(Updated – September 29, 2016)
Brooklyn has always been a coffee town. In the 1880s, long before artisanal java shops lined the streets of Williamsburg, two brothers named John and Charlie Arbuckle established one of the first coffee-roasting businesses in America right here in Dumbo.
A century and then some down the road, Kings County is a caffeine destination to be reckoned with. The borough is home to countless independent coffee shops, many of which roast their own beans, just like the Arbuckles did back in the day. (As of last year, there were 31 shops in Williamsburg alone.) Here are a few to check out while you’re in town.
Brooklyn Roasting Company (Dumbo, Brooklyn Navy Yard)
Though it opened in 2011, this eco-friendly Fair Trade roastery and coffee shop is built in one of the old Arbuckle buildings on the Dumbo waterfront. The company roasts its beans on-site, and the formerly industrial space is kitted out in almost entirely reclaimed material. Come here after a jaunt through nearby Brooklyn Bridge Park, or head to the outpost near the Navy Yard in Fort Greene.
Inside Bergen St’s Gorilla Coffee | via Google maps
Gorilla Coffee (Park Slope)
Going strong since 2002, this Park Slope café is known both for its ubiquitous red-and-black gorilla logo and its expertly roasted Fair Trade beans. This is a spot for coffee purists, home to one of the borough’s best-prepped espressos and a rotating selection of pour-over and French press offerings. A second location recently opened near the Barclays Center—perfect for a pre–Nets game caffeine fix.
Coffee Monster demands Grumpy Coffee | via Google maps
Café Grumpy (Greenpoint, Park Slope)
Non–New Yorkers may be familiar with this spot for the prominent role it played on HBO’s Girls. Its flagship location opened in Greenpoint nine nine years ago, shortly before the hipster waves emanating from nearby Williamsburg hit the onetime industrial ’hood. The carved-wood frowny face outside leads you to an inviting, decidedly un-grumpy interior, where you can kick back with a pastry and a coffee roasted on the premises.
Relax at Toby’s Estate
Toby’s Estate (Williamsburg)
Toby Smith, the owner of this popular Williamsburg café, has worked on coffee plantations himself—so you can bet he knows his business. Housed inside a former meatpacking plant, the tastefully appointed shop is a hop and a skip from the Bedford Avenue L stop. In addition to coffee sourced sustainably from all over the world, you can get baked goods made locally, and even take a class on brewing yourself if you’re so inclined.