The San Francisco Ferry Plaza’s famous Blue Bottle coffee has been popping up in coffee shops all over San Francisco. It’s served at The Summit SF in the mission and Elite Audio SF in SOMA. But now it seems that NYC, a city more known for having a Starbucks on every corner than for artisan single origin espresso roasts, will be having a new cafe serving up the big blue bean. Check it out below.
Blue Bottle Arrives in Manhattan With a Dramatic New Coffee BarBy OLIVER STRAND
In 2008, Blue Bottle Coffee turned heads in San Francisco when it unveiled a halogen-powered siphon bar. On Saturday, Blue Bottle will introduce New York to the theatrical coffeemaker when it opens its newest shop in a former loading dock on the ground floor of Milk Studios in Chelsea.
This will be Blue Bottle’s seventh location nationwide, and the first in Manhattan. (A Blue Bottle coffee stand operates on the High Line from April to November.) The new shop is divided into two parts: In front is a coffee bar equipped with all the gear New Yorkers have come to expect in this era of obsessively crafted coffee: a Strada (for cappuccinos, Gibraltars and other espresso drinks, plus single origin espresso), filter cones (where coffee will be brewed one cup at a time) and cold-brewers (for iced coffee). A glass case will hold pastries baked at Blue Bottle’s roaster and coffee bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
But walk up a short flight of maple stairs to the austere mezzanine in back, and you’ll find a thin slice of Tokyo: six stools pulled up to a slab of Carrera marble where coffee is made to order on a siphon or on a nel drip.
For the uninitiated, the siphon looks like a steampunk science experiment, and the drink it produces is so perfumed and delicate that it bends your idea of how coffee can taste. It’s an old method — siphon coffee first came into fashion in 19th century France — that caught on in postwar Japan and evolved into an art form in the coffee bars of Kobe, Kyoto and Tokyo. Japan has held a national siphon championship competition since 2003; it was expanded into a world siphon championship in 2009.
Often siphon coffee is made with an open flame, but the setup at the Blue Bottle is powered by brass-trimmed halogen burners that can be adjusted instantly and accurately. It works a little like a moka pot: a large glass globe is filled with water, a glass tumbler with coffee grounds is fixed on top, and as the water heats up it rises into the upper chamber, where it mixes with the coffee grounds. (The job of the siphonist — that’s the term — is to stir a bamboo paddle gracefully so that the coffee extracts evenly.) As the liquid cools, it filters back into the lower globe, which doubles as a coffee pot after the top chamber is popped off.
Blue Bottle will also offer nel drip coffee, which is made with a thick cotton filter. (A point of vocabulary: “Nel,” as the filter is called in Japan, is short for “flannel,” though outside Japan it is often known as a “woodneck” or a “sock,” one of the least appetizing nouns you could pair with coffee.) Nel drip is like a paper filter drip, only slower. Which is one reason you sit at a counter.
While a handful of other shops and restaurants in New York offer siphon coffee and nel drip, this is one of the first to embrace the full Japanese experience. In another nod to authenticity, the bar in back will also serve thick slices of toasted white bread, jam and butter on the side — just as at Shibuya Station.