lot of love,” Cittero says as she glances at Nanni who is in the kitchen dancing to The Human League. “We keep busy.” She smiles and looks out the window. “And just look at this beautiful light.”

A patron on her laptop in one of four sunny booths. Photo © Kevin Irby

Lella Alimentari | 325 Manhattan Avenue
718-599-1986
Open 8am to 7pm every day

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