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Café Variety

As the coffee scene grows ever more specialized, one restaurant group searches for less common grounds.

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M ost of the progress in New York’s coffee revolution has been made by the new breed of indie coffee shops that are spreading the single-origin gospel and trying to best each other with brewing equipment and cult bean sources. Restaurants have been slower to catch on. One highly caffeinated exception: Union Square Hospitality Group, an operation that tailors individual roasters to specific restaurants’ cooking styles. For Maialino, the company’s new Roman trattoria, president of new business Richard Coraine tracked down San Francisco’s Four Barrel Coffee, an upstart known for its impeccable sourcing (in partnership with Stumptown) and its purist approach. “No tea, no chai, no syrups, no nonfat,” says owner Jeremy Tooker, reciting his café’s house policy. “We are in the Mission district, so we do have soy.” Coraine and partner Danny Meyer believe Four Barrel best expresses Maialino’s Roman inspiration, but the roaster is only the latest addition to the USHG coffee canon. Here’s how you’ll end your meal elsewhere.

THE SCENE: Gramercy Tavern
THE BEAN: Dallis Coffee (venerable Queens-based roaster, recently acquired by Octavio, Inc., of Brazil); Blue Bottle Coffee Company espresso (another New York exclusive, from an Oakland-based artisanal microbatch roaster that launched its retail business out of a farmers’-market cart).

THE SCENE: Eleven Madison Park
THE BEAN: La Colombe (acclaimed Philadelphia roaster, with two Manhattan cafés).

THE SCENE: Tabla
THE BEAN: Graffeo (under-the-radar San Francisco roaster and Coraine’s favorite coffee: “I’m a dark, robust, wake-me-up kind of guy”); Allann Bros. Coffee espresso (Oregon roaster that “makes one of the great espressos,” says Coraine).

THE SCENE: The Modern and the MoMA cafés
THE BEAN: Proprietary La Colombe blend called “MoMA.”

THE SCENE: Union Square Cafe
THE BEAN: Dallis Coffee; Illy espresso.

THE SCENE: Blue Smoke
THE BEAN: Dallis Coffee; Barrington Coffee Roasting Company espresso (a Massachusetts roaster popularized in New York by Joe, which has since switched to Ecco Caffè).


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