EDIT: This post is “in response,” so to speak, to this NYT article. I knew I had forgotten something…
Stampede: A stampede is an act of mass impulse among herd animals or a crowd of people in which the herd (or crowd) collectively begins running with no clear direction or purpose.
Wikipedia. (2008). Stampede: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Retrieved August 13,2008, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stampede. (Kinda crazy, I have been reading about bibliography citations lately).
Trust me. I am for properly sourced, quality, fresh roasted coffee like the next guy. For crying out loud, I have misjudged my coffee supplies and I ran out today; Thus I am sitting here drinking a press pot of Starbucks Ethiopian Sidamo purchased yesterday from a $B chain store. I feel like I could have prepared some Folgers and received the same results. (BTW, off topic, but anybody follow that link? Notice the ™ on the coffee name? I wonder what could be going on with that? Is it Starbuck’s Trade Mark or Ethiopia’s?)
So, we are all for fantastic coffee, right? With the following names now throwing their hat into the roasting ring in N.Y.C, wouldn’t seem almost like a stampede; Doesn’t it almost seem to be over-saturation? (Gush, I said over-saturation and NYC in the same sentence). Stumptown, Counter Culture Coffee, Ecco, Intelligentsia, Blue Bottle Coffee Company, Brownstone Beans, Café Grumpy, Abraço Espresso, and finally Ken Nye, owner of Ninth Street Espresso all wanting to roast in NYC and within the next 12 months.
Every single one mentioned talked about “signing leases” and moving right in to a facility. Has anybody heard the portafilter podcast with Ken Nye of Ninth Street talking about just how hard it is to get a lease under $125 a square FOOT! I must say that is the best podcast I have ever heard in my life, on any topic, and I have replayed it probably six times. If I recall correctly, he made the comment “…most people from other towns come here and look around and scout it out and put a calculator to it and just go home.” (Not a direct quote, but that was close). I know I haven’t started a single coffee shop, and I haven’t even been to a coffee shop in N.Y.C. Something I have had on a my “bucket list” for a couple years now. Amazingly I was in Newark, NJ (10 miles from any coffee house in the City) probably 25 times from January to July this year and I couldn’t get across the Hudson to do accomplish the mission. After he made those remarks, Ken also was asked “So, what is it going to take for more shops to open in New York City?” And Ken came back with “A realestate collapse.” I am telling you Ken is “the man” when it comes to the coffee business, IMHO. He is my A-Rod! I have a Ninth Street Coffee Logo as my desktop image on my laptop. He is just “doing the business” like I would want to do the business. No syrups, no 20 oz (or 16s either), no take out espresso, no…, no…., no….. Just, NO! They are the real Coffee Nazi’s of NYC and probably the East Coast.
So, was there a “realestate collapse” in NYC? I don’t know, I imagine the nationwide realestate collapse, which has generally speaking been atrributed to family homes, isn’t scratching NYC.
Finally, my question is this: I know NYC is HURGE! But, is there enough specialty coffee houses (don’t read here some crappy place that fills the doser up in the morning and doses out of it until it is empty!) in NYC to justify that many roasters? Right now, I think I can say “no.” Maybe they know something I don’t. They probably do!