Birch Coffee is one of the most recognized names in the New York City coffee scene. Started in 2009 by Jeremy Lyman and Paul Schlader, the shop has since expanded to six city locations, with the goal of serving great-quality coffee while providing exemplary customer service. The duo sources its beans directly from the best coffee farms around the globe and roasts everything at its 4,000-square-foot roast house in Long Island City.
Today, Birch Coffee is opening its seventh shop, in the Frank Gehry–designed 8 Spruce Street in lower Manhattan. By featuring a book-lending library (similar to its other locations), the shop will continue to operate under the ethos of bringing communities together. And even though the absence of Wi-Fi will represent a break from the usual buzz of electronics, the venue features a different type of technology: the Sanremo Opera espresso machine.
The first espresso machine to be designed by champion baristas, designers and coffee-industry technicians, the Sanremo Opera houses five individual insulated boilers, three for each group head plus a steam boiler and a preheater that circulates water over the top of the groups, each of which features six fully customizable presets. The machine, priced at more than $20,000, allows greater control over the espresso process and showcases Birch’s beautifully grown and processed coffee to the founders’ exacting standards.
So just what is so special about this “luxury car of espresso machines”? “It can handle the stresses of a high-volume shop while maintaining temperature and pressure without fluctuation,” says Schlader. “This maintains consistency, which is the most important aspect of pulling multiple shots of espresso per day.” The entire espresso-brewing process can be controlled via iPad using Bluetooth (it can also, of course, be controlled manually). Moreover, Schlader claims that the device is new to market in New York City and that his latest shop will be the only one in the city using it.
Coffee geeks are sure to flock to the mini chain’s most recent opening, primarily because it promotes a traditional coffee-shop culture and prioritizes the quality of its beans. It sure won’t hurt that these beans will make their way through a state-of-the-art centerpiece.