Six words of less: Craft, Quality, Minimalist Style, Hygge
Location: 275 Greenwich Street (South Location) & 401 Greenwich Street (North Location)
Hours: Weekdays 6:30am-8pm, Weekends 7:00am-7pm
Open Since: October 2008 (South Location) & March 2012 (North Location)
Amenities: Beautiful long wooden tables (seating for maybe 30), high ceilings, no wifi, dim lighting, clean bathroom, great place to meet for a chat
Must Try: Delicious small-batch roasted coffee, try a pour-over plus fantastic salads (Organic and Locally Sourced Produce from Owner-Managed www.wildkale.com)
Roaster: Spectrum Roasters
Owners: Mikael and Ana, long time Tribeca residents, raising a family and the bar for good coffee in the neighborhood
As a family owned shop, Kaffe 1668 does everything right. Walking into their tall ceilinged North Greenwich Street location, with the world trade center gleaming at your back, wobbly cobblestones at your feet, you enter a pale wood oasis of dim lights, rough-hewn woods and beautifully crafted coffee. While so many third wave coffee shops feel well-designed, full of clean lines and font-is-the-art mentality, Kaffe 1668 feels “hygge,” a Scandinavian word for cozy/community/heart-warmth. The lights dim-flicker and the refrigerated case is packed with local, organic, healthy creations made entirely in house. Underneath the long narrowish shop, a kitchen operates pumping out items to order or for the cold case. You can have a meal here, but Kaffe 1668 is still firmly centered in coffee shop culture. With few people on wifi, many locals, many strollers and many dogs, the place fuels this sense of togetherness.
The coffee–some of the best I’ve had in the city– is the brainchild of a couple of the baristas, Will Douglas and Joe Wieczorek who learned the roasting process while pulling shots behind Kaffe 1668’s long wooden work-counter. In an unusual sort of long-distance apprenticeship, they sent roasts and data files to the well-established Norwegian roasters, Kaffa, and were slowly guided to the outstanding roasts they are offering today. Under the handle, Spectrum Coffee, Will and Joe roast out of the Pulley roasting co-op in Red Hook, Brooklyn about once a week supplying 650-700 pounds to Kaffe 1668 and other shops in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Their work has paid off. The daily brew on drip at this location has taken me on many journeys along the coffee flavor wheel over the last six months. It seems they do everything well, from brighter, lighter roasts to more developed, relatable, sweeter roasts.
The owners, a couple raising kids in the neighborhood, bring this same level of craft to all aspects of the business. The sheep you see throughout the shop were found while traveling in Scotland and have become a sort of shop mascot. They can be bought, but there are no price tags and it is only in repeat visits that you might notice a new herd have wandered along the shelves lining the space. In addition to Kaffe 1668, the couple runs an online local farmers market called Wild Kale, which also sells Spectrum Coffee.