Six words or less: fast-paced, careful crafting, cute vibe
Location: Frederick Douglas Blvd Between 118th and 119th Street
Open Since: January 2014
Amenities: The most outlets in Harlem(!), bathroom, 20 2-seater tables, 7 bar seats, free wifi, outdoor/courtyard space (shared with neighboring bar, Mess Hall). Light bites and pastries from local spots like Bread Alone and Colson Patisserie.
Roaster: Counter Culture
Must Try: Bright espresso with the Hologram blend from Counter Culture blended with the sweetness of whole milk from Sweet Farms
Owners: Karen Paul and Aaron Baird
Double Dutch Espresso’s long shop is set up in what Midwesterners call “shotgun style”–long and narrow. In a shotgun style house, you can open the front door and a breeze could flow straight through to the back, but also if you open that front door, you could get a clear shot at someone who might be trying to sneak out the back. There’s no need to unholster your guns here a Double Dutch, its sweet, vintage decor– think brass flowers framing mirrors against brick walls– and its smooth espresso blend will charm you straight through.
So what’s behind the friendly service, consistently high-quality coffee and the cute outdoor courtyard? What’s behind the name itself…Double Dutch? The answer, as it often is in New York, many layered. As many know Harlem is a Dutch word, before the Harlem Renaissance flooded the streets with Jazz and soul food, Harlem was farmland and the Dutch named it after a spot back home. They also brought with them a style of playing, using skipping ropes called double dutch. Though the farmlands and the Dutch themselves have since moved on, double dutch as an urban pastime on sidewalks without nearby green space stuck.
Harlem itself continues to morph and change with new residents and commercial developments. To sit and have an latte pulled from the shiny red Italian La Marzocco espresso machine, surrounded by young entrepreneurs plugging into the surging grid of electricity and caffeine the shop provides, driven by their own dreams to make a mark on New York City is to keep time to the skipping ropes that is New York City’s playground.