Six words or less: Deep, Rich, Smooth, Community, Emerging, Entrepreneurial
Location: Lenox between 117th and 118th Street
Hours: 6:30am-8pm Weekdays, 7am-8pm Weekends
Open Since: January 2017
Amenities: Wifi, Bathroom, Mixed Seating for 24 (community table, cafe tables, barista bar)
Must Try: Single Origin Drip Brew Roasted by Joe Coffee
Mark O. Thompson, owner/founder of Harlem Coffee Co., met with me on a very snowy Wednesday afternoon as the city awakened from a snow-coma that shut down the city’s trains and schools the day before. Mark’s story began just two years before. After studying at hospitality management at Cornell, Mark found himself saddled into the inhospitable world of finance. With eight years in finance and a looming decade marker ahead of him, he knew things had to change. He reached out to a mentor and fellow Cornell alum, John Meadow, the man behind Corso Coffee, to brainstorm his next bold move. That same day Mark returned to his finance desk and bought the domain name for Harlem Coffee Co.
Fast forward two years and Mark is sitting with me over a cappuccino in the middle of Harlem. Every inch of the place, from its exposed brick wall, to its brightly spray-painted mural, to its barista’s measuring out single-origin beans from local roaster Joe Coffee, manifested under Mark’s vision for himself and for his community. As you enter the glass door, your hand pushes past the words Deep, Rich, Smooth. The words don’t just describe the coffee, but shoot to circumscribe the whole experience. This new shop aims to educate Harlem about the depth of experience to be had in coffee–beyond the corner food truck or chain donut shop.
Much has been written online and said on street corners about Harlem’s recent gentrification, but with all of the changes to the neighborhood, we also discover passions developing as we do here at Harlem Coffee Co. A new condominium development and an old school Barbershop sandwich the space; you can almost imagine the steam wand on their espresso machine releasing built up tension from all of the neighborhood’s changes.
If there is a place that a neighborhood can heal as it transforms, chat about what is lost and what is gained, it is at Harlem Coffee Co.