Last weekend I made the trek to Greenpoint to check out Budin, a new Nordic-themed cafe bringing several of Sweden and Norway’s finest roasters’ wares to these shores. There are two menus here – one labeled “Specialty Coffee” that has the likes of Tim Wendelboe, Koppi Coffee, and Drop Coffee. You pay Scandinavian prices for these imported roasts, with each drink weighing in at around $6-7 each. The second menu is a bargain by comparison, priced between $2.50-4.50, offering batch brewed coffee and espresso drinks prepared with equally great coffee roasted by Heart (by way of Portland).
A lot of local NY press has centered on the $7 licorice latte ($10 now, as of my recent visit). It’s always fascinating to me how easily the press and the less informed public latch on to price-centric stories. Sure, a lot of the outrage is really just pre-existing angst and anger around gentrification, and all things that get lumped together under the banner “hipster,” conveniently coalescing inside an easily derided cup of expensive coffee. But, to the extent that the coffee itself is what gets people riled up, it illustrates how poorly the specialty end of the industry has communicated both its value and the validity of its cost structure.
But back to Budin. The space is huge, with a nice amount of light pouring in from both ends of the building. A perfect space to sit and read, though I imagine it will soon be difficult to nab a seat to do so. At the rear of the shop there is a design store selling a curated selection of Nordic comforts and curiosities. At the bar it’s what you don’t see that makes an impact – the espresso machine is placed under the counter using the Mod Bar system, leaving just a series of taps that aim to demystify the coffee experience and increase interaction across the bar. Several other cafes in the city have this setup, and it certainly makes it easier to watch the drink building and chat with the barista.
This a young venture that has a lot of potential, serving coffees that are highly regarded and still rare in the US. It’s worth a visit, and I hope they’ll grow into the space and live up to the high expectations set by the price point and the pedigree! I enjoyed my coffee and whenever I can muster the will to ride the G train back to Greenpoint, I’ll happily return :)
Address & directions at the bottom of the post, but first a few photos of the visit:
Can’t go wrong with service on a platter.
Below, the Mod Bar in action.
Love those wooden handles.
Nordic design goods. Did I really see something called Bad Norwegian: Not For Women? Yes, I did.
Been looking for a Koppi Coffee tote bag? Budin’s got you covered.
Stunning wildlife in Greenpoint.
The road back home… Greenpoint is no fun to get to if you’re not already near the G train.
Hours, Address, and Map:
114 Greenpoint Ave
View FRSHGRND – Global Cafe Guide in a larger map