Gavin Compton, owner of Variety Café and Miller’s Tavern, brewed up a hot idea for his latest endeavor: coffee roasting. The newest addition to the Variety family is at 146 Wyckoff Avenue; as of April 1st, it’ll be offering a variety (yes, we went there) of coffee from around the world.


(Photo: Kristy Ann Muniz)

The new location — much larger than the Williamsburg and Greenpoint stores — has custom-made chandeliers and wooden floors from an old sewing factory, pins from which are still lodged in the cracks. The café is spacious enough that the seasonally selected beans will be roasted in-store.

Compton currently conducts his roast profiling — during which he experiments with different variables on a micro level, before applying what he’s learned on a larger scale — at his coffee lab on Graham Avenue. But the process will move to Bushwick, along with the company’s headquarters (and along with anyone else who has looked at rent prices in Williamsburg as of late). “We were priced out of Williamsburg and Greenpoint,” Compton explained.

The beans are roasted using what’s known as a fluidized bed. “Basically it roasts the coffee via air,” Compton said over a cup of Stumptown, the café’s current bean provider. “So it’s like a giant popcorn popper.”

The Roaster

(Photo: Kristy Ann Muniz)

At the end of the 12- to 15-minute roasting process, cafegoers can expect a popping sound. “It starts out as endothermic,” Compton said of the bean. “It sucks in all the heat from the environment. Then, at what’s called ‘first crack,’ it becomes exothermic. It starts releasing gases. It physically cracks, so it’s literally like popcorn.”

And it smells good, too. “It doesn’t smell delicious like walking into Porto Rico coffee; it smells greener than that, a little earthier.”

The only thing more popping than the coffee beans is the newly acquired Guest DJ nights at Miller’s Tavern. Curated by musician Jon Wiley, Reputante provided tunes for the Williamsburg-based restaurant last week, followed by Matty Pickles (Caveman) and Phil Di Fiore (Rumpus Records) earlier this week.