Six words of less: Coffee for a Cause
Location: 184 Duane Street, Between Greenwich Ave and Hudson Street
Hours: Weekdays 6:30am-6pm, Weekends 7:00am-6pm
Open Since: October 2010
Amenities: Tiny Shop with no seating and no bathroom, but if the weather is nice there are outdoor benches and chairs for 12-15 people.
Must Try: Flat White (the cappuccino of Australia, less foam, more, smoother milk)
Roaster: Self-roasted in large batches in Queens and Small Batches Jersey
Owner: David Steingard and Hugh Jackman
This tiny shop on a small side street in Tribeca is just wide enough for an espresso machine, a few snacks and a large-hearted vision. The vision cleared when Hugh Jackman (yes, the same one you are thinking of) visited Ethiopia as an ambassador for a nonprofit called World Vision Australia. The story goes (there’s a documentary about this now–Dukale’s Dream) that Hugh met a coffee farmer named Dukale, a man trying to use coffee as a way to leverage his family into economic stability. When Hugh returned home, he spoke to the U.N., but he also started a cafe with a longtime friend David Steingard (a former Brooklyn prosecutor) with the aim to pull shots of Dukale’s coffee from their espresso-machine-wide storefront. The profits fund the Laughing Man Foundation which aims to start development projects in the very communities where the coffee is grown, including Dukale’s village.
The best time to stop by Laughing Man is in beautiful Spring weather; their outdoor area, swamped by some of the most adorable babies and puppies in all of New York, surrounded by broad brick buildings and Edward Hopperesque clean light, delivers that kind of New York moment that they make movies about–with or without Hugh Jackman. Pick out a chocolate croissant that they source from that tiny place in Soho (Ceci-cela) or maybe a gluten free pastry from Sans or even a donut from Dough. Try a flat white, an easy drinking milky espresso drink of choice in Hugh’s native Australia. Know that your dollars are supporting the farmers who have supported the very New York coffee moment you are relishing in, sip by sip.
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