the race is on

March 21st, 2009

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With this week’s flip by Ninth Street Espresso from using Stumptown Coffee (blue pins) to Intelligentsia Coffee Roasters and Tea Traders (red pins), the infiltration of heavy outside forces into NYC’s coffee scene is raging harder than ever. (Hey, remember those four months when the only coffee for sale anywhere was from Counter Culture?) For armchair spectators, here is a little map of where things stand now. I don’t assert that it’s complete, and I didn’t include restaurant accounts or businesses that aren’t primarily cafes (though you can probably assume any hip restaurant in town is pouring Stumptown).

It’s safe to say this terrain will change a lot in the coming year, especially if more out-of-towners make good on their threats to move in on the scene. Hopefully we’ll see increased activity from people who have already been operating within the NYC community for awhile now, too.

10 Responses to “the race is on”

  1. Mike

    Can you flip Roots to whatever color means “uses Stumptown but doesn’t know what the fuck to do with it, turning out quite possibly the worst espresso shot in town”?

  2. Christian

    Good call. And too funny. Three questions: 1) Does Ninth Street get to count as three pins or just one? 2) Where is Counter Culture? This is three-way race after all. And 3) are there political implications for your choice of colors?

  3. liz

    No political overtones meant, Christian. Just straight up bloods vs. crips.

  4. Christian

    Or could it be sharks vs. jets? Might we soon see baristas snapping and grimacing at each other in alleyways leaping about in dance jeans?

  5. Doug Zell

    “Might we soon see baristas snapping and grimacing at each other in alleyways leaping about in dance jeans?”

    A boy can dream can’t he?

  6. Ben Helfen

    As long as no one busts out any switchblades, i think everyone will be okay…

  7. JR

    Not sure how the switch from a Portland roaster to a Chicago roaster shows “the infiltration of heavy outside forces into NYC’s coffee scene … raging harder than ever.” Isn’t it a wash? Anyway, I prefer Counter Culture and they should be on the map, but other than Everyman, who’s using it? Would they be represented as ghost pins? Also, I think Beaner Bar uses Intelligentsia (damn, the lone Brooklyn exception):

    Beaner Bar – 447 Graham Ave

  8. JR

    Oops, didn’t see Southside down there.

  9. liz

    Hey, Counter Culture are already well-known in these environs for their dance jeans. JR, I think it’s definitely noteworthy that Ninth Street Espresso (arguably Stumptown’s largest account in NYC, and also formerly Counter Culture’s, since people keep pointing out that I’m not mentioning them enough) made the change that they did. Not because NYC is a two-roaster game by any means — this map leaves out numerous amazing, high-quality establishments served by many different other non-local coffee roasters, from Durham’s Counter Culture to Denver’s Novo to Vancouver’s 49th Parallel — but because NYC is entering yet another new phase of coffee growth and competition, and to pretend it isn’t exciting and interesting to watch two of North America’s largest (and arguably, two of the most aggressively growing and innovative) roasters dig their heels in at precisely the same time would be to ignore the large, Probat-shaped asteroids careening towards this city at … well. As reasonable a speed as archaic New York City zoning and real estate will allow, anyway.

    Indeed there are many, many cafes not represented on this map, including the one I drink at at least five days a week. It’s not a slight on anyone, rather it’s exactly what I said it was: an incomplete survey of the growing competition for terrain from two particular oh-so-recently-outside interests. (Oh, and Abraço would be Counter Culture’s other biggest account besides Everyman, but surely Katie or Meister will correct me if I’m wrong on that. Also, who named Beaner Bar? Seriously.)

  10. Gabe

    the asteroids are Gothot shaped too Liz. 😉

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