Revenge of the Coffee Nerds

03/31/2010 4:00 AM |

Blue Bottle Coffee

160 Berry St, Williamsburg

San Francisco is the place New Yorkers want to move to whenever it gets too cold, too hot or too expensive here. “The burritos! The perpetual light jacket weather! And the coffee is so much better!” Well, not anymore. Blue Bottle Coffee, the pride of Bay Area java junkies, has come to Williamsburg. The California import smartly ditched the antique sale aesthetic and laptop-friendly vibe of most Brooklyn coffee shops and instead went the modern route, with windowed garage doors opening up to a spacious and sleek room sporting a single communal table (standing room only) and a row of globe-shaped contraptions straight from your steampunk fantasies. Turns out they are Japanese slow-drippers that release liquid at a steady rate of 88 drops per minute, creating rich, incredibly potent iced coffee that costs a whopping $4.25.

There is normal coffee too, although I guess normal is in the eye of the beholder. It’s small-batch, organic, shade-grown coffee, bagged within four hours of roasting for freshness, and prepared one-at-a-time by a beanied employee who slowly pours water into a porcelain Bonmac dripper, where your coffee brews and strains straight into your cup. The result? A delightfully well-balanced, mellow brew that is strong without being too overwhelmingly acidic like the coffee at some of the other high-end places in the city. Baristas also pull shots on a vintage San Marco Leva espresso machine for superb macchiatos, cappuccinos and other espresso drinks, often complemented by chocolate from neighborhood chocolatier Mast Brothers. Baked goods are limited to a few dainty items from Park Slope’s Colson Patisserie.
Quite frankly, you pretty much have to be a level 80 coffee nerd to make this your usual morning stop. The spare space, more than half of which is devoted to roasting beans, is more like a temple to the coffee bean than it is a place to hang out or meet a friend. It is perfect, however, for picking up quite possibly New York’s best brew and taking a walk when it’s pleasantly sunny outside—you know, San Francisco weather.