For over 12 years, cousins Adam Bossie and John Michael Beam — and their company, Afficionado Coffee — have been sourcing and roasting for top name New York restaurants. They have just created their first retail coffee shop over the road from their apartments in Hell’s Kitchen.
Yesterday, they opened their doors at the corner of 11th Avenue and W53rd Street — in the location previously occupied by Il Baretto. “We always used to come to Il Baretto for lunch or dinner. We live over the road. We loved the space and saw the potential that it could have. Once they moved up the street the opportunity presented itself and that’s really how it came about,” explained Beam, who lives on W54th Street and is Director of Client Services for Afficionado.
They took over the lease just before COVID, fending off competition from bigger brands interested in the space, which is part of Clinton Housing Development Company’s property portfolio. “Corporations were trying to come in here. I think a Starbucks, maybe a Subway. But Clinton Housing wanted a company more in line with the community. They were really happy with everything that we’ve done in the past and thought we would be a great fit,” shared Beam.
They have created a coffee shop that is functional, but full of design features. CEO Bossie describes it as having a modern, “elegant safari” vibe. Even the coffee cups are a collaboration between their Head of Research and Development Peter Turso and Brooklyn ceramacist Aziza Mirzan. “They teamed up to get the cup size exactly the way we wanted. That’s getting the shape of them to exhibit the best aromatics of our coffee. We really left nothing unturned,” said Bossie.
Afficionado soft launched in the location opposite DeWitt Clinton Park last week — and has already started to get regular Hell’s Kitchen customers.
The venture is also seen as a showcase for their growing brand that currently serves over 500 restaurants, hotels and caterers around the United States. They are especially strong in the New York market. “We work with Carbone and Major Food Group. We work with John Fraser down at The Loyal. Chef Alfred Portale at Portale on 18th Street is another great one. Cédric Vongerichten down at Wayan — we actually imported an Indonesian coffee from Sulawesi for him and they’re using that exclusively there. So that’s an exciting, cool project,” said Beam.
Beam told us: “What really sets us apart is our farm relationships.” Since starting their wholesale business in 2008, they have built relationships with producers throughout Latin America, Africa, and Indonesia.
They have built deep relationships with growers in Peru and Bolivia. “In Peru, we helped build the school house and a women’s center. We get really involved,” said Beam. They have also worked with these producers to use other parts of their coffee plants to create new drink products, which can be found chilled — on-tap or in cans — in the new store.
“By using every consumable part of the coffee plant, we’re able to create innovative products and increase revenue streams for the communities at origin,” said Bossie. “We are using the five consumable parts of the coffee plant.”
The new drinks are based around cascara (the husk), the blossoms, pergamino (the parchment skin), coffee tree leaves and the beans.
The coffee shop will offer simple, fresh food. They are waiting for a liquor license so that they can sell beer and wine, along with a cocktail program later this year.
Afficionado Coffee Roasters cafe is at 750 11th Avenue on the corner of W53rd Street. afficionadocoffee.com