Williamsburg just got a roastery-cafe specializing in Colombian beans, and now Greenpoint is getting one.
Sweetleaf is opening the dual operation off of Manhattan Avenue, and its owner, New York native Rich Nieto, says this one won’t be like some of the national and international operations that have landed in Brooklyn lately. “I think it’ll probably have more of a local feel,” he says of his roastery-cafe. “I don’t get a local feel from companies that have to cross the ocean to get here and then they open up and then say, ‘We’re your local coffee shop.'”
Nieto opened the first location of Sweetleaf in Long Island City in 2008 and then another one on Kent Avenue in Williamsburg in 2013 (he opened a third location, which serves cocktails, in Long Island City in 2013) — he passes through Greenpoint on his way from one to the other, so it made sense to lock down a roastery in a former warehouse (he isn’t giving out the exact location yet, but the one-story structure is a handful of blocks from the Greenpoint Avenue station).
For the past year or so, Nieto has been sharing a roastery in Bushwick, but when he opens this one of his own — hopefully by May — he’ll be using a 15-kilo Joper machine to roast beans sourced by Red Fox Coffee Merchants from Peru (where his father is from) and Colombia (where his mother is from). “That’s what I want to build my program around,” he says of the two countries, “but we’ll also have coffees from Ethiopia, Kenya, all over the world.” While the roaster does its thing in the back of building, customers in the 30-to-40-seat cafe can tap into WiFi and order pastries baked in-house.
The decor will be on the industrial side. “I’m not going to try to make it look like a modern, chic place,” Nieto assured. “We’re not going to hide the fact that it’s a warehouse — the idea is to have a neighborhood spot. We want people to come in and have coffee and espresso drinks and buy bags of coffee.”