The lastest from Gregorys Blog

Cuppings are sooooooo fun!

Posted on September 6, 2013


We’re very excited to announce that we’ll be holding public coffee cuppings, starting next week. If the idea of trying new, delicious coffees every week and improving both your sense of taste and your coffee vocabulary sounds at all appealing, you will want to attend at least one. Cupping is the ritualized method of tasting coffee that professionals use to judge the quality of a coffee throughout its journey from farm to cup, but you certainly don’t need to be a professional to have fun at one. Bailey, our Director of Education, will be there to lead you through the process and help you find the words to talk about how Coffee #1 might taste different from Coffee #2 but kind of similar to Coffee #3.

Cuppings will take around 45 minutes and will take place in our Coffee Lab, upstairs at our shop on the corner of 6th Avenue and 31st Street (874 Avenue of the Americas). They are absolutely free and open to anyone interested in delicious coffee. The schedule for week one is as follows:

Tuesday the 10th: 3PM
Wednesday the 11th: 3PM
Thursday the 12th: Noon
Friday the 13th (spooky!): Noon

Tasting and talking about coffees is basically our favorite thing at Gregorys Coffee. Email Bailey for more info and join us!

Geisha! Geisha!

Posted on September 5, 2013

So, here’s what happened. In the spring we cupped some coffees at the Toby’s Estate cupping room at their roastery in Williamsburg. Among these coffees was a Geisha (a terrific variety of coffee that we have never had the pleasure of serving at the shop). La Batista Geisha was delicious, to the point that by the end of the cupping I was no longer being even remotely professional in my cupping, but rather just sipping it from a spoon as if it was soup. Now, Geishas are very expensive, and the way we decided to obtain this very expensive coffee is somewhat different from how we have, up to this point, obtained most coffees for our single origin board*. This wasn’t a coffee that Toby’s was already offering that we could just order from them. Rather, this was a coffee that we would agree to buy, and then Toby’s would source it exclusively with us in mind. This was exciting, but it also led to a little more waiting than we were used to. Instead of just ordering from a roaster and having them immediately roast and ship us the coffee we wanted, we had to wait for the green (unroasted) coffee to take a longer trip. La Batista traveled by boat from Panama to California. In Oakland, it took its time clearing customs. After clearing customs, it had to be transported to the East Coast in a truck (though I told everyone who asked that it was "on the rails", first because I thought that was true and later because I thought it sounded cooler). Finally, upon arriving in Brooklyn around two weeks ago, it had to be sample roasted and profiled by Deaton and the team at Toby’s to make sure they got the best out of this awesome coffee. Meanwhile, both our staff and customers were getting very, very hyped. I couldn’t walk into a shop without a barista asking me "what’s up with the Geisha?" and, more often than not, pointing to a guest who had asked him or her the same thing. After weeks of non-answers, I was thrilled, last Thursday, to finally be able to say, "we’re getting a sample roast tomorrow; we’re getting the order in next Wednesday. It’s happening.\” I rolled into Toby’s Estate in Williamsburg on my way into work on Friday morning to pick up the sample roasted bag and briefly chatted with Adam, the co-owner of Toby’s Brooklyn, and Deaton, their green coffee buyer and roaster, the whole time thinking something like "I really like talking to you guys but I also really need to get out of here and start trying this coffee". I hopped on the L and stopped by our training center to do some distribution. The plan was: Greg and I would hit the shops trying to get as much concentrated time with the baristas as is possible during store hours and occasionally double back to the training center to assist Bailey, our Director of Education, in leading longer training sessions. I left some coffee for Greg and Bailey and headed up to the 46th Street shop. On a slow, long weekend Friday, I was able to get a few baristas off to the side for a tasting and some talk about variety, La Batista, and how to explain a $7 coffee to guests. I brewed an Aeropress of La Batista and upon grinding it and inhaling the floral, zesty, fruity aroma I already got a grin on my face that would stay with me for most of the day. "You look so happy," said Tom, our very perceptive assistant manager. Upon tasting it, I was thrilled, and also somewhat relieved. I trust the folks at Toby’s to roast a coffee as much if not more than I would trust any other roaster but, after months of waiting, there develops, for me, no matter what, a very small but present fear of disappointment.

La Batista was not at all disappointing. It didn’t taste exactly the same as it did when we cupped it in March, but there is so much flavor, so much complexity in this coffee, that it was never going to. I’ve never heard more different reactions to the flavor and aroma of a coffee that I could all honestly relate to. The reaction was tremendous, and it peaked at our last tasting of the day which, because it was scheduled for an hour before our intra-company latte art throwdown, drew over twenty people to the training center. Our baristas have never been more excited about a coffee. Talk to them about it. Make them tell you what they taste in it and why they love drinking it. It’s a truly special coffee and it’s finally here.

Director of Coffee
Gregorys Coffee

*If you’ve had our French Press or Single Origin Cold Brew lately, you’re familiar with another coffee that we’ve since taken an even-more involved route with, the San Juan Microlot.

Variety Talk

Posted on August 28, 2013

Coffee varieties are important to us, but we don’t often talk about variety when we talk to you about coffee. Variety refers to the type of coffee tree that is being planted. In the same way that we differentiate between grape varieties (ex. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc) when talking about wine and apple varieties (ex. Pink Lady, Macintosh, the ever-fashionable Honeycrisp) when talking about apples, we can talk about coffee varieties like Caturra, Bourbon, and Pacamara* when talking about coffee.

So why then, considering that variety is one of the first things we look for in wines and apples, doesn’t the average barista (or coffee website) tell you about the variety of the coffee you’re drinking immediately? In my experience as a barista, I definitely knew a lot less about variety than many other factors that contribute to the flavor of a coffee. Even now, it’s a lot easier for me to describe how washed coffees tend to be cleaner than naturally-processed coffees than it is to describe the difference between Caturra and Catuaí. Origin is another talking point that makes it easy to get by without referring to varieties. I learned pretty early on that all Kenyan coffees don’t taste alike, but region-specific traditions and enforced similarities (varieties usually planted in that country, processing most often used, similar climate), along with the ease of using the names of countries most people know makes origin the most obvious way to refer to coffees and explain why they taste the way they do.

I’ve been thinking a lot about all of this because we are finally about to start selling a coffee which we very much will be discussing the variety of: a Geisha. Specialty coffee roasters will often identify the variety of coffee on a bag and occasionally, when the variety is separated from others in a way it usually wouldn’t be separated or grown in a place it usually wouldn’t be grown, they will make the variety a part of the coffee’s name. But Geisha** is the only variety that is almost always invoked as a selling point in and of itself. That’s partly because Geisha has a story that’s easy to tell. It made a journey through East Africa, to Costa Rica, and eventually to Panama where, after decades of being used in blends and under-appreciated for its flavor, it was processed and cupped on its own at Hacienda la Esmeralda in 2005 and took off as a specialty coffee phenomenon***. It has won prizes and fetched very high prices for its farms ever since.

Good Geisha coffees are really sweet and complex. They take a lot of what I love about coffee and ramp that up to a higher level. Next week, we’re going to finally start offering the long-awaited La Batista, which is definitely one of those good Geishas. I’ll bring you more specific information about that one in our next post. I am very, very excited.

Director of Coffee
Gregorys Coffee

* the development of Pacamara in El Salvador, much like the development of the Honeycrisp Apple in Minnesota, is well-documented and pretty interesting. The human influence in the development of varieties has caused many to argue for the use of the word “cultivar” instead of “variety”, both in coffee and apples.

** or “Gesha”. Some people have very strong opinions on which is correct. We will, in this case, defer to our roasters.
*** Geisha history summary with help from the fine folks at Toby’s Estate.

Raising the Bar

Posted on August 1, 2013


31st Street Gregulars are used to having their coffee brewed on on the Aeropress brew bar at the end of the counter, but now, slowly but surely, all of our shops are installing these cute little structures. I am excited.

I’m excited because one of my favorite things about making coffee for people is talking to them about the coffee I’m making them. I like talking to people about the kind of coffees they enjoy, the kind of coffees I enjoy, where the coffee they’re drinking comes from, and why we like it. Having these Aeropress bars at all of our locations allows a space for this type of conversation that our shops haven’t always had (especially during rushes). So, if you’ve ordered one of our single origin coffees on Aeropress (or if you happen to be standing around while a barista is making one) and you are at all interested in having a chat, PLEASE do! You might learn something, we might learn something, and hopefully we’ll all have some fun.

And now for a shot of something completely different

Posted on June 13, 2013

\"panther\" If you ordered from our single origin board or tasted coffee from our intrepid barista Chemex tasting army earlier in the spring you probably remember a delicious coffee from the MIG Cooperative in Rwanda roasted by our friends at Panther Coffee. Well, we’ve got some more of it, but we’re going to be presenting it in a somewhat different way this time around. Starting tomorrow (Friday, June 13th), and going until we run out of it, we will be serving the M.I.G. as our espresso; at our 46TH STREET shop. The MIG, in all it’s floral, fruity glory, is going to be quite a change-up from the chocolate bomb that is our Night Vision blend, and we can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks of it. Will drinking it straight short circuit your brain? Will the cappuccinos taste like creamsicle? Will even large lattes and mochas get a full facelift? We shall see! Whether you’re an everyday double espresso drinker or someone who only occasionally dabbles, this would be a great time to stop by 46th and taste something obviously and immediately different (and ask your barista fun questions about single origin coffees, blends, espresso, and anything else that might come to mind).

Work it.

Posted on May 22, 2013


Are you a detail-oriented, friendly person who can say things loudly enough to be heard across a busy coffee shop? Does tasting and talking about new delicious coffees all the time sound fun? Can you see yourself learning to pour latte art that is awesome enough to make everybody in your vicinity yell "whoa!" in amazement? If you answered yes to these questions then we want to talk to you and you should probably email a résumé and note on why you would make a good barista for us to We’re expanding, we’re hiring, let’s have some fun!

Milk Game

Posted on March 25, 2013

After a successful test run at 46th Street, Hudson Valley Fresh milk will, as of today, be our go-to milk at all of our locations. Produced by a cooperative of farmers in (shockingly) the Hudson River Valley, this milk is local, fresh, sustainably farmed, and tastes really, really good. We think our cappuccinos and lattes have gotten even better and can’t wait for all our Gregulars try one. Check out the Hudson Valley Fresh website for a whole* lot of information about their farming practices and get down to a shop to try our now-a-bit-sweeter cappuccinos.

*that may or may not be a milk pun

New Coffees From Old Friends

Posted on March 12, 2013

Two new single origin coffees have arrived on our brew bars and I would advise you to be careful running towards the shops in your manic urge to try them (it’s slippery out there). That said, do come down, they are totally awesome. Making their Gregorys debuts this week are Perla del Sur, a Colombian coffee from Portland’s Heart Roasters, and a Rwandan coffee from the MIG Cooperative and Miami’s Panther Coffee. Click those links for more info and get over here (again, as carefully as your excitement will allow) ASAP to try them. Also, be on the lookout for tastings happening throughout the week (and the upcoming week) at all the stores for a chance to get a sample and have an extended chat about them with one of our intrepid baristas. Happy tastings!

Coffee Loops

Posted on February 1, 2013

Having a rough day? Want to relax and be mesmerized by Featured Employee and latte art champ Jackie pouring a rosetta for a while? I think you do.

Kenya Believe Guat We Have This Month? (And Costa Rica Too!)

Posted on December 19, 2012

It’s that most excellent time again: time for new coffees! This month, we have another stellar selection from Panther, the subtle Guatemalan beauty that is Finca La Providencia. From our new friends at New York’s own Irving Farm comes the mind-blowing Kenyan Kiriaini. Finally, we are extending the run of Dillanos’ cherry bomb, Perla Negra. Get excited!

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