The New York Locavore Challenge ingredient of the day is Locally Roasted Coffee. I had some trouble choosing my 5 non-local ingredients for the challenge (which in all honesty varied a bit week to week), but coffee was one I had some gripes with. Obviously there aren’t any coffee trees here in Brooklyn (shame…), but there are a number of local coffee roasters. So is it a local ingredient? It’s kind of like supporting a local bakery. All of their grains might not be sourced locally, but it’s much better to buy their bread than the mass produced supermarket brands. Or when I get my salsa from the Brooklyn Salsa company. I know all their ingredients aren’t local, but it’s better than buying from a national manufacturer.
There’s a lot of loop holes, per se, in localism. When I eat at a local mom and pop restaurant, I know not all of their ingredients are sourced locally, but I’d rather eat there than a larger food chain. At least the revenue stays locally in the community. So in short, yes, I consider my coffee local. If I were able to bring some Kona beans home from Hawaii on my own, that would be even better, but I still have another 3 years before I go back there (I might start a daily countdown soon…).
And in spirit of local coffee, here are some of my favorite local roasters.
Gorilla Coffee (Brooklyn)
I think Gorilla Coffee was the first local roaster I discovered when moving to Brooklyn. Not only do they roast some great coffee beans, but they have a cute shop in Park Slope as well. Check them out at 5th Ave and Park Place for a cup to stay or bag to go.
Crop to Cup (Brooklyn)
Sometimes I bring a bag home, but I love that I can always look forward to Crop to Cup’s tasty coffee at almost any of the Brooklyn Flea locations–including Smorgasburg! I love that almost all of their coffees can be traced back to a single farm.
Irving Coffee Farm (Manhattan)
First discovered this place while at Stone Barn’s Harvest Festival. I usually drink my coffee very dark with a little sugar and skim milk, but I got a bit bullied into trying it black when the staff member asked, “Black, right? That’s really the only way to drink it.” He was right!
Dallis Bros. Coffee (Queens)
Dallis Bros has been roasting coffee in New York for almost 100 years. Who knew? Hard to believe it took a trip to Whole Foods last year for me to finally find them. Love at first sip! They have a huge range of single origin brews, including my favorite, Sumatra.
- Edible: Ozone Park Home To One Of City’s Finest Coffee Roasters (manhattan.ny1.com)
- Locavore Challenge #12: Enjoy Locally Crafted Chocolate (brooklynlocavore.wordpress.com)
- Locavore Challenge #22: Read a Locavore Book (brooklynlocavore.wordpress.com)
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I knew someone in CT who grew his own coffee beans indoors (may have brought the plant outside for the summer). So, it is possible, though difficult. Another option, is to use a coffee substitute. One example is dandelion root. There are other similar options. But according to Wildman Steve Brill (http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/PlantForagers/message/206), there’s a kentucky coffee tree in Prospect Park, which he feels is the ultimate coffee substitute. Now, if you require caffeine, there are many ways to get it (besides another beverage w/it, you can add it to a drink).
Sam Schaperow, M.S.
A coffee plant in CT? That’s pretty cool. I know they are growing coffee in CA now (I believe it was a coffee roasted by Irving Farm where I first saw it) but didn’t know it was even possible in the northeast. I might have to hunt down that tree in Prospect Park, but I don’t know that anything can (or I’d want it to) replace the real thing.
Hum; I don’t know how close kentucky coffee compares to ordinary coffee. There may be a range of opinions. Why don’t you join PlantForagers and reply to that post to see what people think?